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How to keep your apps and Home screen layout the same across multiple Apple TVs

2017 September 21
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If you have multiple Apple TVs in your household, you can set them to have exactly the same Home screen layout and use the same set of installed apps, here’s how.

Starting with tvOS 11, people who own multiple Apple TVs can now make their media experience consistent by keeping their installed tvOS apps and Home screen appearance the same across every Apple TV they own.

Called “One Home Screen,” this is supported on tvOS 11 and later.

How to use One Home Screen on tvOS 11

1) Open the Settings app on one of your Apple TVs.

2) Navigate to the Accounts → iCloud subsection.

3) Set the toggle One Home Screen to “On”.

And that’s all there’s to it!

You should now have the same Home screen appearance and installed apps for each Apple TV in your household.

I’m liking this feature a lot because it unifies my media room experience.

Now I can seamlessly switch, say, between an Apple TV in my bedroom and one in the living room knowing all of my installed apps and Home screen organization will be in perfect sync across multiple Apple TVs.

Issues with One Home Screen?

As mentioned, it requires that you be signed in with the same Apple ID account in Settings → Account on every Apple TV in your household you wish to synchronize this way.

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As a hypothetical scenario, suppose you create a new folder on an Apple TV in your living room or move a YouTube icon to the top of the Home screen. tvOS sends your actions to iCloud which in turn instructs an Apple TV in your bedroom and all of your other Apple TVs to make those changes as well.

If one of your Apple TVs falls out of sync, you may want to double-check that it’s using the same Apple ID account in Settings → Account like your other Apple TVs. Also, be sure that the device has network connectivity and that required iCloud services are not offline.

Need help? Ask iDB!

If you like this how-to, pass it along to your support folks and leave a comment below.

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Apple Watch Series 0 does not support watchOS 4’s cool new heart rate analytics

2017 September 21
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Even though watchOS 4 supports all watch models, the original device (also called Apple Watch Series 0) featuring Apple’s S1 chip does not support any of the expanded heart rate analytics provided by the new software.

That’s according to The Verge editor Lauren Goode and various other users on social media. I can confirm this is true. I’ve just tried accessing the expanded heart-reate monitoring features in watchOS 4 on my original Apple Watch, to no avail.

On all other Apple Watch models, watchOS 4 enables several new heart-related features, like a real-time heart rate complication, the Current/Resting measurements and averages from your workouts in the Heart app, optional notifications when your heart rate starts racing after a ten-minute period of inactivity and more.

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watchOS 4, as mentioned, supports all models, even the original Apple Watch model from 2015.

Also dubbed by the media Apple Watch Series 0 for clarity, it was discontinued when Apple Watch Series 2 was introduced 2016. However, Apple has replaced the original watch model with the Series 1 device featuring exactly the same casing and hardware with the exception of an upgrade S1P chip.

Image courtesy of Lauren Goode

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4K movies from iTunes can be streamed but not downloaded locally

2017 September 21
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You can rent or purchase 4K movies from iTunes Store, but you cannot download them to your computer like with 1080p and standard-definition content found on Apple’s content store.

According to a support document on Apple’s website, you can download a local copy of a 1080p or standard-definition movie from iTunes to your iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC (Apple TV intelligently caches iTunes movie purchases depending on available storage), just like before.

You cannot, however, download a 4K version of a movie to your Apple device. On surface, this sounds like another annoying limitation. In reality, however, this isn’t a big deal because video content carried on iTunes Store has always been DRM-protected using Apple’s proprietary FairPlay mechanism.

As a result, movies you purchase from iTunes can be played strictly on iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC devices authorized with the same Apple ID account you’ve used to buy them.

Apple is upgrading all of our previous HD movie purchases to 4K versions, where available, completely free of charge—which is unheard of—so I’m guessing this limitation is some sort of concession to content owners in exchange for free HD→4K upgrades.

I doubt the policy indicates a licensing issue. More likely, Hollywood majors are afraid that someone might beat FairPlay encryption so they’ve probably imposed this limitation upon Apple.

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Tip: have Apple Watch auto-show corresponding app when playing audio on iPhone

2017 September 21
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The watchOS 4 software includes a nifty little time-saving feature that automatically shows a corresponding watch app, if available, when you initiate audio playback on your iPhone. Here’s how to use it.

NOTE: They’re calling it “Auto-launch Audio Apps” and it’s supported on watchOS 4 or later. Obviously, your iPhone audio app must include a watchOS extension for this to work.

If your iOS audio app has a watchOS component, don’t forget to install it!

To install the watch component that shipped with your preferred iOS audio app, simply find it underneath the Available Apps heading inside the Watch app on your iPhone and hit the Install button.

This feature can be managed either in the Settings app on your watch or through the companion Watch app on your paired iPhone, here’s how.

Enabling “Auto-launch Audio Apps” on watchOS

1) Press the Digital Crown to get to the Home screen, then tap the Settings icon.

2) Navigate to the General → Wake Screen subsection.

3) Slide the toggle Auto-launch Audio Apps to the ON position.

Now when you initiate audio playback on your iPhone, the watch will put up the appropriate watchOS app when you raise your wrist or wake the screen with a tap.

How to enable “Auto-launch Audio Apps” on iOS

1) Open the companion Watch app on your paired iPhone.

2) Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom.

3) Navigate to the General → Wake Screen subsection.

4) Slide the toggle Auto-launch Audio Apps to the ON position.

This has the same effect as toggling “Auto-launch Audio Apps” in Settings app on your watch.

Here’s what makes this feature awesome

If you don’t listen to a lot of music, then this feature is obviously a nuisance and I completely understand why you’ll want to disable it completely. But if you do enjoy listening to your music or favorite podcasts on the go, then being automatically greeted with the right app at the right time will save you from needing to pull your phone out of your pocket just to control audio playback.

TUTORIAL: The best voice recording apps for Apple Watch

The corresponding watch app comes up even if you play audio back through the Now Playing widget on your iPhone’s Lock screen or in Control Center.

Now, I love my AirPods and use them every day.

Before watchOS 4, I had to press the Side button and find the Now Playing widget in the Dock just to turn down the volume or select a different playlist. With “Auto-launch Audio Apps”, I just raise my wrist and app-specific playback controls are already there on my wrist.

Apple’s stock Music app, at left, and the Overcast podcast player, at right.

To reiterate, this capability relies on availability of a watchOS component for your favorite iOS audio app. It obviously works with Apple’s stock Music app, but I can confirm that it works with other apps including the popular Overcast podcast player.

Need help? Ask iDB!

If you like this how-to, pass it along to your support folks and leave a comment below.

Got stuck? Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know via and a future tutorial might provide a solution.

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3D Touch app switching gesture to return soon to iOS 11, says Apple

2017 September 21
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With iOS 11, Apple has inexplicably removed the tremendously useful app-switching gesture on iPhones with 3D Touch. Fortunately, this is just a temporary removal as the company has confirming bringing the feature back with a future update to iOS 11.


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