Category: Features

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

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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The Dumbphone Experiment, concluded

 I’m sitting here, looking at the Punkt MP02. It’s a wonderful little thing, a pleasant device to fiddle with, a lovely non-touchscreen, and buttons you want to press. This is a device designed with purpose, with taste, and with a very narrow public.

I love it. I’ve loved it almost all the way through the iPad + dumbphone experiment. The only time I don’t like it is when I need to type more than five words in a row. Man, have we evolved since the T9 days! I’ll never complain of a cramped touchscreen keyboard again.

I even went as far as to try a foldable bluetooth keyboard paired to my MP02. Zagg was kind enough to send me their Tri Fold folding bluetooth keyboard, and I have thoughts about it. I’ll get back to you on that, I did try to carry it for a few days, but it requires a flat surface, and why wouldn’t I use the iPad in such a situation? That said, again, interesting product, more later.

Anyway, here I am, piecing the iPad + dumbphone experience together.

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The Dumbphone Experiment: Authentication issues

I think we’re closing in on the gist of things for this experiment, which is closing in on two weeks sans iPhone. Can you imagine that, being smartphone-less for two weeks? Is it a hell for you, or a tantalizing notion? I get both angles, as it were.

This experiment was always about finding out what’d happen if I didn’t have my iPhone, but a dumbphone instead. Would the iPad be enough? I think we’ll know for sure soon.

But first, some words on authentication.

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iPadOS 15 Beta Watch: The Quick Note feature I didn’t think I’d use

There’s a new feature in iPadOS 15 called Quick Note. It gives you access to Notes in a special view, all over the interface, without actually leaving the app or screen you’re on. I gushed about this in Switch to iPad #52 (which is free to read, so pop over there if you like), and now, running the beta on two different iPads, I’ll confess to be in love with this new feature. However, I’m not using it the way I thought I would.

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The Dumbphone Experiment: Is size everything?

It’s been a couple of days, and I think I’ve got things pretty much under control in my iPad + dumbphone experiment. There are some things I’m still struggling with, but overall, this works, the trade-offs are reasonable thus far, I think. Yesterday, after driving to the summer home (that really is an all-year home), I did start to think about iPad sizes, though. I’d like to share those thoughts with you.

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