iCab Mobile - The Best Browser for iPad

Browsing the net on any device that has internet capabilities is nothing new, but not every web browser is equal, and same goes for device. A lot of people have been saying that the future of media consumption is mobile, and it is mostly right except for many use-cases where an iPad simply doesn’t work the same as a Mac or Windows computer.

The iPad is in a gray area when it comes to how it loads websites, some load it as a desktop would while other websites have been optimized to load their mobile versions on the iPad. Now, this isn’t normally a problem but sometimes you need to view the desktop version of a website. Thankfully Safari has some capabilities for this, but even then there’s no guarantee it will work. Enter the fix for this, and many other problems, iCab Mobile.

iCab Mobile is a web browser packed with features and workarounds that can tackle any issues you may have within other web browsers like Safari. From custom settings, modules, reader mode, and the ability to download files locally the power a browser like this has for the iPad is infinite.

Here are Four uses I come to iCab for regularly.

Downloading Videos

Videos on an iPad is nothing new, but when you are on the go with your device and not sure of the signal you will get or the wifi situation, it can be a hassle trying to get your videos to stream. This is where iCab comes in.

With a simple tap and hold on a video you can download it straight to your device and play it within iCab, which also allows you to have it play in Picture in Picture mode as well.

  <img src="https://tablethabit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2E836F75-058B-49F5-8A2B-6BEADE2D579E.png" alt=""/>

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In my testing this works for nearly every type of HTML 5 player so Wistia, YouTube, and other native players on websites works with this.

Spoofing Device Network

As mentioned before, one thing that is an inconsistent issue is the fact that some websites treat iPads as mobile devices and shows the mobile version of their site, while other websites see it as a netbook/desktop version.

The times where you get the mobile version of the site but need the desktop version to get what you need to do done can be frustrating. Safari has this fixed in some instances where you can press and hold on the refresh page and request the desktop version of the site, but this only works some of the time.

the other times you are either out of luck and have to grab a laptop to get the task done, or you can use iCab and change the network settings to a plethora of options.

  <img src="https://tablethabit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/61493397-B4E7-43C1-B856-CA8CE8CBD3F4.png" alt=""/>

With this option you can change the device your iPad can be recognized as and voila you are set!

This might not be a frequent problem you have but it surely is one that can make you start ripping your hair out and solutions like this built right into the browser is a lifesaver.

A Better Share Sheet

Over the years, iOS has gotten better about allowing apps to share things to them, allowing tunnels and gateways to send information from one app to another with just a few taps, but there can be some issues with it.

The main problem is that sometimes the services you want them to go to aren’t readily accessible and you find yourself playing hide and seek to find the icon you need and checking every nook and cranny until it is found.

With iCab, this is no longer a problem as they have a custom share sheet that you get when tapping on the share icon. It gives you loads of options that may not be available in the standard share sheet. Things like a twin browser, and access to saving passwords are more accessible.

  <img src="https://tablethabit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/A1CED438-EB8B-4AFF-83A9-E59E55D63B8C.png" alt=""/>

They also have a modules, allowing the most popular services like Pocket, Instapaper, and some not so known ones, to be just a tap away.

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The inclusion of both of these options within the app make the standard share sheet almost obsolete, but if you do prefer it over these options you can just press and hold on the share icon and the regular share sheet will show without issue.

Keyboard Support

May people who use their iPad as their main computer find they have an external keyboard attached to their iPads to allow for faster typing and keyboard shortcuts. iCab Mobile has no shortage for keyboard shortcuts.

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Honorable Mentions

While these 4 things are what i use iCab for the most this app isn’t close to being done. Here are just a few short things that iCab offers that may fit your needs.

Users

iCab is the only browser I have seen on the iPad that offers separate users, meaning you and another person can have their own username and settings that fit them. This also goes for bookmarks and quick start links per user.

  <img src="https://tablethabit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/3C9ACC50-49B0-4AB9-A456-BB3EA98F778B.png" alt=""/>

Reading List

While safari has its own reading list functionality, with the other services and tools this app provides it seems antiquated to revert to the Safari reading list.

Fullscreen Mode

When you want to have a video take the whole screen or just want a more minimal feeling with your browsing experience iCab has that covered as well. With a simple tap you can hide nearly all of the toolbars and still have the functionality of the most common options iCab offers.

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Reading Mode

Much like the Reading list, iCab also has a reading mode, which allows you to get rid of the clutter on a page and only have to worry about the media you want to consume. Safari has this as well, but like the reading list the options you have here are ten-fold more powerful. You can even have iCab read the text to you with Siri integration.

