Sprint Through Security With These Tech-Packing Tricks

If the thought of flying and standing in long TSA lines before reaching your travel destination triggers a migraine, these tips from the TSA will show you how to properly pack your gadgets, accessories, and chargers, and speed through the security line like a frequent flyer. A foolproof way to get everything in your bag, the best way to wrap cords, and the most TSA-friendly bags await in these five tips.

  • Pack in layers — Layer clothes, electronics, then clothes again inside a carry-on so the TSA agent can quickly see what’s in there. This strategy also works better than the cram-everything-in-your-bag strategy once you unpack at your destination.
  • Wrap the cords — A tangle of cords could look like something potentially harmful if it’s viewed a certain way, which could mean a more thorough and time-consuming bag check. Wrap cords around their devices, pack chargers together in one bag (ziplocks work!), and take advantage of rubber bands and twist ties to keep them tangle-free.
  • Keep big items in your carry-on — Not in checked bags. Laptops and DVD players have to come out of your bags at screening checkpoints, but they won’t fare well in checked bags unless you’re down with a TSA agent potentially digging them out.
  • But know what can stay inside — Don’t forget: tablets, ereaders, laptops, and gadgets smaller than a 13-inch laptop can stay in your carry-on. All other electronic devices need to come out.
  • Get a TSA-friendly bag — Of course, you could just get a TSA-friendly bag for your laptop, which will glide right through the checkpoint without a problem. TSA-approved bags provide a clear and unobstructed view of the device inside through the X-ray scanner. These can be one of three styles: sleeve style, butterfly style, or trifold style. They won’t have pockets, metal zippers, snaps, logos, emblems, or other branding that can obstruct the view of the laptop in the X-ray scanner, and they can only house the laptop. Other items like chargers, cables, and accessories should be packed separately.

1 Photographer Tested Out the New iPhone Camera to See If It’s Actually Better

With every new iPhone that comes out, the question almost everyone wants to know is if it’s actually worth getting. Though the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have cool, fun new features that make it a great upgrade, one photographer looked at the phone’s camera to see if it’s actually any better.

The photographer, Lisa Bettany, also the cofounder of the popular app Camera+,looked at nine different iPhone generations to see how each model has improved in its camera technology. She looked at the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6S and took photos within the Camera+ app while testing out a variety of different photos people tend to take.

Considering we’re all trying to take the best photos for our selfies, Instagram posts, and Facebook profile pictures, it definitely makes sense to consider the camera, and these photos will definitely make you want to get an iPhone 6S ASAP.

The Easy Way to Find Your Hidden Uber Passenger Rating

Uber passengers have long wondered how to check their passenger scores. (Drivers rate passengers on a one-to-five-star scale the same way passengers rate drivers.) There used to be no way to see your rating on the app, but as Quartz first reported, you can now.

Simply open up the app, go to the profile icon in the top left, go to Help > Account > I’d like to know my rating > Submit. Ta-da! You should then get an email from Uber with your rating.

“An Uber trip should be a good experience for drivers too — drivers shouldn’t have to deal with aggressive, violent, or disrespectful riders,” the company wrote in a blog post about the passenger rating. If you have a low passenger rating, it might be harder for you to get picked up.

Uber also offers up suggestions on how to get a stellar rider rating, like including an accurate pickup location, not piling too many people in the car, and being ready when the driver arrives.

Finally, an Answer to This Annoying iPhone Mystery

If, like me, you’re someone who gets uncomfortable talking on the phone, you’re probably superthankful for the iPhone’s accept/decline button when you get an incoming call. But you’re probably also confused as to why you only see it sometimes. Most of the time, you may have noticed the slide-to-answer feature.

Much to the relief of introverts everywhere, the reason behind these changes has finallycome to light, courtesy of Business Insider. Instead of a complicated cause, such as discrepancies between iPhone and non-iPhone users’ calls, the answer is simple. If your iPhone is unlocked while receiving a call, you’ll see accept and decline buttons on your screen; if it’s locked, you’ll get the slider. Aha!

I tested it out by having a co-worker call me twice. Sure enough, it worked the way it’s supposed to. Case closed, everybody.

Master a Digital Detox With This Easy Plan

We’re the first people to joke about being addicted to smartphones, but being too obsessed is unproductive and unhealthy. When you can’t go 20 minutes without checking your phone or you sleep with it under your pillow, it’s time for an intervention.

