How to troubleshoot Notes

How to troubleshoot Notes

Here are some steps to take if you suddenly find that your iCloud Notes aren’t syncing properly on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How to troubleshoot Notes

A lot of us keep our thoughts and writing organized using Notes, which uses iCloud to keep everything in sync between iPhone, iPad, and Mac. And if you do, it’s likely that you’ve opened Notes on one of your devices only to find that a note from another device didn’t sync like it’s supposed to. Fortunately, there are steps you can take in order to get Notes syncing back on track.

  • First steps
  • How to move a note out of iCloud
  • How to turn off iCloud Notes sync on your iPhone or iPad
  • How to turn off iCloud Notes sync on your Mac
  • How to sign out of your iCloud account on your iPhone or iPad
  • How to sign out of your iCloud account on your Mac

First steps

If a problem in Notes syncing ever arises, there are a number of steps that you can take to try and resolve the issue. These range from force quitting the app on your iOS device to signing out of your iCloud account entirely and signing back in. Be aware that while none of these steps are guarantees, but will likely fix most syncing problems that you face.

For the purposes of this guide, I’m going to assume you have a fairly common Apple device setup: an iPhone, an iPad, and a Mac.

Find the source of the problem

When Notes fails to sync across your devices, this is generally an indication of a problem with one of your devices, rather than with iCloud as a whole. If it happens across multiple products, it likely means a wider iCloud issue.

Before anything else, you’ll want to check Apple’s iCloud System Status page to ensure that iCloud, and Notes, in particular, isn’t suffering from some sort of problem. If the symbol next to iCloud Notes is green, this means everything’s fine on iCloud’s end and that you’ll have to check and see which of your devices is falling down on the job.

The easiest way to do this is to open Notes on all of your devices. If you’ve run into a sync problem, then your new note should either be available only on one device, the one you wrote it on, or all but one device. Whichever device is the problem, that’s the one on which you’ll focus.

Force quit and reboot

The easiest step to take is force quitting the Notes app. On iPhone or iPad, this process involves activating the multitasking view, while you have a few options on the Mac.

I’ve found that this process is more likely to work if I pair the force quitting of the app with a power cycle (completely rebooting the device).

If these methods don’t work, it’s time to move on to trying to reset the connection that the app and/or your device has with iCloud.

How to move a note out of iCloud

If the device on which you’ll be switching off Notes sync is the one that you used to write the note you want to sync in the first place, you might want to move it out of iCloud so it’s not deleted when you disable Notes sync.

How to move a note out of iCloud on iPhone or iPad

  1. Open Notes.
  2. Swipe left on the iCloud note that you wish to save to your device.

    Open Notes, swipe left

  3. Tap the purple folder button.
  4. Tap an available location under On My [Device].

    Tap folder button, choose folder

How to move a note out of iCloud on Mac

  1. Open Notes.
  2. Click and hold on the note you want to move.

    Open Notes, click and hold on the note

  3. Drag the note to a folder under On My Mac.

    Drag note to an On My Mac folder

How to turn off iCloud Notes sync on your iPhone or iPad

If a force quit and reboot didn’t work, you’ll want to turn off Notes sync on iCloud on the troublesome device. Here’s how to do it on iPhone and iPad.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the Apple ID banner at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap iCloud.

    Open Settings, tap Apple ID banner, tap iCloud

  4. Tap the green slider switch next to Notes to turn off Notes sync.
  5. Tap Delete from My [Device] to remove your iCloud notes from your device.

    Tap switch to turn off, tap Delete from my iPhone

Once your iPhone or iPad has completed removing your iCloud notes from your device, flip the switch next to Notes back on again. Give your device a minute to download all of your notes.

If this is the device that you wrote the note on, move the note back to iCloud using the same steps that you did to move it out of iCloud and see it it syncs to your other devices. If this is a device that a note needs to sync to, open the Notes app to see if the new note has appeared.

How to turn off iCloud Notes sync on your Mac

If it’s your Mac that’s giving you problems, you’ll need to turn Notes sync off and on again on that device.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click iCloud.

    Open System Preferences, click iCloud

  3. Click the checkbox next to Notes to turn off iCloud Notes sync on your Mac.
  4. Click the same checkbox again to turn iCloud Notes sync back on.

    Click checkbox, click checkbox again

  5. Open Notes and wait for it to sync all of your iCloud Notes.

    Open Notes

If this is the device that you wrote the note on, move the note back to iCloud using the same steps that you did to move it out of iCloud and see if it syncs to your other devices. If this is a device that a note needs to sync to, open the Notes app to see if the new note has appeared.

How to sign out of your iCloud account on your iPhone or iPad

This is the step that you want to avoid because it can cause a lot of annoyances for different apps on your devices. But, if previous steps haven’t worked, then you can sign out of iCloud on your iOS device, then sign back in.

How to sign out of your iCloud account on your Mac

If you’re troubleshooting this issue on your Mac, here’s how to sign out and back into iCloud on that device.


If you’ve got questions about troubleshooting iCloud Notes sync on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, let us know in the comments.

How to Fix “Verification Required” for Apps Downloads on iPhone and iPad

How to Fix “Verification Required” for Apps Downloads on iPhone and iPad

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You may discover a “Verification Required” error message when attempting to install or update free apps from the iOS App Store on an iPhone or iPad, thereby preventing the user from downloading apps or updating any apps.

The complete message is either “Verification Required – Before you can make purchases, you must tap Continue to verify your payment info.” or “Verification Required. Tap Continue and sign in to view billing information.” if you see this message on an iPhone or iPad when trying to download, install, or update free apps you might be annoyed and want to stop the error and fix it. The verbiage varies slightly depending on the iOS release.