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Conclusion

So if you find yourself frustrated by the limitation the iPad has on the web, or want something to increase you experience browsing online this app is for you!

<

p id=“yui_3_17_2_1_1518970896312_136963”>iCab Mobile is developed by Alexander Clauss. If you do want to download this app you can do so here, the app has some in-app purchases but is at most $5.99 for the full upgrade, which is a steal for when you are in need of a quick fix.

Why I Switched to the Apple Smart Keyboard

Writing on a keyboard is something many people take advantage of when they use their computer or laptop, but iPad users have the burden of shopping around for a keyboard as an accessory. The reason this is more of a burden than many think is because no keyboard is perfect. With three different iPads out on sale from Apple today, to call the market divided would be an understatement.

When I first wrote for this blog I posted a story about how I used the Logitech Slim Combo for my 10.5” iPad Pro. I said that the key travel and features like backlighting and media buttons were the reason why I chose it over the Apple Smart Keyboard. I also took some shots at the keys on the Smart Keyboard and the material on it. I was wrong. The Logitech Keyboard has since lost its varnish and the Apple Smart Keyboard is growing on me.

I purchased the Apple Smart Keyboard again earlier this week because I found myself hating having to use the bulky Slim Combo. I also was using my keyboard more on my couch and less on a desk. Using Logitech’s keyboard on my lap was like balancing china plates to get that keyboard to work for me outside of a desk setting.

Finally, the keys never felt right for my hands. This is the most problematic issue for me because if I can’t write properly then my brain will just tell me not to write at all. After leaving my iPad after writing a few hundred words to make food or use the bathroom, I noticed my hands needed to have an adjustment period from using the Slim Combo. This was very concerning because I felt like I was in the midst of an RSI issue. If my hands hurt when using a tool specifically made for writing then I need a new tool.

The Apple Smart Keyboard was my only option because of what I deemed necessary on a keyboard. I wanted something that was attachable to the iPad, portable, and used the smart connectors to power the device. Once I realized the Apple Smart Keyboard was the next plausible option, I took the plunge and tried this keyboard out one last time. I’m glad I did.

Writing on this after spending months with the Slim Combo feels like my hands can breathe and I have never had more relaxed hands when typing for a long time. I was worried about the key travel and if I would be able to write with them, but that has been the easiest part about using this keyboard. The main keys on this device are where you would think they are and the chiclet style keys are a welcome change to the cramped keys Logitech put together.

The thing that I found to be the most difficult to get used to is that fact this stand only had 3 positions: the traditional keyboard setup, the keyboard folded over for watching videos, and the usual setup where the keyboard is resting on the tri-fold to be used for playing games. Going from pretty much any conceivable angle with he adjustable stand Logitech had to only three options, all with different uses felt constraining.

I really miss the adjustable hinge on the back of the Slim Combo, it was great for when I wanted to watch a YouTube video or an episode of television on Netflix. I could set it anywhere I wanted and find an angle that worked for me to view it.

I haven’t watched much on my iPad since buying this but the times I did for the purposed of this review it wasn’t the perfect viewing angle but I adjusted just fine with it. I often found myself just using it in the keyboard position because of how small the footprint this case provides when compared to the Logitech Slim Combo.

All in all this keyboard isn’t perfect, but no keyboard is. It seems to be the best option for my plethora of prerequisites. The Logitech Slim Combo is still a great option for many, just not for me.

If you are in the market for a keyboard and find yourself trying to figure out which of these two is best for you I would buy it from a store that offers at lease a 14 day return policy and try each out before you make your final purchase. I did this, but I didn’t give the Apple Smart Keyboard enough time as I probably should have. If I had, then I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.

Video Editing on iOS

This article was written by Christopher Lawley, a youtuber who posts videos all about the iPad an iOS. Check out his channel here.

Who Am I?

I’ve spent the last few years writing about Apple and the iPad, but about a year ago I transitioned into making videos on YouTube instead. Making videos and films is something I have always enjoyed doing. When I came to the realization that I can make videos about Apple products and combine my two hobbies I got really excited. Last November I started making videos about apps I enjoyed using. I started with an intro video, and then published two videos about my favorite apps at the time Overcast and 1Writer.

Around the beginning of 2017 I found an app called LumaFusion which is a multi-track video editor. This was the last piece of the puzzle I was looking for before I was able to use my iPad full time, and not have to rely on a Mac. This was always my goal, ever since I started writing my blog I wanted to be a full time iPad user. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mac and I still think it’s a great platform. For me though the iPad always felt like the future, and it’s a very exciting platform to be on these days.