If you think detox retreats are too much but the Moment app is too little, consider this weeklong plan the perfect balance. It’s practical and doable but totally effective. Try it today and let us know how it goes, will you?


Unfollow people who aren’t your real friends, unsubscribe from unwanted email lists, and delete apps you don’t use.


Turn off push notifications.


Resist the urge to look at your phone first thing in the morning.


Set up a charging station outside of your bedroom, and don’t look at your phone an hour before bed.


Go out to dinner, and leave your phone at home.


Spend the day not looking at or posting to social media.


Turn off your smartphone for the entire day.

We made this handy graphic so you have the detox steps in one place. Take the challenge and pass it on:

Block Contacts From Sending Messages or Calls

One of iOS 8’s many little conveniences is the ability to (finally!) block numbers from contacting a device. Whether it’s a salesperson, frenemy, or someone you just need a digital break from for a bit, Apple’s new operating system now allows users to limit the communication received from the outside world. If you have people or unknown, annoying numbers that you’d prefer not to see messages or receive phone and Facetime calls from, follow the instructions below.

Add a Contact to the Blocked List

Block someone from calling or texting you one of two ways:

  • To block someone who has been added to your phone’s Contacts, go to Settings > Phone > Blocked > Add New. The All Contacts window will appear where you can scroll through names to then tap the name of the contact you’d like to block. You’ll be taken back to the Blocked window with the name added to the list of blocked contacts.From Settings, contacts can also be blocked selecting either Messages orFacetime, and then following the above instructions.
  • In instances where you want to a block a number that isn’t stored as a contact in your phone, go to the Phone app > Recents. Look for the number (or name) you’d like to block and tap the blue “i” with a circle around it to the right of the number. Scroll down to the bottom of the contact card that appears and select “Block This Caller.” The message “You will not receive phone calls, messages, or FaceTime from people on the block list” will appear with two options: Block Contact or Cancel. Hit Block Contact to add the number to the big, bad blocked list.

    Block from Messages by selecting the message thread with the contact and tapping Contact in the upper right corner. Select the information icon, and proceed with the same instructions as in the Recents tab in Phone.

Unblock a Contact

Decide an acquaintance served their time on the blocked list and want to digitally revive them? Like adding someone to the blocked list, they can be removed two ways:

  • In Settings go to Phone > Blocked, where a list of blocked contacts and numbers will appear. Tap Edit in the top right hand corner. Then, tap the red delete button to the left of the name, which will cause a red unblock button appear. Select it, and the contact is restored to unblocked bucket, with all rights, privileges and honors appertaining thereto.From Settings, contacts can be removed from a blocked list by selecting either Messages or Facetime, and then following the above instructions.
  • Find the contacts’ name or the number you’d like to unblock in the Recents tab of the Phone app. Select the blue icon to the right of their name, then scroll down and tap “Unblock This Caller.”

    Unblock the contact via Messages by selecting the message thread with the contact, and tapping Contact in the upper right corner. Select the information icon, and proceed with the same instructions as in the Recents tab in Phone.

Will The Contact Know They’re Blocked?

Short answer: no. But a perceptive friend might notice that they can never get a hold of you. When someone in your blocked list calls, they’ll be immediately sent to voicemail. Any message left in voicemail will be put in a separate folder called “Blocked Messages,” to which you can listen.

If the contact tries to send you a text or iMessage, from their end, it will look like the message was sent, though you — thanks to your craftiness — will not actually have to see the message.

Take note, blocking contacts goes one way, meaning you can still call, text, or FaceTime the numbers you’ve listed in Blocked. So if the blocking is also to limit yourself from communication with a certain person, better go ahead and delete their number completely from your phone.

Should you continue to get unwanted phone calls from spammers or marketing companies, consider adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry.

Not Enough Free Space? What to Delete on Your iPhone

Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 9.2, is basically like getting a new phone — but first, you’ll need at least 1.3 GB of free space to install the new software. If you’ve been putting off the upgrade because you’re receiving the dreaded “Not Enough Storage” message, these are the solutions you are seeking.

Our smartphones are the center of our digital universe, and they hold lots of data: text messages, photos, browsing history, etc. If your iPhone’s storage is at capacity, then follow these simple steps to make room for more data.

Identify What’s Taking Up the Most Space

Find out what your problem areas are before deciding what to delete.