This tutorial will show you how to stop the “Verification Required” message on iOS, either when downloading free apps or app updates on an iPhone or iPad. Additionally, we’ll teach you why you might see the ‘Verification Required’ popup message in the App Store, and also how to check what is causing that message to appear in the first place, and of course you’ll learn how to fix that message so that it no longer appears. Read on to learn more!

Why do I see a “Verification Required” message in the App Store for iOS?

It turns out the “Verification Required” message on iOS is a result of the payment method used on the Apple ID associated with the device. Accordingly, you will see that Verification Required billing message if the payment method failed, if there’s an unpaid balance on the account, or if the device has never purchased or downloaded anything or any free app before, or if the payment method has not been updated as needed. Thus, to stop the Verification Required message, in iOS, you will need to change the payment method, either to a valid payment method, or to ‘none’ which allows no payment details to be associated with an Apple ID and App Store. Below we will detail the exact steps to accomplish this task.

Before beginning: note that if you simply add a valid credit card to an Apple ID, the “Verification Required” message will not appear at all, and you can avoid verification for updates and installs as long as you disable “Require Password” for free downloads on the iPhone or iPad App Store settings.

How to Check What Is Causing “Verification Required” in App Store for iOS

You can check what the outstanding bill or App Store purchase is that has an outstanding balance by doing the following:

  1. Open the “Settings” app in iOS, then go to ‘iTunes & App Store’ and then select your Apple ID
  2. Choose “View Apple ID” to access the Account Settings page
  3. In the Account Settings section, go to “Purchase History” and scroll through the list to find any item with an outstanding balance – this is what must be paid before you can change your payment information
  4. Update your payment information as detailed below to stop the “Verification Required” error message on the iPhone or iPad

If the outstanding purchase is not something you are interested in, you can also attempt to contact Apple for a refund on that balance due. Regardless of whether you pay the balance with updated payment information, or have it canceled, you must clear the due balance on the Apple ID to be able to fix the “Verification Required” message on the App Store for iPhone or iPad and then you can select the ‘none’ payment option.

How to Fix “Verification Required” When Installing Free Apps on iPhone and iPad

If you don’t want to add or verify a credit card with the Apple ID, or if the payment method expired, or you don’t want to use one at all, then you must change a setting on your Apple ID to stop the “Verification Required” message. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad
  2. Choose “iTunes & App Store” settings, then tap on the “Apple ID:” button at the top of the settings
  3. How to stop Verification Required message in iOS with App×300.jpg 139w,×1663.jpg 768w,×1949.jpg 900w, 1125w” sizes=”(max-width: 369px) 100vw, 369px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block; height: auto;” class=””>

  4. Tap on “View Apple ID” and sign in to the Apple ID as usual
  5. Sign in to adjust billing information to stop Verification Required message from App×300.jpeg 139w,×1663.jpeg 768w,×1949.jpeg 900w, 1125w” sizes=”(max-width: 369px) 100vw, 369px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block; height: auto;” class=””>

  6. In the Account Settings section, tap on “Payment Information”
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  8. Under ‘Payment Method’, choose “None” – or, alternatively, update the payment method *
  9. Fixing Verification Required message in iOS with App Store updates and×300.jpeg 139w,×1663.jpeg 768w,×1949.jpeg 900w, 1125w” sizes=”(max-width: 369px) 100vw, 369px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block; height: auto;” class=””>

  10. Tap on “Done” when finished adjusting your settings
  11. Exit Settings, and return to the App Store of iOS where you are now able to freely download, install, and update apps without seeing any “Verification Required” message

This should completely resolved the “Verification Required” message when performing App Store actions in iOS, whether updating apps, downloading new apps, or installing any apps, onto an iPhone or iPad.

* Whether or not you choose to update payment information associated with an Apple ID is entirely up to you. If you’re using the App Store without a credit card then you’d want to choose the “None” option, which allows updating and downloading free apps without ever needing any sort of verification of payment or even a payment method at all. Or if the payment method has expired, you can choose “None” too and bypass the ‘Verification Required’ message that way as well, and then later go back and update the payment details if need be. Keep in mind if you have an unpaid balance on the Apple ID for a purchase, subscription, etc, you must pay that balance before you can choose the “None” option or before you can stop the Verification Required billing message.

Now you know how to stop “Verification Required” when installing apps in iOS, it works for free apps, updates, and paid apps too.

Separately but related, if you also don’t want to authenticate with an Apple ID password upon each instance of downloading and installing iOS apps on the iPhone or iPad, you can disable password requirements for free downloads from App Store in iOS (and for Mac users, there is a similar setting to enable free downloads without passwords for Mac App Store too).

Did this work to resolve the “Verification Required” message in the App Store for your iPhone or iPad? Are you now able to download, install, and update apps in iOS without the Verification Required payment and billing message? Do you have another trick to fix that message? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

Can’t Auto Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch? [Solved]

Can’t unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch? Here’s how to fix it!

When the Apple Watch’s Auto Unlock works, it’s magical. You open or approach your Mac while wearing your Apple Watch and, instead of having to type in your — hopefully long, strong — password, it just logs you in. No fuss. No muss.

But when it’s not working, you might feel anger, frustration, blame, recriminations, along with having to type in that — hopefully long, strong — password. Not so much fun.

So what can you do when Auto Unlock doesn’t work? Here’s an in-depth guide to help you out.