Ever since I did my mini series about having the iPad Pro for one year I have made every script, recorded every second of audio, and every rendered video has been made 100% on my iPad Pro. This is something I take a lot of pride in. There are a lot of bloggers and YouTubers that have said something along the lines of “The iPad is neat, but you can’t get real work done on it”. I took it as my personal mission to prove that you don’t need a $2,000 Mac to do video production and run a business. I know I’m not the first to use the iPad as their full time computer but the more people show real work can be done, the better off we will be.

The Hardware I Use

The hardware I use isn’t as fancy as other YouTubers, but fancy hardware isn’t everything. Being able to tell the story you want is more important. I made a deal with myself that I would have to start making money from my videos before I started buying things. Now that I’m there I have a long list of things that I want to buy to improve my videos, but for today let’s talk about the stuff I’m already using.

12.9 inch iPad Pro

<img tablethabit.com/wp-conten…” alt=“” class=“alignleft wp-image-590” />Like I said before, I use my iPad Pro for everything. Since it’s my main computer I wanted the biggest and best one so I use the 12.9 inch model. I really like this device, I understand why some say it’s too big, but I mostly work at a desk all day. This iPad has the power to playback and render 4K video in good time. I️ really love this device, and I look forward to using it and optimizing my workflows everyday.

Apple Pencil

I’m not much of an artist but I really enjoy using my Apple Pencil. I have RSI issues and using it as a pointing device really has helped me over the last couple of years. I also use it to mark up scripts and hand write notes. Finally, it’s really handy to use when editing videos and photos.

Apple Magic Keyboard and Canopy

These two are a pair for me, I’ve come to think of them as one device. Canopy has become my desktop stand for the iPad. It keeps my device at a comfortable viewing angle and the design is beautiful. I’m usually somebody that prefers function over fashion but when I can have both that’s the best, and The Canopy delivers on that. The Canopy was designed to work with the Apple Magic Keyboard in parallel. What I like about the Magic Keyboard is the keys. It ticks every box I have: clicky but not too clicky, good key travel, and a full function row. It also has the bonus of having a battery that last for months. I never have to worry about charging this thing and that’s great. If you’re somebody that works at a desk a lot with the iPad I would definitely recommend this pair for your work.  

Blue Yeti Microphone

I don’t have much to say about this microphone that others haven’t said already. It’s a great cheap microphone if you’re looking to get into some sort of spoken word field. It’s USB so it’s easy to set up and use. If you have the USB camera connection kit it’s just as easy to use with an iPad. This is the microphone I️ use for all of my voice overs and I️ enjoy it.

iPhone for Filming

For all of my live action/B-roll footage, I use an iPhone for that. I was, for a short period, using a DSLR camera but then I realized I wanted to make my videos on iOS be produced 100% by iOS. The camera on the iPhone gets better and better every year so it seemed like a natural fit. I bought the iPhone 7 only because of how good the camera was. Now that the iPhone X is out, the camera has been taken to a whole other level. I film everything in 4K so I can get the best possible image to edit with. The only trick is that means I have to use the back camera on the phone so I can’t see my shot when filming myself. To fix this, I have an old shaving mirror I stick to the wall now to allow myself to see what the camera sees. Now I can see the screen of the phone and use the best lens the phone offers. When I’m done filming I just use AirDrop to move the video files from my iPhone to my iPad.

The Software I Use

The most compiling area for me to keep using iOS as my primary computing platform is the software. Apple’s first party software is good, but the third party stuff is the best. There are amazing Productivity and Creativity apps on the platform. It seems like every day I am finding new apps to get excited about. So, lets take a look at the ones I use to make my videos.

Todoist

All of my ideas, task, and anything that needs to be completed by me lives in Todoist. I have a terrible memory so figuring out a system on using Todoist was really important to me. As far my videos go, I have a project I keep all of my ideas for videos in. When I feel one is worth pursuing, I assign a due date to it. I have been trying to get better about finishing the videos by the set due date but life seems to get in the way sometimes. One thing I have had to learn is it’s okay if I don’t make my due date as long as I keep working and keep a high standard of quality for my work.

Notes

Once I’m ready to produce a video on one of my ideas, I start a new note in the Apple Notes app. A handy feature that came with iOS 11 is the ability to pin notes to the top. What ever video I am currently working on is pinned to the top of the app. From here I build an outline for my video. This can be something as simple as a few points that I want to make, or something so detailed I don’t write a script and just make the video off the outline. Every video is unique and I build it on how I think it will turn out the best.

