iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iOS and iTunes Tips & Tricks | iLounge

Tips & Tricks

Marking media watched or unwatched from Apple TV

iTunes and Apple’s media devices typically do a good job of keeping track of what media you have or haven’t yet watched—but for those times when you don’t want a TV show, season, or movie marked the way it is, there’s a simple way to change it—right from the Apple TV. When browsing through your TV shows or movies, simply select the episode or movie you’d like to mark as watched or unwatched, and hold down the select button on the Apple Remote to bring up a menu. From there, you can mark the video as you see fit, and in the case of TV shows, will also have the option to mark the entire season however you want it.

Enabling Closed Captioning on iOS and iTunes

Most folks are familiar with Closed Captioning (CC)—the system for displaying text during a TV or video to help those with hearing disabilities follow along. But the system isn’t useful solely to them—if you’d like to watch a movie or TV show silently, for instance. Luckily, there’s lots of CC-enabled content available from the iTunes Store, and enabling the service on Apple’s devices is fairly simple. In iTunes on a Mac or PC, open up the Preferences, select Playback, and turn on the “Show closed captioning when available” option. On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, open the Settings app, tap on Video, and turn Closed Captioning on. Last but not least, you can access the same option on the Apple TV by visiting the Settings menu, selecting Audio & Video, and then turning Closed Captioning on. Now you can enjoy your content—and some peace and quiet. [via OS X Daily]

Manually updating your Apple TV’s software

The Apple TV is pretty good about giving you on-screen reminders when it needs updated—but if you want to make sure your unit is running the latest and greatest software, it’s easy to do. Open up the device’s Settings menu, select General, and select Update Software. It there’s an update available, it will prompt you to download and install it—and if not, you’ll get a reassuring message that your software is up to date.

Changing your Apple TV slideshow settings

(Most) everyone likes plants and animals, but may not want to watch them repeatedly dance across their screen. Luckily, the Apple TV provides you with a number of ways to access other photo content for your screensaver. To change things up, roll over to the Apple TV’s Settings menu, then down to Screen Saver. On this screen you can decide how long you want the little black box to wait before taking over, choose whether you want the ‘saver to show up during music playback, choose what style of screen saver you want—there’s plenty to choose from, or you can even have it pick one at random—and choose what photos you want to appear.

Using an iOS device as an Apple TV remote camera

When Apple added AirPlay video mirroring to the Apple TV with the launch of the iPad 2, it opened up a world of new possibilities for developers and users alike—including one possibility that, while somewhat silly, might someday come in handy someday. If you own both an Apple TV and an iPad 2 or iPhone 4S, you can use one of the latter devices as a remote camera, which you can view from the Apple TV. Simply double-tap the Home button, swipe over to the media controls hidden in the multitasking tray, tap the AirPlay button, select the Apple TV you wish to use, and turn on Mirroring. Once that’s done, all you need to do is open a camera app on the portable device, and whatever it’s looking at should appear on the screen. This is great for static surveillance jobs, but what if your subject—say, a child—is on the move? Simply strap one of the devices to a remote-controlled vehicle and you’ll be able to keep an eye on the entire house—or at least that floor. [via TUAW]

Top Tips of 2011

Continuing our end-of-year roundup, we’ve decided to use today’s Tip to give you a list of links to our top tips of the past year. Below, you’ll find links to tips for iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV users, with a little something for both new users and experienced pros.

Sharing Multiple Photos on iOS
Taking control of your iTunes Library with Smart Playlists
Getting the most out of iOS’ software keyboard
Setting up Automatic Downloads in iOS and iTunes
Getting rid of Wi-Fi network pop-ups on iOS
Navigating the Music app with one hand
Mastering the Apple TV remote
Setting up an iTunes Store Allowance account
Setting up Notification Center on iOS 5
Making Siri work with Facebook + Twitter
Sharing an iCloud account for multi-device access
Customizing your Mail signature on iOS

Clearing out your iCloud Photo Stream

So iCloud and iOS 5’s new Photo Stream feature is, conceptually, a great one: any photo you shoot—provided you’re on Wi-Fi—can instantly be accessed across all of your devices, and even used as a screensaver for your Apple TV. But what if you shot something you didn’t want to have plastered all over your TV, only to realize that there’s no simply way to remove a single photo? Well, you either have to live with it until it gets pushed out by 1,000 other photos, or reset your entire stream. Today we’ll show you how to handle the second option.

First, make sure you have an original backup of the photos in your Photo Stream, preferably in Apple’s iPhoto or Aperture photo management programs. Then, visit iCloud.com, sign in, and click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. On the pop-up that appears, click on Reset Photo Stream. One you’ve given confirmation, go around to your devices and turn Photo Stream off and back on to flush the previous contents. Sure, you’ll then be left with an empty Photo Stream, but you can easily refill it using those originals in iPhoto and Aperture, and even if you don’t, it’s still better than leaving potentially embarrassing photos on semi-permanent rotation in your living room. For more information on iCloud, see our Instant Expert article.

Mastering the Apple TV remote

The aluminum remote that comes with the second-generation Apple TV has been praised for its sleek form and intentionally minimalist array of buttons, and while most of its functions are self-explanatory, there are a few tricks you should know if you want to get the most out of it.

For example, you can get to the main menu from anywhere just by holding down the “Menu” button. If you’re playing music and would like to start a Genius playlist based on the song you’re listening to, hold down the select button. When you’re watching video, you can tap the down button and then use the left or right buttons to skip through chapters. We could go on, but to be honest, there aren’t any tricks for the aluminum wand that will make it better than Apple’s excellent—and free—Remote app for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, so if you have an iOS device around the house, be sure to download and install Remote to take full advantage of your Apple TV.

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