Category: Features

Articles, interviews, columns, and more — you’ll find it all here.

Focus Mode, but for your kids

Have you got kids? Do they sometimes borrow your iPad (or iPhone, for that matter) to play games, or watch something on YouTube Kids? And, while they do, are you secretly afraid they’ll accidentally text your boss, call your ex, or tweet something inappropriate about Elon Musk?

Focus Mode to the rescue!

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Getting exact minutes in the Calendar app

I wrote a whole issue of Switch to iPad about using the default Calendar app. Normally, Apple enthusiasts favor Fantastical, an app I’ve used for years, but as you probably know by now, I like to return to the default apps at times.

Fast-forward through weeks of Calendar usage, and I had things to say (again, in Switch to iPad #89). One of the things was complaining about the lack of exact minutes.

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Who should buy the fifth generation iPad Air?

Apple did a number on us with their Peek Performance event on March 8th. There were plenty of nice things announced — iPhone SE, Mac Studio and a new monitor — but I want to talk about the fifth generation of iPad Air.

Wow, was that surprising.

I mean, it was pretty much what we expected, iPad Air was due an upgrade, and given how the latest (sixth) generation of the iPad mini (review) was performing, it wasn’t far-fetched to believe that was the iPad Air was destined to be. I can attest to the power of the iPad mini 6, I’m using it daily, and prefer it for most games.

But the iPad Air 5, it’s something different, yet similar.

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Airport operator: An interview with Jordan Singer

Apple’s App Store isn’t the only place to find apps for your iPad. There’s a whole world of apps that exist parallell to the App Store, either because they’re not done yet, or because they clash with some Apple policy. You can obviously use side-loading and various services for that, but there’s one alternative store that stand out, I think, and that’s Airport.

Airport is the brainchild of Jordan Singer. I check in there a couple of times a week. It was there I stumbled upon TaskFox, reviewed earlier this week, an app I’d missed in the App Store thus far.

Apps on Airport are limited to TestFlight versions, meaning that it’s a great way to discover apps in beta, or looking for beta testers. That doesn’t mean that you can only find Airport apps on Airport, the app developers can, and often do, submit them to the App Store as well.

I did a short interview with Airport creator Jordan Singer, discussing Airport, and why it was conceived in the first place.

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Matt Waller built ToDon’t in Swift Playgrounds on his iPad

Folks, we’ve reached a milestone. People have been wanting to build apps on their iPads for a long time, and Apple delivered with the recent update to Swift Playgrounds. This update lets you design, build, test, and even publish full apps to the App Store. There are caveats, obviously, but this works so well that Matt Waller of Cephalopod Studio managed to release his new app ToDon’t.

This is a really big deal, so let’s hear from Matt himself.

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YouTube Kids — a review

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter was all about setting up an iPad for kids. One of the apps I’ve installed is YouTube Kids. This is an ad-free version of YouTube with parental settings, meaning that it’s unlikely your child will stumble into something truly gruesome. That’s not to say that it isn’t an app without its problems, it’s still YouTube, after all, but I still think it’s one of the better options out there. And, not the least surprising, the kid loves it.

After an extensive onboarding guide, which I’ll spare you, you get to set up the app for your child or children. Yes, there’s support for multiple profiles, which I’m sure is a plus for some. Each child has an appropriate age limit for the videos, and that’s pretty much it for many parents out there, I’d think.

However, if your child happens to watch something you don’t like, perhaps one of those mass-produced toy unboxing videos from Russia, you can block that individual video, or channel, even. And should you stumble onto something that you feel is inappropriate for your age settings, you can flag it.

YouTube claims they use a combination of filters and human curation for the videos on YouTube Kids, and I haven’t really seen anything that makes me doubt this. Overall, it’s a pretty good app, easy to use for the child, with a mix of different types of videos. My one real gripe with YouTube Kids is that there isn’t a language setting. Watching educational videos in Spanish is great and all, but my kid should probably learn his native language first.

📺 📺 📺 out of 5 — Good.

How to get Instagram on your iPad

Instagram famously has no iPad app, they’re iPhone only. Recently, they even said that they “would love to do an iPad app”, but it wasn’t in the future. That’s, obviously, utter bullshit because said iPad app has surfaced unintentionally several times.

But don’t worry, you can get Instagram on your iPad, without relying on third-party apps. Here’s how.

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Insight beat Safari to extensions on your iPad

I’ve been using a new web browser on and off for a while, and chances are you haven’t heard of it. It’s called Insight, and it’s got something that Safari hasn’t yet: Support for extensions. The actual rendering engine is the same as Safari, of course. This is true for all browsers on iPadOS (and iOS for that matter), but Insight stands out with smart extensions on a per-site basis.

I shot a couple of questions to Abhinav Sharma, responsible for the product roadmap at Insight, to learn more about this new browser.

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