Ulysses

For script and blog post writing I turn to Ulysses. I have a lot of apps for this like 1Writer, Editorial, and iA Writer. Ulysses though, feels like a power app. The level of customization it offers is unmatched in my opinion. Though I wish that customization could all be done from the iOS app, things like customized themes and export settings need a Mac to be created. Still, this is a fantastic app to have if you do a lot of long form writing. I’ve been working off more outlines then scripts lately so I don’t use Ulysses as much as I would like, but when I do I’m always pleasantly surprised by how well it is.

Notability

When I do write a script I throw it over to Notability when I’m done. Here I read my script out loud, and use my Apple Pencil to markup any changes that I want to make. Ever since I started doing this my scripts got hundred times better.

Ferrite

Once my script or outline is ready I recored the voice overs for the video, I use Ferrite for this. I don’t do any of the editing here just the recording. I like the control it give you over your microphone. Plus, it’s really easy to adjust the input gain so I don’t clip when recording the audio.

LumaFusion

Once I have all of my videos recorded and voices overs ready I import everything into LumaFusion. Like I said before, LumaFusion was the app I was waiting for to go full time with the iPad. If you would have asked me a year ago about having a multitrack video editor on the iPad I wouldn’t be ready until 2019. For the most part I’m really happy with LumaFusion, it covers my needs for the kinds of videos I make. I could go on forever about it, but if you are interested in it check out the two videos I made about the app.

Transmit

If I upload a video through the YouTube app it’s limited to 1080p no matter what it’s native resolution is. I don’t really understand why this limitation is there, but because of this I have to use my own server to upload my videos. I use Transmit to move the files over, and then upload through YouTube’s website, and I also do this to store a copy of my video on my server as well. This is the one thing I use a non iOS device for. I hope the limitations of the native YouTube app get fixed soon, but I will still use Transmit to move a copy of my video to a server just for safekeeping.

Affinity Photo

This is one of those apps that seems like it shouldn’t be possible on iOS. I use Affinity Photo for to create the thumbnails for all of my videos. I know I’m not taking full advantage of it, I just started using it to edit some of my photos that I take. Affinity Photo is truly a desktop class app on the iPad. If you are into photography or photo editing in anyway I highly recommend that you check it out.

Wrap Up

To give the TL;DR, I love iOS, I love the ecosystem, I love the apps, and I love the hardware. Being able to figure out how to use it as my full time computing platform was one of the great joys for me. If you are somebody that wants to use iOS full time but something is holding you back, keep a watchful eye because there are big changes coming for this platform. I think with the next few revisions of iOS for the iPad are going to unlock a lot of really cool stuff. For me, the iPad and iOS feel like my home when it comes to computing. The fact that I can run my business off of it too, just proves how mature the platform has gotten. If you’re interested in more information about how I work and cool iOS and iPad productivity tips check out my YouTube channel.

What’s a Computer?

Apple’s new ad, titled What’s a Computer?, has a message many iPad enthusiasts have been saying for years: The iPad changes our definition of a computer.

https://youtu.be/sQB2NjhJHvY

The 1 minute ad shows a young teen going out into the city using their iPad for things like writing, taking photos (and marking them up with the Apple Pencil), talking with friends on FaceTime, and making art. These things aren’t all that the iPad can do, but it certainly showcases that the ecosystem and the apps available aren’t the limitation it once was on iOS.

Also, as a quick side note the music in this (Go by Louis the Child) goes to show that the Apple marketing team knows how to pick the perfect music for their videos.

The whole reason I started this blog was because I wanted to share how the iPad is my main computer, and those interested in making their slabs of glass with the Apple logo on it their main computer can do so with little friction. When Apple makes the same message clear in their marketing and advertisements it just goes to show that they are embracing the iOS lifestyle head on.

The line the teen says at the end, “What’s a computer?” Really put me off at first because it seems as those this young person genuinely didn’t know what a computer was. However, after more thought on this it doesn’t seem that is the real question Apple is making.

In my opinion it seems to have two meanings outside of the obvious. The first being that there may be a day where computing on a desktop or a laptop is something only those in certain industries need. Things like video editing, high end graphic design, and anything else that requires a lot of power to get the job done will still need the Mac. For the rest of us, we will be able to do everything we need to on an iPad with ease and simplicity. The question here of “What’s a computer?” is more of a look into what the future could hold and not just a simple question a young girl asks.

