Reverse Image Search With TinEye and Workflow

Social media is a wretched hive of misinformation at times and it happens because we take a lot of what we see at face value. This is exploited by those who would make false or greatly exaggerated claims, such as people who want to be internet famous or who are trying to push their political or prejudiced opinions onto others. A popular tactic for this is to make an unsubstantiated claim (or lie) and find an existing photo somewhere online (e.g., Getty Images) that fits their false narrative.

TinEye is a reverse image search engine and a superb resource for separating fact from fiction. You provide it with an image (either upload one or via URL) and TinEye can find web pages that also use it, even if it has been modified. For iOS users, I've created two workflows that makes it easy to search for an image using TinEye. Both workflows require the use of a Dropbox account.

TinEye Photo is an action extension that accepts an image and temporarily stores it in your Dropbox folder. A public URL for the image is created and used as a TinEye search. Once you've seen the results, the workflow deletes the file from Dropbox.

The second workflow is TinEye URL, an action extension that accepts URLs. It gets the content of the URL, finds all images over 300px wide, and presents them all in a list for selection. The rest of the workflow is then the same as TinEye Photo.

Managing App Store Subscriptions

Many apps and services offer subscription plans as a way to pay for additional features (e.g., syncing), access to a service (e.g., Netflix), or to simply provide recurring support to the developer. As it's a popular payment option, it's a good idea to regularly check what active subscriptions you have on your account, canceling any you no longer need.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap iTunes & App Store > Apple ID
  3. Tap View Apple ID
  4. After your iOS device brings up your account settings, tap Subscriptions

Subscriptions are broken down into "Active" and an "Expired sections. Select an active subscription and tap Cancel Subscription to cancel it. This prevents the subscription from auto-renewing, but you can still use the current subscription until the end of the billing period.

Certain apps and services offer more than one subscription plan, or a discounted annual subscription that is cheaper than paying either weekly or monthly. You can change your subscription type at any time, taking effect from the next billing period. You can also reactivate an expired subscription by selecting it and choosing the plan to subscribe to.

Managing Touch ID Fingerprints

You can enroll up to five different fingerprints to use with TouchID. By default, iOS labels each one sequentially (e.g., Finger 1, Finger 2). Instead, you can set a custom name to better identify which finger each fingerprint corresponds to.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Touch ID & Passcode
  • Tap a fingerprint to rename it

Rename Touch ID fingerprints

If you've added more than one fingerprint and don't know which fingers they correspond to, touch the Home button while in the Touch ID settings. The corresponding fingerprint will be highlighted for you to identify.

Identify Touch ID fingerprints

Touch ID fingerprints are not limited to your own. If you're using a shared device (e.g., family iPad) or perhaps want your spouse to have access to your device in case of emergency, you can add—and then label—other people's fingerprints.

iOS 11 Smart Punctuation

iOS 11 includes Smart Punctuation, a feature that substitutes some forms of punctuation with those that are more typographically suitable (e.g., "straight" quotes with “smart” quotes). While this smart replacement is suited for writing, it can get in the way if you're a developer.

I recently installed the public beta of iOS 11 on my iPad Pro1 and hadn't realized that Smart Punctuation was not only present, it appears to be enabled by default. I was working on a remote server with Coda and couldn't figure out why some of the commands I was entering into Terminal weren't working. These were commands I'd used many times before, so it wasn't until I looked closely at my input that I realized the quotes and hypens I typed were not what I had expected.

Smart Punctuation can, thankfully, be disabled in Settings > General > Keyboards. I'd like to use it but with the amount of work I do on my iPad that requires using punctuation like straight quotes, I simply cannot if it's an all-or-nothing approach. I hope that there's some way for app developers to prevent smart punctuation from occurring, especially in apps like Coda or Working Copy, so that it can still be useful without the potential to cause problems. The most common bugs are always typos, and I doubt I'm the only person who is tripped up by Smart Punctuation.

  1. I told myself I wouldn't install the beta on my iPad Pro. I caved.

iOS 11 Multitasking Without Using the Dock

A common complaint about multitasking in iOS 11 is that apps seemingly must reside in the Dock for them to be available for Slide Over or Split View. Here's Apple's description of multitasking on their iOS 11 preview page:

iOS 11 makes it easier and more intuitive than ever to multitask. You can open a second app right from the Dock, and both apps remain active in Slide Over as well as Split View. You can drag the second app in Slide Over to the left. And you can get back to your favorite App Spaces in the redesigned App Switcher.

As some iOS 11 users have pointed out, one alternative to this is to invoke Spotlight to search for apps, though this requires the use of an external keyboard to show Spotlight while an app is still active. Another option is to create a folder of apps and place it in the Dock, though this still means you're still limited to a selection of apps you can multitask from.

There is another way of multitasking apps that doesn't require using the Dock at all, allowing you to one-handedly drag any app from your Home screen and place them in Slide Over or Split View. You can even use this process to replace any app in a pairing.

  1. Press the Home button to go back to the Home screen
  2. Tap-and-hold an app until you can drag it around
  3. Either:
    • Tap to select another app and launch it from the Home screen
    • Invoke the App Switcher (either by swiping up from the bottom of the screen or double-pressing the Home button)
  4. You can then drop the app in Slide Over or Split View, or replace either app in the pairing

It does feel clumsy at first and there's probably more Apple can do to improve this. But after using this technique many times already, it's become second nature and I can accomplish this all one-handed. I don't tend to use the app pairings that Apple is seemingly trying to push as a feature of iOS 11, instead just selecting apps and multitasking whenever necessary.

I've only been aware of these methods since using Beta 2 so cannot confirm whether it existed in the first beta or is a recent addition. Whether these are worthwhile solutions to app multitasking or just the first step in an ongoing improvement remains to be seen. But if this is how multitasking is going to work in the first public release of iOS 11, I'm fine with it for now.

Update: As reddit user dunnouniquename suggests, you can also drag an app from the Home screen with one hand then using another finger to open another app. This launches the app while you're still dragging the other one. I've updated the post and video to reflect both methods.