How do I record a call on my iPhone?

12 May 2020, 00:06

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Ever wanted to record a call on your iPhone?

Well… You can’t. Sorry. Apple doesn’t let you for security reasons. And it’s often illegal anyway.

How to record a phone call on the iPhone: One trick to try
There’s no way around this using just Apple’s software. You can’t record the screen and then make a call, for example. The screen recording will simply terminate automatically when you make the call.

However, if I need to record a call, here’s what I do:

  1. I make the call and switch it to the iPhones speaker, by tapping the Hide button to remove the numeric keypad, and tapping the Audio button so the speaker is selected. The iPhone’s mic and speaker are so good that, usually, the individual on the other end of the line has no idea they’re on speakerphone.
  2. I use an audio recording app on my computer to record the call using the computer’s built-in microphone. Most laptops have a built-in mic but if you’re using a desktop PC then you’ll need to source an external microphone. For example, on my Mac I use the QuickTime Player software. I click File > New Audio Recording. If you’re using Windows 10, you can use the Voice Recorder app.

How to record a phone call on the iPhone: Other methods
Now, you might be reading this and thinking – that stinks! This guy MUST be wrong. I’ll just keep googling until I find an answer I like.

Be careful! There are three ways you might read about to get around Apple’s restriction on calls, and all are problematic.

The first is to use an app that lets you make calls using a third-party service. Often these work by creating a three-way call with you, the person you’re calling, and a recording service on the third line. For example, the transcription service offers this feature – and for free (although they’d like you to buy their transcription service). Alternatively, other apps work by simply bypassing the Apple built-in phone app. You make a call through the app instead, across the Internet, just like you make voice calls using Skype or WhatsApp. But these apps charge money for the call, or the app. Or both. So beware. It’s one of those areas where sharks operate and aim for big profits.

The second way around the restriction is to jailbreak your phone in order to install software that lets you record calls by hacking Apple’s built-in phone app. Don’t do this. Jailbreaking severely damages the security of your phone. It’s one of the most effective ways to get your iPhone infected with malware – something that’s literally impossible usually.

The third way is to create a three-way call, and the third “caller” is a service that records the call. This is perhaps the safest way of recording a call, in that you haven’t got to mess around with apps, but it’s clunky. This is basically a manual version of the first method mentioned above. And again, the prices for making and recording calls through these services are high, and it’s typically shark-infested waters.

If you need to record calls on a regular basis, the best plan is to get an Android phone. Android offers a variety of ways of doing so – although at the expense of weaker security than the iPhone.

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What Mac should I buy?

11 May 2020, 13:53

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Here’s the quickest and simplest Mac buyer’s guide you’ll find anywhere. These are just suggestions, though. You should use this is a starting point for your own research.

What Mac should I buy: Buying tips
For example, depending on when you’re reading this, you might find some of the Mac models haven’t been updated for a long time, so rely upon older and less effective hardware. Always do a general Google search for the current year, plus the type of Mac you want, to see if there’s been a recent update. The Macrumors Buyer’s Guides should also be consulted.

If buying a laptop Mac (Air, Macbook Pro etc), ensure the model you get does NOT have a “butterfly” keyboard. As of 2020, all the latest models do not feature this derided keyboard mechanism that proved incredibly faulty for many users – but some older models might still be on sale that do, and are still on sale. The new, better keyboard design is referred to as a scissor mechanism.

What Mac should I buy: Common questions
Here are the answers to some of the most common Mac buying questions.