The other meaning is more of a philosophical question Apple is asking us. Outside of the iPad enthusiasts like myself many people see the iPad as a giant iPhone. They say that the tablet is more of a media consumption hog instead of a powerful computing device that can handle a large majority of the work you throw at it. Apple asking this question of “What’s a computer?” is a question they are asking consumers to rethink and change their perspective on after nearly a decade of people saying tablets aren’t for “real work.”

Regardless of how you, or others, interpret this ad, Apple is sending a clear message that the iPad isn’t just for YouTube and Netflix. It is for creativity, communication, and a way to make the things you want to make and the iPad can be a great home for that.

How to Get 280 Characters on Your iPad

Twitter has made some big changes to its character limit recently, expanding its limit from 140 characters to now 280 characters.If you are on you Twitter client and see this little circle where you once saw the 140 character count, that means you now have the 280 characters on your phone.

If you are using Tweetbot or Twitterrific you should have gotten an update recently indicating it is implementing the 280 character limit to everyone as well, so check with your app of choice and see if you do indeed have 280 characters now instead of the old 140.

Now, this change hasn’t come without its issues however. Many people are reporting that they are having issues seeing the new 280 character limit on their iPad but they are seeing it on their phones without a problem.

twitter.com/tommykras…

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If you are in this group of people there are some fixes you can try to join the #280club on your iPad.

1. Force quit the app and restart it.

To do this just double-press the home button or enter the app-switcher and swipe up on the Twitter app you’re using and reopen it.

2. Uninstall the app and reinstall the app

Some people have still had issues seeing the 280 character limit even after quitting the app and reopening it. So if that doesn’t work the next thing you can try is to uninstall the app entirely and reinstall.

This may require you to login again so make sure you have your password on hand if you don’t know it off the top of your head.

3. Restart your iPad.

Even after reinstalling the app other have said the only fix that worked for them is completely restarting your phone.

So hopefully this fixes your problem with Twitter not allowing you to write with 280 characters, it seems to have helped everyone we have spoken with.

If this doesn’t work let us know in the comments, or mention us on Twitter and we would be happy to help!

The Apple “i” Bug fix

Over the past several days social media has exploded over the issue with the peculiar bug when you type in the letter “i” and you get a weird string of text showing as “A ⍰.”twitter.com/theqtlinn…

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The reason, according to Jeremy Burge at emojipedia, is this:

What's really going on is that the letter "I" is being appended with an invisible character known as Variation Selector 16 when auto-correct kicks in to replace the lowercase "i". This VS-16 character is intended to be used to make the previous character have emoji appearance.[2] When used in conjunction with the letter "I" it displays in some apps as "A ⍰". The correct [behavior] should be to ignore the invisible variation selector if the previous character doesn't have an emoji version.

There is a fix you can do today to stop your phone from doing this. According to Apple’s support page they want you to create a text replacement.

Here’s what you can do to work around the issue until it’s fixed in a future software update:
  1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement
  2. Tap 
  3. For Phrase, type an upper-case "I". For Shortcut, type a lower-case "i."

This seems to be a temporary fix until the next iOS update, most likely 11.2. According to a number of sources like The Wall Street Journal, Complex, and AppleInsider Apple is working on a permanent fix for this in the 11.2 betas.

So there are options to fix this today but they are only temporary until iOS 11.2 is released. The 2nd beta came out today, so it is being worked on.

We can only hope it comes out soon.

3 Ways to Stay Focused on Your iPad

Many people, like myself, work on an iPad because they love iOS and prefer it over macOS or Windows. They also do it because it inherently makes you focus on one or two applications at a time, leaving distractions behind.However, the human brain is great at finding things you can do to procrastinate from getting things done. If your main machine is an iPad, chances are you don’t just have apps for your work on it. You probably have streaming services, music, games, and more to occupy your free time; but what if you find yourself using those apps instead of doing your important work? Today we are going to look at that and see what options there are to limit this kind of behavior.

1. Delete Unnecessary Apps

The simplest solution could be to remove the distractions entirely. Delete the YouTube app, the games, music and anything else you catch yourself using instead using doing the work that matters.

This can be great for people who live by the mantra “out of sight, out of mind.” However, this can’t always be accomplished because we want to use these apps when we’re not doing work and downloading those apps over and over again when we want them is too much of a hassle. If this is the case for you the next option could be what you need.

2. Move Them to a Different Page on the Home Screen

If you do find yourself needing to keep apps like YouTube, VLC, Twitter, etc. for various reasons you can still keep them “out of sight” by having it on a separate home screen.

This not only allows you to keep the apps for luxury time, but it also puts that barrier up so you have to tell yourself that you are going to this page because you want to do something that is meant for free time.