    • On the iPhone, head to Settings General Usage to view how many gigabytes you have available. Apps will be listed by how much storage they occupy — Photos & Camera is likely to be at the top of this list.
    • On a Mac or PC, plug the iPhone into a computer and open iTunes to click on the phone icon and view storage broken down by Apps,TV Show, Music, Movies, Photos, and Other. Hover over one of these categories with your mouse to view details. “Other” represents settings, calendar events, notes, browser cache, email, email attachments, and more nonmedia data.
  • If Other makes up an overwhelming amount of iPhone storage, then there may be an issue with corrupted data. If you’ve tried deleting all of our suggestions and there is still lots of Other storage, then consider restoring your iPhone.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes, have backed up the device, and have synced content with your computer. Connect the iPhone to your computer, and in the Summary section under the phone icon, click on Restore iPhone. This returns the iPhone back to factory settings.

Delete Unnecessary Data

While this seems like a no-brainer, there may be some unlikely suspects on this list:

  • Delete photos
  • On the iPhone, do this in your camera roll. On the Mac, connect your iPhone and open Image Capture (default on all Apple computers). Select photos to delete, and select multiple images by holding down the command key while you click on the photos.
  • Text messages
  • Call history
  • Voicemail
  • Safari browser cache (General > Safari > Clear cookies and data)
  • Safari browsing history (General > Safari > Clear history)
  • Unused/outdated/redundant contacts
  • Turn off app notifications
  • Delete and reinstall email account to get rid of attachments cache
  • Unused apps (long press any app icon on the homescreen and tap the “x” button on the top left of the icon)
  • Completed reminders
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Video
  • Reduce locally stored music for “offline” listening in music streaming apps

Possible Preventative Solutions

Nip the full-memory problem in the bud next time around. Since photos are typically the biggest problem, download the Google Photos app, which compresses, backs up, and stores unlimited high-quality photos and videos for free, meaning you can delete them from your Camera Roll.

Reduce what is synced to your phone. Consider syncing selected playlists or genres rather than the entire music library, and deleting podcasts, movies, and TV shows after you’ve finished watching them.

Here’s the Easy Way to Text a GIF

Sometimes life requires more than words to explain the way we really feel, which is why GIFs have become our go-to for sharing the highs and lows of day-to-day life. The one place we were missing this crucial form of communication: on our phones. Luckily, times have changed, and sending GIFs via iMessage is actually possible. Now that we’ve found a way for you to share your deepest, darkest emotions from your phone, scroll down to grab the fast how-to you need to know!

The Steps to Sending a GIF on an iPhone:

  1. Find your GIF of choice in Safari.
  2. Tap and press on the GIF you wish to use.
  3. When the word Copy appears, tap it to copy your GIF.
  4. Open iMessage.
  5. In the text box, press down again until the word Paste appears.
  6. Click to paste your GIF (it will look like a still image, but once sent, it will animate).
  7. Congrats! You have successfully sent your first GIF iMessage.

Customize Your iPhone Homescreen With These Sweet Apps

Ever wish you could change the look of your app icons? Well, turns out you can. Some apps let you switch up the background, color, and design of the graphics and even customize the text. All you have to do is download one of the following options — or check out the more advanced option below— to get a new feel for your homepage.

  • App Icons ($1) — Use templates to create cool icons, or make your own designs from scratch; either way, you can customize your homepage look based on several themes (like nature and cartoons). Mix and match icons for apps and contacts, and even modify them down to the font, color, and size of the text.
  • CocoPPa (free) — Easy to use, CocoPPa lets you choose your favorite images from a pool of designs that are searchable by tag, color, and category. Look for versions of well-known icons (for example, an “F” with a leopard-print background for Facebook), or choose a completely random picture (like a panda) to represent one of your existing apps. Keep in mind that what you download is just an extra shortcut, not a replacement icon — so you’ll end up with two icons on your home screen for the same app.
  • App Icons+ (free) — The same name as the other app, this one lets you select from a number of backgrounds and borders or import your own photos to create icon designs. Choose from endless combinations of built-in backgrounds and borders to snag a style for a shortcut icon that’s all your own.
  • For more-advanced iOS users — You can create your app icon designs in a different, more involved way. You’ll first need to download iPhone Explorer and then follow a few steps in the Apps folder to get the look you want.