  • “I want a cheap, decent Mac for carrying around with me”
    Consider the MacBook Air. This is Apple’s biggest selling model by far, and for good reason – for most people who simply want the Mac experience (especially college students), it’s a good-value choice.
  • “I want a Mac for education”
    If you want a non-portable computer to use on a desk or table, get an iMac. If you want a portable lightweight Mac you can carry around with you, consider the MacBook Air. Don’t forget to make use of Apple’s education discount.
  • “I want a cheap, decent Mac for my desktop”
    Consider the Mac Mini, and then use your own keyboard, mouse and screen.
  • “I just want a no-fuss Mac for my desktop”
    Get an iMac. This is arguably the best choice for a family Mac to be put somewhere like a kitchen counter surface, or in the living room, for all family members to use.
  • “I want a Mac for my office to use apps like Microsoft Office 365”
    If you want a non-portable computer to use on a desk or table, get an iMac. If you want a portable lightweight Mac you can carry around with you, consider the MacBook Air. For ultra-portability and working in the cloud, consider an iPad or an iPad Pro.
  • “I know nothing about computers but somebody told me that a Mac therefore is a good idea”
    If you want a non-portable computer to use on a desk or table, get an iMac. If you want a portable lightweight Mac you can carry around with you, consider the MacBook Air.
  • “I’m a creative, into photography and/or making music and/or podcasts”
    Consider the MacBook Pro 13, 15 or 16in model. Get the most storage you you afford, then get the most RAM you can afford. Finally, if you can spare more cash, get the best CPU you can afford – ideally, one with 4 or 6 cores. For use on the desktop, buy an external monitor or two, and connect them via Thunderbolt 3.
  • “I’m a software developer/programmer”
    Get a MacBook Pro 13, 15 or 16in, again coupled to one or two external monitors via Thunderbolt 3. If you have to compile massive apps on a regular basis, and can’t stand waiting around, consider models with an i7 or even i9 CPU. If you’re a full-time dev working in an office 24/7 then an iMac or iMac Pro might be an alternative choice.
  • “I make videos”
    If you can live with leaving your Mac overnight to render movie files, get the most powerful MacBook Pro 15 or 16in model you can afford. But for a video editing experience that doesn’t suck, you really need to stick to desktop models – either an iMac Pro, or a Mac Pro.
  • “I want a Mac to run Windows on”
    Honestly, this is a really sub-par experience. Macs just aren’t made to run Windows. Get yourself a decent Windows laptop like the Dell Inspiron 13 or 15. If you get a Mac you’re just paying a few hundred dollars/euros/pounds more for no reward (other than perhaps having an Apple logo…?)
  • “I want a Mac for gaming”
    See the answer above. The Mac is not great for the kind of PC games that you might play under Windows, and dual-booting into Windows via BootCamp isn’t a great experience all round. If you’re into gaming then a Windows laptop or PC is simply a better choice. (Note that Apple currently doesn’t even support Nvidia graphics drivers – only AMD GPUs are natively supported.)
  • “I want a touchscreen Mac”
    It doesn’t exist. There are no Macs of any kind with a touch-sensitive screen. Your best hope is to get an iPad. Note that the Apple Pencil does not work on any Mac either!

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What Mac do I have?

11 May 2020, 13:29

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Ever wanted to know what model Mac you have? The answer is simple – click the Apple menu at the top left of the screen, and then click About This Mac.

How to find out what Mac you have
You’ll be told which version of macOS you’re using, but in a list below you’ll find out all the pertinent details about your Mac – its model name, its processor, what RAM it has, and even its unique serial number.

You can click the Displays and Storage tabs to learn more about these aspects of your Mac too. Note that the Displays tab only shows the screen(s) and the graphics chipset in use at that moment. This is important for Macs that have discrete graphics chips (typically MacBook Pros with AMD-manufactured GPUs). If the GPU is not in use, and most of the time it isn’t, then under the Display tab you’ll only see the Intel Iris GPU listed. To see details about the discrete graphics, it needs to be activated. And to do this, ensure the Mac is connected to the power and then open the Photos app. This usually switches the Mac to using the discrete GPU. Then reopen the About This Mac window, as described earlier.

How to find out Mac you have: Getting the model number
To find out the model number/code, which can be useful when repairing your Mac and when you’re buying spare parts, click the System Report button in the About This Mac window. In the window that appears, ensure the top-left “Hardware” heading is selected, and in the right of the window look at the Model Identifier line. Remember that the model identifier can be used across several actually quite different models and updates, however, and probably isn’t unique to just your specification of Mac.

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How do I split screen on a Mac?

11 May 2020, 10:57

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Microsoft Windows 10 users might miss the window snapping (Snap Assist) feature if they use a Mac.

But Macs have their own version. And it’s just as easy to use.

How to split screen on a Mac
To split a Mac desktop into two halves, with an application in each, simply click and hold the green “traffic light” button at the top left of the window. You’ll see a menu pop-out. Just select which side of the window you want.

Depending on the application, one of two things might happen. If the app is compatible with full screen mode, then the app will occupy one half the screen in full screen mode (if you get confused by this, just hit the Esc key to return back to normal). If the app isn’t compatible with full-screen mode then it will simply maximize to the half of the screen you selected as if you’d dragged it over there and resized it manually.

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