I am a big on the idea of having different areas on your devices for different goals you want to accomplish, so this is one I recommend to many.

But what if you aren’t too keen on the idea of having a second page on the home screen? Then look not further than the next option you have.

3. Nest Them all in a Folder

If you are one of those types of people who hate a second page on their home screen (like me) you can still keep those distracting apps on the home screen but as its own folder tucked away for when you need those breaks from the hustle and bustle of work.

I suggest naming the folder something that reminds you what you’re doing to yourself if you decide to go rogue on your big plans of work for the day. This is why I have a folder called “Time Waste.”

The name can be anything you want but I recommend it be something that your brain will recognize as something you shouldn’t be doing when you have something on your to-do list that needs to be done.


So if you are like many and mix between work and play on your iPad these tricks can help you stay focused to the tasks at hand.

Let us know what you think, or share your own tips to stay focused on the iPad, in the comments below!

Learn How to Use Workflow

The beloved app Workflow, which was purchased by Apple back in March, has been in use for many pro users in iOS for years now. If you are someone who is not familiar with this app the best way to explain it is from Workflow’s website:

Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows. Providing hundreds of actions that interact with the apps and content on your device, Workflow opens up infinite possibilities of what you can do with your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

workflow on iphone

Workflow can be the app you use to make your iPad the one and only tool you need to get your work done because it bridges so

many gaps between seperate apps and allows you to focus less on how you can get your things done and lets you focus more on what it is you want to get done.

So, we here at Tablet Habit wanted to share with you a list of great places already on the internet where you can learn how to get started with the app, or even help you sharpen your skills if you’re a more seasoned user of the app.

5 Things You Can Do with the Apple Pencil (it’s Not Just Drawing)

The Apple Pencil is a wonderful tool for artists who want to draw and create something on a digital canvas, but what about those people with no artistic talent? Is the Apple Pencil useless for them? Absolutely not!Don’t believe me? Here are 5 things non-artists can do with the Apple Pencil on their iPad Pros.

DISCLAIMER: While the Apple Pencil is the main focus of this article, it is not necessary. So if you have an iPad Air or the latest iPad a 3rd party Stylus will work just fine for most of these things (except Instant Notes). So don’t feel left out if you don’t have an iPad Pro. This is also for all you non-Pro users!

1. Image Markup

iOS 11 really outdid itself when it came to screenshots. Now, instead of having to dig through Photos to find that screenshot you took, when you take the screenshot it shows up on the bottom left-hand corner for you to tap on and markup.

From there you can do things like make annotations on a webpage, circle where your mom needs to go in the settings, or anything else you need to do to get your point across to someone in the screenshot.

I use this more often than when I had a Workflow to annotate screenshots back in iOS 10 and earlier. Something about being able to natively edit a screenshot without having to leave what I’m looking at is so satisfying and convenient.

Give it a shot next time you need to write on a screenshot, you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s a great video from Apple Insider that shows you just how powerful screenshot markup and Instant Notes (which is next!) can be.

youtube.com/watch

2. Instant Notes

iOS 11 really made the Notes app a very viable option to handle your ideas, writings, sketches, and more thanks to improved Apple Pencil support and a ton of backend improvements in the app as well.

The one feature you may not know about though is the fact you can tap on the lock screen with your Pencil and a new Note will appear for you to sketch on and make notes.

This is especially useful for students who need to write out something their professor is saying quickly so they don’t miss anything. It is also useful if you are the kind of person who needs to take notes for meetings at work or you need to get your ideas out of your head and on to a page immediately.

3. A Secondary Input Device

If you are like many who get cramps and pains when working in the same position, you might have RSI. RSI is more serious than an occasional strain or a little discomfort, it can be permanent if you don’t do something about it.

One thing that can be very helpful is switching how you do your work. Instead of constantly using your hand on the iPad you can switch over to the Pencil as an input device as it totally changes what muscles you’re using and allows the body to keep from straining.

Also, if you don’t have any indications of RSI it is still nice to be able to change things up from a mental perspective. If we get too complacent on how we do our work your brain isn’t going to be stimulated and you may fall behind in your work. Changing things up can be helpful for you the next time you have to be on your iPad for a long period of time. Not to mention a Pencil is much more comfortable to use when navigating your iPad whilst it is upright for keyboard use.

4. Email Files Markup

If you aren’t the type to take lots of screenshots and/or notes, markup could still be useful for you when handling email and files from your friends, coworkers, or family.