  • Some basic Auto Unlock troubleshooting
  • Is Automatic Login enabled?
  • Is your Apple Watch paired correctly?
  • Reset the radios
  • Reboot everything
  • Check for updates
  • Re-pair your Apple Watch
  • Contact Apple

Some basic Auto Unlock troubleshooting

If you can’t enable Auto Unlock (or it was working, but stopped), here are a few of more obvious problems we’ve run across:

  • Your Mac is not compatible: Remember, to use Auto Unlock, you must have a 2013 Mac or newer.
  • Your software isn’t compatible: If you own an Apple Watch Series 0, 1, or 2, you’ll need watchOS 3 or later and macOS Sierra or later to use Auto Unlock; the Apple Watch Series 3 requires watchOS 4 and macOS High Sierra or later.
  • You don’t have two-factor authentication enabled for iCloud: Either you never enabled two-factor authentication, or you still have Apple’s older two-step verification procedure enabled instead.
  • Your Mac and Apple Watch are signed into different iCloud accounts: Make sure your devices are both signed in with the same Apple ID.
  • Your Apple Watch or Mac don’t have a passcode enabled: Both devices should have a default passcode enabled to use Auto Unlock — otherwise, what are you unlocking?

You can also check your setup process and make sure everything’s still working there:

Set up auto unlock on your Apple Watch and Mac

These quick fixes fail to address your issue? Check out our more in-depth troubleshooting options below.

Is Automatic Login enabled?

If so, you should disable it.

  1. Click on the Apple icon () in the upper left corner of your screen.
  2. Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.

    Opening System Preferences on Mac

  3. Click on Users & Groups.
  4. Click the lock to make changes.
  5. Enter your system administrator password.
  6. Click on Login Options.
  7. Select Off from the Automatic login menu.

    Disabling Automatic login on Mac

Is your Apple Watch paired correctly?

This has happened to iMore staffers before: Editor Lory Gil had forgotten to pair her existing Apple Watch with her new iPhone, which momentarily broke Auto Unlock.

How to pair your Apple Watch to a new iPhone

Reset the radios

Auto unlock requires Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi to be up and running on both your Apple Watch and Mac in order to work. If one or both radios have been turned off on one or both devices, or somehow stopped responding, Auto Unlock will likewise stop working. Cycling them can sometimes jump start everything back into action.

On your Apple Watch:

  1. Swipe up from the watch face to bring up control center.
  2. Tap the Airplane Mode button to turn all radios off. (It’ll turn yellow when they’re off.)
  3. Tap the Airplane Mode button to turn all the radios back on. (It’ll go back to black and gray when they’re on.)

On your Mac:

  1. Click on the Bluetooth icon in the menubar.
  2. Click on Turn Bluetooth Off.
  3. Click on the Bluetooth icon in the menubar again.
  4. Click on Turn Bluetooth On.
  5. Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menubar.
  6. Click on Turn Wi-Fi Off.
  7. Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menubar again.
  8. Click on Turn Wi-Fi On.

Once you’re done, try auto unlock again. If it works, great. If not, keep reading.

Reboot everything

The next thing to try is a hard reset. Make all the “reboot Windows” jokes you want but it’s a cliche for a reason!

On your Apple Watch:

  1. Press an hold the Digital Crown and Side button at the same time.
  2. Keep holding them down until you see the Apple logo.

On your Mac:

  1. Click on the button on the menubar.
  2. Click on Restart…

Once you’ve rebooted, auto unlock will be temporarily disabled. Enter your password to re-enable it. Then let you Mac sleep and try auto unlock again.

Check for updates

Apple’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi stacks—the set of software that controls the radios—aren’t without occasional quirks. Sometimes, new versions of watchOS or macOS introduce compatibility problems; other times, they fix them. If you’re having Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity problems, you’re better off updating than not. If it’s already broken, the update is your chance for a fix.

On your iPhone:

  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the My Watch tab at the bottom.
  3. Tap on General.
  4. Tap on Software Update.
  5. If there’s an update available, tap to install it.

On your Mac:

  1. Launch the Mac App Store.
  2. Click on the Updates tab, top left.
  3. If there’s a macOS software update available, click to install it.

Once you’re done updating, try to use auto unlock again — after you’ve logged in following reboot to re-enable it! If it works, awesome. If not, there’s even more to try!

Re-pair your Apple Watch

Re-pairing your Apple Watch is a huge pain, but if something has gone wrong with the connection between your iPhone and Apple Watch, secure information won’t be transmitted properly, and that will stop auto-unlock dead.

  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the My Watch tab at the bottom.
  3. Tap on [Name]’s Apple Watch at the top.
  4. Tap on the Info button on the right. (Looks like an i.)
  5. Tap on Unpair Apple Watch.

Once your Apple Watch has been unpaired, repeat the pairing process, restoring from your most recent backup. You’ll have to re-enable Auto Unlock in your Mac’s System Preferences again, but once that’s done, auto unlock should be back up and running. If not, you have one option left…

Contact Apple

Sometimes a problem really is a problem. Like any electronics, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios and the various connections to them can have problems. If you have AppleCare+, don’t walk, run to your local Apple Store to get it looked at.

Other questions?

Let us know below.

Updated March 2018: Updated to reflect High Sierra and watchOS 4.

Apple’s new Families webpage gathers all the parental tools for iOS and macOS in one place

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Apple yesterday published a new webpage that brings all of its parental controls in one place.

Available at, this new section of the Apple website details the Cupertino company’s accessibility efforts to make iPhones, iPads and Macs more family-friendly. The webpage provides a bunch fo links to useful resources, like support documents detailing parental controls and other safety features.

TUTORIAL: restricting apps and media your kids can enjoy

The webpage describes in layman’s terms Apple’s privacy controls that allow customers to do things like restrict location tracking, limit In-App Purchases, filter out inappropriate content, prevent iPhones from receiving notifications while driving and so forth.

