11:43 am - Saturday December 15, 2018

5 Fixes for the Biggest iPhone and iPad Headaches

No question, the iPad and iPhone are amazing devices. But the iOS operating system isn’t perfect. For example: How come AT&T rebills customers every month for cellular data service without asking? Do you really have to buy a AirPrint-compatible printer to print via your iPad? Can you get a refund from Apple on an iTunes purchase?

Apple gadgets have their pain points. The good news is that where there’s a will, there’s a workaround. With that in mind, we look at five iOS solutions to five confounding iOS headaches.

Come to Grips With Game Center

I know people love to share their gaming achievements, challenge their friends, and use the iOS Game Center on the iPad and iPhone to do other fun stuff–but I don’t. I hate Game Center’s constant pop-ups that interrupt my pig-smashing sessions just to ask me to sign in.

Here’s what I did to quash Game Center alerts for Angry Birds. Open the Settings application (the silver cog) and tap Notifications. Scroll down until you see the Angry Birds icon. Tap it, and then on the next screen tap the on/off slider next to Alerts. Your mobile device will now be Game Center-free for Angry Birds.

It’s not an elegant solution, as you have to go through the same steps for every Game Center-enabled app on your device. And because the workaround turns off all alerts for your game, you’ll also lose any non-Game Center alerts. But it’s worth it afterward if you truly wish to escape the Game Center grip.

Tip: Create a folder on your iPhone or iPad dedicated to hiding the apps you can’t delete. My annoying app folder holds Stocks, Compass, YouTube, and Game Center.

Print Docs From Your iPad

Want to print from your iPad without shelling out more hard-earned money for an AirPrint-compatible printer? You can print for free from your iOS device with a Gmail Account, a PC or Mac computer (Linux is coming soon), Google’s Chrome browser, a printer (wired or wireless), and a little bit of patience.

Open a tab in Chrome, type chrome://settings/advanced in the address bar, and press Enter. Scroll down to the bottom and click the Sign into Google Cloud Print button. You must authorize Cloud Print by entering your Google Account credentials in a pop-up window. After you’ve signed in, return to your iPad and send your Gmail account a document that you want to print. Then open up Gmail in mobile Safari and tap the message containing the attached document. Next to the attachment you should see a link that says ‘Print’. Tap that link to open a Cloud Print window, and select your printer.

Google Cloud Print; click for full-size image.Among the options available from Google Cloud Print are duplexing, multiple copies, and collating.Tap Options on the Cloud Print page for access to options such as printing multiple copies, selecting color or grayscale, choosing duplex printing, and collating copies (if your printer supports it). Since Cloud Print sends print jobs via the Internet, you can print documents even when you’re nowhere near the printer.

The computer you use to authorize Cloud Print acts as a local server for your print jobs, so in order for Cloud Print to work, your computer has to be running and connected to the printer through via a peripheral cable or Wi-Fi. The good news is that Google will save print jobs for you and send them to the printer when your computer comes back online. In my tests, Cloud Print worked like a charm and printed documents very quickly; however, my colleague Melissa Riofrio found that Cloud Print can be problematic. For one thing, Cloud Print does not work with newer Microsoft office file formats such as .docx.

Note: If you plan to use Google’s multifactor authentication security feature, you must sign in to Cloud Print in Chrome with a one-time Application-specific password. To create an app-specific password, visit your Google Account page and click Authorizing applications & site under ‘Personal Settings’.

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