For instance, if you get a PDF of a contract you need to sign or you need to go over someone else’s work you can simply open it up within Mail. From there you can make any annotations or markings that are necessary and send it right back to the person who sent it to you. This can be extremely handy if you are the type of person who needs to sign everything during work or even in your personal life. You just need to open the file up and tap the Markup button.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how you can do this.

Add Signiture

Signature Added

Share Signed Document

Please note, this kind of Markup is available on the stock Mail app. There may be some 3rd party apps you can find that offer something similar to this, but if you plan on using this feature a lot, we suggest you use Apple’s Mail app.

5. Mind-Mapping

Speaking of getting things out of your head and on to the page, mind-mapping is a very handy exercise for new projects you are working on.

From new personal projects to a new client at work, you can really improve your thinking process on what is necessary to accomplish your goals with a simple mind-map. This allows you to get everything out of your head and on to something you can have in front of you to determine what is important and what isn’t.

If you can’t think of anything right now to mind-map maybe just try this technique from Jenny Blake on setting goals for yourself across all of the aspects in your life. It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do in the next year, and mind-mapping it can be cathartic.

Conclusion

So whether it is to provide tech-support, handle files sent to you at work, or even higher-level thinking like setting goals for yourself, the Apple Pencil is a powerful tool you can use to help you get things done. If you have an Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro and feel like you aren’t getting your moneys-worth, try one or two of these things out today and see if it helps you.

Did we miss something you can use the Apple Pencil for without any artistic talent? Let us know in the comments below!

iPad Home Screen Experiments

With iOS 11 now released, many iPad users, including myself, are rethinking how we utilize our screen real estate. The reason for this is the new Dock in iOS 11 that allows for quick access to many apps (or folders) no matter what app we are in. We now have the ability to drag and drop these apps to use with multi-tasking. But with this incredible feature comes the question: what do we use our home screens for now? For me, the answer comes from another question: do you use a keyboard with your iPad or just your hands?

Home Screen with a Keyboard

If you are a person like me and use a keyboard case like mine then your Dock is about as useful as pressing ⌘+Space and opening up Spotlight. From Spotlight you can press and hold the app that you search for and drag it to the side for multi-tasking.

Additionally, you can press ⌘ +Tab and switch between apps, or pairs of apps if you run certain apps together, with ease and very little friction. For instance, I use Ulysses as my writing app of choice and Safari running side by side when I am working on my writing. But when I am working on my task management I have Apple Notes and Todoist opened together to see what I have to do and what I have captured to do later. A simple keyboard shortcut allows me to switch between these two pairs and makes the iPad smooth as butter when switching into different work modes for my productivity.

With the ability to easily search in Spotlight and switch between apps effortlessly, the case for needing a Home Screen is very weak. Everything you need can be found with a few keyboard shortcuts and the need to press the Home button is reduced to nearly zero. I decided to test out a couple of ways I can have my iPad set up to maximize multitasking and allow for the switching of apps to be easy to do.

Which brings me to my first experiment, nothing on the Home Screen, and everything in the Dock.

Experiment #1: Nothing on the Home Screen

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As you can see in the image above, I have moved my most used apps into the Dock. But all the way to the right you can see a folder which has all of my other apps in it. So if I don’t feel like searching for something, or just want to scroll through all of my apps, I can do so without pressing the home button and pausing all of my work.

This is especially useful for when I am in need of something while writing or researching. I don’t always want to stop my momentum by backing out of something to go to my Home Screen and then go back in to the article I am writing, or the book I am reading. With the Dock I can just check what I have and continue.

Now, this solution hasn’t come without its downsides. With everything in one folder I have to either memorize all of the apps in that folder or dig for what I need, swiping between several pages to find what I am looking for. I’ve tried to organize them in many different ways but no matter what, I am not able to remember all of the apps in that folder to save my life.

Which brings me to my other experiment, and current setup on my iPad Home Screen.

Experiment #2: Some Apps on the Home Screen, AKA Those that aren’t Worthy

When I decided that having all of my apps in my Dock under a folder, or even several folders, it was too cumbersome. So I decided to revert back to how I had things in iOS 10 and tweak it into a hybrid between my old iPad setup and experiment #1.

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As you can see, I have two rows of apps and folders on my Home Screen and everything else in the Dock, but the apps in my Dock are those I either use frequently enough that I want easy access to them wherever I am, or apps I use in some form of multitasking regularly. As much as I like the implementation of Spotlight drag and drop, it is still necessary for me to make a deliberate effort to search for the specific app I need, making my progress stall . It is like when you are in the middle of taking care of an important email and a giant notification pops up requiring your immediate attention in order to continue what you really should be doing.