TIP: finding out how much time you spend in iPhone and iPad apps

Apple and other major technology giants came under fire recently over whether the smartphones, tablets and other gadgets they make are too addictive, especially for children.

“We have reviewed the evidence and we believe there is a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner,” reads an excerpt from an open letter to Apple penned by two prominent Silicon Valley investors, Jana Partners and the California State Teachers Retirement System.

“By doing so, we believe Apple would once again be playing a pioneering role, this time by setting an example about the obligations of tech companies to their youngest customers,” continues the letter, aptly titled “Think Differently About Your Kids.”

We should expect more work from Apple in this area. After all, Apple reacted publicly to the letter by promising it was working on additional accessibility features and parental controls.

I wish iOS permitted us to set up separate profiles for kids…


How to Share Wi-Fi Passwords from iPhone or iPad

How to Share Wi-Fi Passwords from iPhone or iPad

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The latest versions of iOS offer a very nice feature that lets you easily share wi-fi passwords from an iPhone or iPad so that other people can quickly join a wireless network that you’re already connected to. While there is still no way to see the wi-fi router password in iOS, the ability to share a wi-fi password and assist another device to join a wireless network is a great feature and a step in the right direction.

This trick should help to avoid those annoying situations where you’re trying to relay or receive a confusing wi-fi password, a fairly routine situation when a new guest comes to your office or home, and you’re then going through the process of relaying a complicated wireless password which can be a hassle. Even worse is if you’re visiting someones home who is not tech savvy and they have a wild wi-fi password assigned by their ISP that is some mishmash of 20 randomized characters which most humans will never remember, and you go on a little goose chase to track down the password. So, this iOS feature attempts to help that situation by making it easy to share a wi-fi password from a device that is actively connected to the network.

Before beginning, you must meet some simple requirements:

Requirements for Sharing Wi-Fi Passwords in iOS

  • All iPhone and iPad devices involved must have iOS 11 or newer installed
  • All iOS devices must have wi-fi and Bluetooth enabled
  • The device sharing the password must be actively connected to the same wi-fi network the other device wants to join
  • All devices involved must be in close physical proximity to one another
  • You must have one another in each others Contacts list

The requirements sound more complicated than they are, but basically any two updated devices that are in the same room will likely be sufficient. You can also share wi-fi passwords from an iOS device to a Mac if the computer is running macOS 10.13 or newer, but we’re focusing on the iPhone and iPad here, since Macs have other ways of revealing wi-fi passwords if need be, a task that is currently impossible in iOS.

How to Share a Wi-Fi Password from iOS with Other iPhone and iPad

Assuming the devices involved meet the aforementioned requirements for sharing network passwords, here’s how to share a wi-fi password from one iPhone or iPad with another iPad or iPhone:

  1. Position both iOS devices physically close to one another
  2. On the device needing the wi-fi password, open the “Settings” app and go to “Wi-Fi” and then attempt to join the network, then stop at the “Enter Password” screen
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  4. Unlock the iOS device that is currently connected to the wi-fi network, and wait a moment until a large “Wi-Fi Password” screen shows up, then tap the “Share Password” button
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  6. Wait a moment and the receiving iOS device password entry screen should auto-fill in with the wi-fi password and join the wireless network
  7. When finished, the sharing iPhone or iPad will flash a “Complete” screen, so tap “Done”
  8. Sharing wi-fi password complete in iOS

Simple, easy, and a great new feature for anyone who has visitors coming over that want to use a wi-fi network, or even if you’re setting up a new device for yourself and you want to easily join a wireless network without having to type out a password to the wi-fi router.

Typically the process works flawlessly, just be sure you meet all of the requirements outlined above to be able to share wi-fi passwords this way. Usually the most important aspect of sharing wi-fi passwords this way is that both devices are running iOS 11.0 or later and the devices are physically near one another with each other stored in the Contacts list, but you’ll want to be sure all requirements are met.

And yes you can share a wi-fi password with yourself using another device this way since your own contact information is stored within Contacts.

Does this work sharing wi-fi passwords from hidden SSID networks?

Yes, as long as the requirements are met. But from the device receiving the wi-fi password, you’ll have to manually join a wi-fi network that isn’t broadcasting an SSID to initiate the process.

Can you see the wi-fi password of a router from an iPhone or iPad?

While you can share the wi-fi password of connected routers in new versions of iOS, you still can not see, reveal, or otherwise view a wireless network password from an iPhone or iPad.

Perhaps a future version of iOS will allow users to directly reveal a wi-fi network password through some authentication method, but for now this is not possible.

What if I forget a wi-fi password, can I still share it?

You can continue to share wi-fi network passwords this way from iOS devices whether you remember the wi-fi network password or not. As long as a device is connected to the network to be shared, the password to that wi-fi network can be shared.

However, if you completely forget the password of a router, you’ll either need to uncover the wireless password another way like from a Mac, or reset the router, or contact the ISP or manufacture of the wi-fi router.

How else can you see a wi-fi password?

If you forgot a wifi password and you have a Mac that was once connected to the network, you can retrieve the forgotten wifi password with a Mac Keychain trick detailed here.

Note that many ISP provided wi-fi routers also will have the default wi-fi password printed physically on the router or wi-fi access point itself, so often you can just look at the physical wireless router to get the password again. If all else fails, you’ll need to reach out to your ISP or manufacturer of the router if you can’t figure what to do.

Can I manually bring up the wi-fi sharing password screen in iOS?

Aside from the method detailed above involving opening the Settings app and having the devices near one another, no. It’s always possible a future version of iOS will offer a more direct way to share a wi-fi password, perhaps through a standard iOS Sharing function from the Wi-Fi Settings screen, but currently this is not available.