The apps I have in both Docks are virtually the same, with the only exception between experiment 1 and experiment 2 being the one large folder I had in my Dock from experiment 1 is now separated into sub-categories and placed on the Home Screen. This seems to be working the best for me as a large majority of the apps I use regularly are still a swipe away from being available wherever I am working. However, I still have other apps I regularly use available when I make the conscience effort to either finish or pause my current work and select something different to do. Something about having different modes of work I do in separate areas, be it spaces or the Home Screen, helps my brain flip the switches I need to ensure I have the right mindset and attention on the task(s) at hand.

Conclusion

While my solution is by no means set in stone, having regular apps available on the Home Screen and sub-categories of everything else allows me to make sure I have what I need with minimal effort when switching to other aspects of my work. Going from writing and researching an article for Tablet Habit to handling finances and tasks is a cinch with this setup in mind.

I would love to see what you have done with your iPad Home Screens as well, so either comment below with your Home Screens or share it with me on Twitter @iamJeffPerry or use #TabletHabit in your tweet.

Logitech iPad Pro Slim Combo Review - One Month Later

The iPad is my main computing device, I do all of my work on it, and I needed a case/keyboard that allowed me to do everything I needed without getting in the way, and for me the only option that seemed logical (no pun intended) was the Logitech Slim Comb; and after a solid month of using my iPad Pro 10.5” with the Logitech Slim Combo it is clear I made the right decision.

Why the Apple Smart Keyboard Wasn’t Enough

Originally I thought I could get by with just the Apple Smart Keyboard but alas the cons heavily outweighed the pros.

To give you and idea of what things I disliked about the Apple Smart Keyboard the only good thing this case had going for it was the portability of it and the weight of it. For me the keys were not fitting, the keyboard size is roughly the same size as the Slim Combo but the travel on it was marginal, the feel of the keys with the nylon-like fabric felt cheap and honestly it felt like I was using a knock-off keyboard you can find on Amazon for much less than the $159.99 the Smart Keyboard was asking for.

Now, if you are just wanting a keyboard to use that is thin, portable, and acceptable for the occasional writing spree you may have, they there is nothing wrong with the Smart Keyboard, but if you have any plans to do actual work on you iPad you are going to have to sacrifice weight and sleekness for some beefy additions, but for me they are so worth it.

Why I Like the Slim Combo

youtu.be/GfIIgsl34…

Now, the pros of the Smart Keyboard are the cons I have for the Slim Combo. I am not sure if Logitech was just being ironic or they actually felt that anything about this case was “slim.” The case nearly doubled the thickness of the iPad and the case weighed more than the iPad itself (the total weight of the iPad with the case is a whopping 2.19 pounds which is about 995 grams).

Another nice touch is the Surface-like stand has the ability to open up to 70 degrees allowing you to rest your iPad in pretty much any viewing angle you please, including vertical for FaceTime or reading the news during breakfast. The case is primarily made out of plastic, but it in by no ways feels cheap. The hinges used for the kickstand are metal and are on a mechanism that allows for the swivel and its hinges to have some play for when you press on the screen and less than ideal surfaces. I in no way have had any worries about the kickstand failing or breaking in any way.

The Slim Combo is the only keyboard case for the iPad 10.5” with backlighting, which I never thought I wanted but after a month of using this thing it has come in handy on multiple occasions, especially if you are a night owl like me and have a significant other nearby you don’t want to wake with a bedroom light.

But backlighting isn’t what sold this keyboard for me, that honor goes to the keys themselves. The switches in this keyboard are very similar to the scissor-like switches you get in the Magic Keyboards, so if you have used a magic keyboard before, this will feel like home for you without any issues. On top of backlighting, this keyboard has another thing that the Smart Apple Keyboard doesn’t: dedicated shortcut keys. It still baffles me how Apple just decided not to add shortcut keys for things like media controls, volume, a home button alternative, and lock keys. All of which are on the Slim Combo, and more as well.

Conclusion

If you are someone who plans to use their iPad for any long writing sessions or as a daily device for getting stuff done then the Logitech Slim Combo is something you should consider. It isn’t the end-all-be-all keyboard case for your iPad but it absolute a top contender. If you have a chance to look at them in a box store I would try both the Slim Combo and the Apple Smart Keyboard and see which one feels nicer. For me it was an easy pick, and honestly the beat accessory I’ve ever purchased for my devices.

If you are interested in buying one, you can find it on Logitech’s website.