The wi-fi password sharing feature of iOS isn’t working, help!

First go back to the requirements at the top of this article and be sure all devices involved meet those requirements. The procedure should work exactly as described with the requirements met.

If all else fails, reboot the two iOS devices involved. If the recipient device was once connected to the wi-fi network but it is no longer connected due to disconnection or a password change, you may need to forget the wi-fi network in iOS Settings and then try to join again.

Do you know any other tips, tricks, or helpful resources for sharing wi-fi passwords from an iPhone or iPad? Let us know in the comments below!

Best Raspberry Pi projects for iPhone and iPad

Best Raspberry Pi projects for iPhone and iPad

Raspberry Pi logo

Thanks to Apple’s HomeKit, you can setup connected home devices, like lighting, locks, and thermostats to your iPhone and ask Siri to activate them for you. This tutorial lets you use the Raspberry Pi as a relay for Philips Hue lights for some extra DIY fun. Once connected, you can ask Siri to turn on your various connected devices that are hooked up to the RPi.

Siri-enabled temperature sensor using Raspberry Pi

This project also uses Apple’s HomeKit app, but when you set up a digital temperature sensor module, you can have it transfer data from your Raspberry Pi to your iPhone. Then, ask Siri to tell you the temperature in the room where the sensor is set up and you’ll get an accurate reading.

Make any smart device HomeKit supported with Homebridge

Homebridge for Raspberry Pi is an iPhone and iPad app that makes it possible for you to turn a Raspberry Pi into a HomeKit supported hub that works with any smart device, including ones that don’t originally support HomeKit. This tutorial is not for a specific project, but it is a simple, detailed guide for setting up Homebridge on your Raspberry Pi so it can communicate with your iPhone and smart devices.

R-PiAlerts Wi-Fi security system


This project is great for creating an outdoor security system that will alert you when something happens around the perimeter of your house. Using two Raspberry Pi units, you can set one up as a camera and the other as a notification device. Using iOS and macOS compatible software, you can get a notification sent to you, and then check to see if the movement is something you should be concerned with, or just a cat trying to find a warm place to hang out.

iPad as a Raspberry Pi monitor

iPad as a Raspberry Pi monitor

The Raspberry Pi is a pretty incredible little computer. But, many of the projects you need require some sort of monitor in order to get the device up and running with proper software and coding. With this VNC viewer project, you can turn your iPad (or even your iPhone) into a monitor for your Pi, so you can take care of projects without needing to set up your PC monitor (or TV set) with it.

Network-wide ad blocker

Network wide ad blocker

We’re all familiar with the advertisement issues facing our daily web browsing experience. If ads were a little more subdued, we wouldn’t mind them so much. But, some websites take it to a whole new level. Instead of installing an ad blocker to each of your devices individually, you can use a Raspberry Pi to create a network wide ad blocker at the router level. It’s important to remember that advertising is how websites make enough money to stay afloat. We recommend you whitelist sites you visit regularly to help them keep the lights on.

Using Amazon Echo with Siri HomeKit

Excited about Amazon Echo, but want it to work with Siri instead? Well, one DIY gadget builder figured out how to hack Alexa and switch her out with Apple’s personal assistant instead. It is a complicated project that probably takes more time than justifies the result, but if you are a hardcore hacker, you’ll get a kick out of getting Siri to do Alexia’s work.

Anything Else?

What is your favorite Raspberry Pi project that uses the iPhone? Have you built it? How did it go? Show us pictures of your project.

Updated March 2018: Added new great Raspberry Pi projects you can create with the help of your iPhone or iPad.

5 easy steps to getting started using Raspberry Pi

5 easy steps to getting started using Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi

March 14 is known as Pi Day because the date represents the first three numbers in the mathematical constant π (3.14). We’re celebrating with our coverage of everything Raspberry Pi related. If you’ve never even thought of what HTML means, you can still create amazing gadgets using Raspberry Pi and a bit of imagination.

  • What is Raspberry Pi?
  • What you will need
  • Step 1: Reformat your microSD card
  • Step 2: Download NOOBS onto the microSD card
  • Step 3: Set up your Raspberry Pi
  • Step 4: Download the Raspbian operating system on the Raspberry Pi
  • Step 5: Configure your Raspberry Pi

What is Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a mini computer that was specifically created to make tech learning easier. It has a lot of components for computer-based projects, like USB ports, an ethernet port, an SD card slot, Wi-Fi antenna ports, and more.

It does not come with peripherals, like cables, a keyboard, a mouse, or a monitor. It is great for learning program languages, like Python, Scratch, and Wolfram. Most Raspberry Pi enthusiasts like making single-process builds to show off their do-it-yourself talents.

For example, you could create a dedicated gaming device or an external storage box for movies and music. There are a plethora of Raspberry Pi projects that cover all manner of possibilities, each one with different specifications. We have a guide for getting started with Raspberry Pi to help you understand what you will need for your first (or next) project.

Shop Raspberry Pi

What you will need

The Raspberry Pi ships as just the single-board minicomputer. There are a few additional components you will need before you can get started. So, when making your purchase, keep in mind that you’ll need the following extras.

  1. Raspberry Pi — There are six different models of Raspberry Pi. The Pi 2 Model B or Pi 1 Model B+ and Pi 3 Model B are ideal for beginner projects because they are the most versatile and have the widest range of capabilities. The Pi 3 Model B has the added bonus of having a quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM so it supports heavier operating systems, like Ubuntu and Microsoft 10. The Model A+ is a powerful board for building robotics, but doesn’t have an Ethernet port and only comes with one USB port. So, it’s better for people that are a little more savvy with engineering technology. Raspberry Pi Zero is basically a miniature version of the Model A+, but has a more robust computing power. It has a micro USB port and mini HDMI port for 1080p output compatibility but doesn’t have wireless capability. It only costs $5 and Adafruit sells v.1.3 for just $5, but you can only buy one per order. The Raspberry Pi Zero W is the same single-board computer as the standard Zero but does support wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. It costs $10 on Adafruit, but you can only order one per day.
  2. Power supply — You will need a 5V micro-USB power supply. You can find them for really cheap online. You may even have one from a non-apple mobile device lying around the house. I recommend the CanaKit 5V power supply.
  3. USB keyboard
  4. USB mouse — If you prefer to use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you could just get a Bluetooth adapter. I have a Kinivo BTD-400, but there are dozens of different brands out there.
  5. microSD card — The microSD card must have at least 8 GB of storage. You can purchase one that comes pre-loaded with Raspberry Pi’s New Out of Box Software (NOOBS), but you can also download the software for free from the website, so there is no need to purchase a special NOOBS microSD card.
  6. microSD USB card reader — You’ll need something that you can connect the microSD card to your PC or Mac in order to download software onto it. Adafruit carries one that is perfect for Raspberry Pi, but you can pick one up at just about any electronics or office supply store.
  7. A monitor or TV that supports HDMI or composite video — You can use an older composite video display, but HDMI works better and supports audio transfers.
  8. An HDMI cable or composite video cable, depending on what the screen you use supports
  9. An ethernet cable (or Wi-Fi dongle) — A connection to the Internet is not required for setup, but many Raspberry Pi projects use them.

    What you need

Step 1: Reformat your microSD card

The first step to getting started with Raspberry Pi is to reformat the microSD card that you will use to download the operating system. Even brand new SD cards will have some extraneous files on them. Reformatting it will remove all files and completely clear the card.

  1. Insert your microSD card into the USB card reader.

    microSD card reader

  2. Connect the card reader to your computer.
  3. Download SD Formatter 5.0.

    Download SDFormatter

  4. Double-click on SDFormatter_5.00B.pkg in your downloads folder in your Dock to install SD Formatter 5.0.

    Open SDFormatter installer

  5. Follow the instructions in the installation window.
  6. Click the Launchpad icon in your Dock. It looks like a silver rocket ship.


  7. Find the SD Formatter 5.0 app.
  8. To move between Launchpad windows, click the Next Page icons at the bottom center of the screen, or swipe to the right or left with your trackpad or Magic Mouse.
  9. Click on the SD Formatter 5.0 app to open it. A formatting window will appear on your desktop.

    Finding apps in Launchpad

  10. Under Select Card select your microSD card from the dropdown menu.
  11. Click Format in the bottom right corner.

    Setting up SDFormatter

When the reformat is complete, you will get a notification window. Select OK to close the window.

Step 2: Download NOOBS onto the microSD card

The next step is to get NOOBS onto the microSD card. Once it’s loaded, you can plug it into your Raspberry Pi and configure the operating system. The microSD card should already be connected to your computer at this time.

  1. Download the ZIP file of NOOBS Version 2.4.5. It is a large file and will take a while to complete. You will want Raspbian, so do not download NOOBS Lite.

    Download NOOBS

  2. Double-click on the NOOBS file from the Downloads folder in your Dock to open it.

    Open NOOBS file

  3. Select the first file inside the NOOBS folder.
  4. Scroll down and Shift + left-click on the last file in the NOOBS folder.
  5. Drag and drop all selected NOOBS files into the SD card icon on your desktop. You don’t have to open the SD card drive.

    Dragging NOOBS files to SD card

  6. Right-click on the SD card icon.
  7. Select “Eject [SD Card Name]”.

    Ejecting SD card

  8. Remove the card reader from your computer.
  9. Remove the microSD card from the card reader.

Step 3: Set up your Raspberry Pi

  1. Insert the microSD card into the card slot on the underside of the Raspberry Pi.

    Inserting the microSD card into Raspberry Pi

  2. Plug the USB keyboard into one of the USB ports.
  3. Plug the USB mouse into one of the USB ports

    Alternatively, connect the Bluetooth adapter into one of the USB ports.

    Keyboard and mouse connected

  4. Turn on your monitor or TV set and make sure it is set to the proper input (e.g. HDMI 1 or Component)
  5. Plug the HDMI or video component cable into the monitor or TV set.
  6. Connect the other end of the cable into the Raspberry Pi.

    Connecting the HDMI cable to Raspberry Pi

  7. Connect an ethernet cable to your router if you plan to connect to the Internet.
  8. Connect the other end of the cable to your Raspberry Pi.

    Alternately, connect the Wi-Fi adapter to the Raspberry Pi.

    Connecting ethernet cable to Raspberry Pi

  9. Connect the power supply to the Raspberry Pi.
  10. Plug the power supply into the power outlet. This will turn on and boot up Raspberry Pi. A power indicator light will begin to glow, letting you know that you are connected,

    Power indicator on Raspberry Pi

Step 4: Download the Raspbian operating system on the Raspberry Pi

Beginners should start off using the Raspbian operating system. It is the easiest to use and there are hundreds of projects out there that use the Raspbian operating system. If you want to use a different operating system later on, you can reconfigure your Raspberry Pi then.

Once you have successfully followed the steps above, a start screen will appear on your monitor or TV.

  1. Select Raspbian.
  2. Click Install.

    Installing Raspbian

  3. When the warning window pops up. Click Yes to confirm. This is just letting you know that the microSD card will be overwritten with an uncompressed version of the Raspbian operating system.
  4. Wait for the installation process to complete.

    Raspberry Pi warning

Once the installation process is finished, Raspbian will automatically begin to boot.

Step 5: Configure your Raspberry Pi

When Raspbian begins to load a bunch of lines of code will appear. This will continue until the boot process has completed. Then, the Raspbian Home screen will appear. You will need to configure your Raspberry Pi system in order to add your location, date, and time.

  1. Click Menu in the upper left corner of the screen.

    Selecting Menu

  2. Select Preferences in the dropdown menu.

    Selecting Preferences

  3. Select Raspberry Pi Configuration under Preferences.

    Selecting reconfig in Raspberry Pi

  4. When the configuration window appears, click on the Localisation tab.
  5. Click on Set Locale… to set your location.
  6. Click on Set timezone… to set your local time.
  7. Click on Set Keyboard… to set your keyboard language.

    Setting Localization for Raspberry Pi

  8. Reconfiguring your Raspberry Pi will require a reboot. When the reboot window appears, click Yes to continue.

    Rebooting Raspberry Pi

You are set up and ready to start using Raspberry Pi. The mini computing world is your oyster. The only question now is, what project will you build?

Updated March 2018: Added information about Raspberry Pi Zero W.

How to create a status light for smart locks & sensors

HomeKit Automation #003: Create a status light for smart locks & sensors×143.jpg 255w,×429.jpg 768w,×416.jpg 745w” sizes=”(max-width: 2000px) 100vw, 2000px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”F81F16E0-41FC-4D9D-9622-5A1D22F0CFA2″ width=”320″ height=”179″ src=”” class=””>

In our third entry to our HomeKit automation series, we explore a simple way to create a door lock status light. While the status light could represent many things, I use it as a way to be sure all my doors are closed and locked.

If you prefer to watch, rather than read, check our tutorial in video form.

Subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube

Now let’s go ahead and move on and look at this week’s challenge and tutorial.

The goal

I came up with this after a frequent question from my girlfriend. “Did you lock the door?” is something I would hear on a nightly basis. I would assure her I did, or on other occasions, I would ask Siri to confirm this for me. Both of these are totally adequate solutions, but I was looking for a way to appease her worry without having to be the one to answer.

I found an elegant solution, that works reliably, and lets me know that all my doors/windows are closed, and that the door is locked.

So let’s go jump in and take a look how.

How to create a smart lock status light

The general solution here is to use a nightlight as the status monitor, with a few well-crafted automation rules.×142.jpg 255w,×428.jpg 768w,×415.jpg 745w” sizes=”(max-width: 2000px) 100vw, 2000px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”3AB5C125-34C0-481B-B65D-722C22BBA3B2″ width=”320″ height=”179″ src=”” class=””>

To follow along at home, you need the Home app, a HomeKit lock, and (preferably) an iDevices accessory.

Note: You don’t need an iDevices accessory necessarily, but they all come with a small “nightlight” on their accessories that can be controlled via HomeKit. If you don’t have an iDevices outlet or wall switch, you really could use any HomeKit light in its place.

Once you’ve got your HomeKit lock and a light to use for the status, we can get to the automation.

1) Open the Home app and choose the Automation tab.

2) Tap the + button in the top right-hand corner.

3) Choose “An Accessory is Controlled” as the type of new automation.

4) The first step is to choose the accessory that will trigger the status light. In our situation, that means we want to choose our door lock.

5) The second step is to choose what the action is. We will need to set this up twice, once for locking, and once for unlocking. In the first round, we will choose Locks, any Time, with People turned off.

6) Now find your light that we will control, in my case my iDevices nightlight.

7) The last step before saving the automation is to choose the brightness and color of the light. For me, I want it to turn red and be at 10% whenever the door locks. Then tap Done.×143.jpg 255w,×431.jpg 768w,×418.jpg 745w” sizes=”(max-width: 2000px) 100vw, 2000px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”D7874B60-8BA8-4D55-8DFC-6C285915A249″ width=”320″ height=”180″ src=”” class=””>

8) Repeat these steps as above, but instead of Locks choose Unlocks, and instead of red make the color green or whichever color you’d like to use for unlocked.

You’re now all set up! In my setup, whenever the Dining Room Front Door (which happens to be my front door) locks, the nightlight in my bedroom changes to red at 10 percent brightness. If it unlocks, it goes to green at 10 percent brightness.

Here is what that automation looks like, but be aware, the summary screen doesn’t show you the color of the nightlight.×215.jpg 206w,×803.jpg 768w,×500.jpg 478w” sizes=”(max-width: 814px) 100vw, 814px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”B9D0CA6C-D121-4D46-B13E-6639C146B6BE” src=”” class=””>

Additional notes

This is a fairly basic example of a status light, and if you wanted to get even more complicated, you could use a series of conditional statements to make it immensely more inclusive.×141.jpg 255w,×425.jpg 768w,×413.jpg 745w” sizes=”(max-width: 2000px) 100vw, 2000px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”99B2C5F4-73E7-49C0-B73E-B1547413A713″ width=”320″ height=”178″ src=”” class=””>

As an example, if you have HomeKit sensors on your windows, you could have them change the status light to green when they are opened, and turn to red, when they close with a conditional based on the door also being locked.

You would then have to update your door automation to only turn red if the windows are also closed.

You can see how this can easily become complicated, but still effective.

Wrap up

Creating a status light is something that was born out of a need in our home. People like feeling secure, and til now, there is not much in the form of HomeKit security systems. You are more or less relegated to setting up your own system yourself.

Hopefully, in the future, you could take the “security system” further by making a speaker play an audio track to let you know if a door or window is opened after a certain time, assuming that speaker supported AirPlay 2.×134.jpg 255w,×405.jpg 768w,×393.jpg 745w” sizes=”(max-width: 2000px) 100vw, 2000px” style=”max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”BFBC4A69-B160-4819-81E1-670CA3551FF1″ width=”320″ height=”169″ src=”” class=””>

Did you give this HomeKit tip a try?

Let me know how it went, or any modifications you made, down in the comments!

Tip: Sådan ændrer du en fils standardprogram på Mac

Tip: Sådan ændrer du en fils standardprogram på Mac×139.jpg 247w,×415.jpg 737w,×553.jpg 982w,×642.jpg 1140w,×198.jpg 352w” style=”max-width: 100%; height: auto; margin: auto; display: block; clear: both;” class=””>

Alle filtyper er som standard associeret med et bestemt program, når man dobbeltklikker på dem i eksempelvis Finder eller Spotlight. For eksempel åbner .txt filer i TextEdit og .pdf filer i Billedfremviser. Men sådan behøver det ikke være. Du kan nemlig selv bestemme hvilke programmer en given fil eller filtype skal associeres med. Enten for hver enkelt fil eller for alle filer af en bestemt type. Måske har du behov for at alle tekstfiler åbner i en bestemt editor, måske har du behov for at kun et bestemt dokument åbner i en anden editor end alle andre. Begge ting kan nemt lade sig gøre.

Skift standardprogram for en enkelt fil

Hvis du vil skifte standardprogrammet for en enkelt fil, skal du finde den i Finder og højreklikke på den. Det frembringer en menu, hvor du skal vælge “Vis info”. Er du mere til tastaturgenveje, kan man også trykke cmd+i. Begge dele åbner et info-vindue med oplysninger om den valgte fil. Det vigtige her er afsnittet “Åbn i”.

Her vil du kunne se, hvilket program der er filens standardformat. Klikker du på menuen, vil du se hvad der ellers er af muligheder. Du vælger det ønskede program og kan derefter lukke info-vinduet. Fremover vil filen åbne i det program du har sat den til.

Skift standardprogrammet for alle filer af en bestemt filtype

Ønsker du at ændre standardprogrammet for alle filer af en bestemt type på én gang, kan det også lade sig gøre. Du åbner info-vinduet som ovenfor beskrevet og vælger det ønskede program. Derefter trykker du på knappen “Ret alle”. Det vil ændre standardprogrammet for alle filer med samme filendelse, der herefter fremover vil åbne i det nye standardprogram.

Du skal være opmærksom på, at har du sat enkelte af filerne til at åbne i et specielt program, så bliver det ikke overskrevet af den nye indstilling. Så du skal altså ikke være bange for, at miste dit arbejde med at associere enkelte filer med specielle programmer, fordi du ændrer standardprogrammet for alle dokumenter af en bestemt type.

App Store og Andet

Nogle gange er der mange muligheder at vælge mellem, andre gange er der slet ingen. Det kommer helt an på, hvilke programmer du har installeret på sin Mac. Først og fremmest vælger Apple kun de mest oplagte i listen.

Ved at trykke op Andre i menuen kan du dog selv vælge frit mellem alle ens programmer, også blandt dem, der ikke er så oplagte.

En anden mulighed er, at trykke på App Store i menuen. Det sender, sam navnet siger, en til App Store, hvor du vil blive præsenteret for programmer, der er beregnet til håndtering af lige præcis den typer fil, du sidder med. Ganske smart måde at finde egnede programmer på.

Som du kan se, er det nemt at få kontrol over, hvilke filer der skal åbne i hvilke programmer.

Feature Request: How HomeKit could improve with CarPlay

Feature Request: How HomeKit could improve with CarPlay

CarPlay isn’t expected to gain any major features this year according to recent reporting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream. One simple change I would love to see in some future update is support for HomeKit alerts through CarPlay. Going a step further, a dedicated Home app for CarPlay with a few key features could be very beneficial.

CarPlay prevents most alerts from reaching your car so you don’t get distracted by a new email or tweet while driving, but that filter can sometimes catch useful alerts too.

For example, if you create an automation in HomeKit to automatically open your garage door or unlock your front door when you arrive home, the Home app requires confirming through an alert. Requiring confirmation on your iPhone prevents you from accidentally opening your garage or unlocking your front door when you’re near your house but not going inside, but that alert does not come through CarPlay.

Apple doesn’t actually have to make a Home app for CarPlay for alerts to come through either. Clock alarms and alerts from Reminders and Calendar are examples of apps that can send alerts through CarPlay without offering CarPlay versions of their iPhone apps.

For example, my wife’s work appointment for a somehow mandatory staff meeting on our shared calendar came through CarPlay while I was driving this morning:

The current alternative to interacting with the iPhone is to use Siri each time you arrive home which is certainly convenient but not as efficient or proactive. Having an actionable alert that you tap to confirm would be way easier.

Here’s how the system looks now:

And here’s how it could look (ignore my poor Pixelmator skills):

Battery icon appears when using Wireless CarPlay

Going a step further, CarPlay could benefit from a dedicated Home app that launches to reveal favorited scenes (groups of smart accessory actions) like “I’m Home” and “I’m Leaving” so commonly used commands are a tap away.

HomeKit control through CarPlay is easily accessible through Siri today, but adding an on-screen interface optimized like the other CarPlay apps could prove very useful for drivers.

Additional apps like Waze would also be welcome, but supporting a third-party map sounds a lot less likely than one of Apple’s own apps joining the scene.

For more on CarPlay:

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