Apple’s iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case Review

In December 2015 Apple debuted its iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case.  Originally I thought the design wasn’t good and at the price was not the best use of my cash flow.  There was also a video by Unbox Theory the helped seal my decision.

Fast forward to this past March 2016 and I decided to give the Smart Battery Case a two-week trial run.  Spoiler alert its now April 2016 and I am still using the case.  Let me get straight to the point, which are my likes and dislikes.

Likes:

  • Obviously having the ability to extend battery life is nice. My first few days I found that I didn’t need to charge the case and iPhone for a couple of days.
  • Based on the above I turned on more of iOS’ features that I typically turn off, which does make having an iPhone more pleasurable.  This did result in the case running out of power before the end of the day.
  • The speaker and microphone position really boosted the sound both in and out. Using the iPhone without the case I find that I miss the change in sound position.
  • The case is well built and I can grip the case well. Other than the battery bump the case is no different than the silicon case Apple sells.
  • The Control Center Battery Widget is unique to battery cases and helps to know if and when you should charge.
  • The lightning connector means I didn’t have to buy a different cable. Nothing worse then having to change out all your cables for your gear.

Dislikes:

  • The Smart Battery Case picks up dust and lint pretty easily.
  • The extra battery adds some weight, which is noticeable.
  • The case effects signal strength and I am not sure why. I’ve never had an issue with a case degrading the signal, but the Smart Case does.
  • The case isn’t as appealing design on the eyes. Its almost like Apple said to itself, we need to make some margin so let’s make a battery case quickly.
  • The case is $99.00 US, but it is Apple after all.

smartbatteryMy preference for my phone would be not to have a case at all and to have better battery life.  I fully believe Apple could design an iPhone that could have both, but I am not sure that fits Jony Ive’s mantra of smaller and thinner.

Though there were a number of dislikes I decided to keep the case.  I use the case Monday through Friday, but on the weekends I free it from its battery bumped shell.    If you are looking for better battery and unleash your iPhone’s full capability, then this is pretty good way to go. The case comes with Apple’s standard 1-year warranty and a month in it is holding up like the day I bought it.   In the end I believe it is worth the money and worth having enough battery to get through a normal day.

Regain Access to the Previous Version of Disk Utility in El Capitan

diskutilityiconDo you miss the interface and features of Disk Utility prior to OS X El Capitan? Well, I found a way to get back to it (sort of), but it was by dumb luck. While trying to fix my install of OS X El Capitan. I had erased the hard drive using Disk Utility via the Recover Partition. I then decided to reboot, which of course did not bring up an OS. I then attempted to boot into the Recovery Partition (CMD + R) again.

Upon the successful reboot I was in a version of OS X Mavericks, which then to my surprise showed the version of Disk Utility I had missed since upgrading to El Capitan. I am not completely sure why the Mavericks Recovery Partition came up, but it was a nice discovery.

MacAppStoreI then started to think, if I had a USB install disc of a prior version of OS X I could launch that version’s Disk Utility and regain the features that are now missing in El Capitan. To download a copy of a previous version of OS X simply open the Mac App Store, Click on Purchased and download the version of choice.

Next make a Bootable USB install disc. I decided to make one for OS X Yosemite.  The instructions to create such a disc are as follows:

1. Format an 8GB or larger USB thumb drive using Disk Utility.  The drive name should be Untitled.
2. Open the Terminal App and type sudo /Applications/Install OS X   Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite.app –nointeraction

For detailed instructions I recommend the OSXDaily article, How to Make an OS X Yosemite Boot Installer USB Drive by Paul Horowitz

After the boot disc is completed restart your Mac, hold the option/alt key, select the newly built Yosemite USB disc and choose Disc Utility upon boot.  Its not simple, but at least you can get the old interface back and use the features that have been missing.  To get a list check out 6 Disk Utility Changes in El Captain via Computer World.

How to Remove Devices from the List of iMessage Text Forwarding

After selling my iMac and buying a MacBook Pro recently, I was left with the iMac as a device on my iPhone to forward  text messages in iMessage. I could turn it off, but I couldn’t find a way to remove it from the list of devices.

I tried signing out of iCloud and deleting the device from the web interface of iCloud, but neither resolved my issue.  After searching Google (as one does) I found an article from MacWorld by Glenn Fleishman.  It required changing your iCloud (or Apple ID) password.

But there’s an answer, found in discussions online among users with similar troubles: Change your Apple ID password, and the phantom devices disappear. Whether you’re using password-only, two-step verification, or two-factor authentication with your Apple ID, changing the password can mean re-entering it and going through a code-based verification step in a lot of places. But it will also solve this problem.

The answer is quite easy, but not well thought out by Apple.  It is actually rather annoying to have to change a password to remove a device.  I hope a future update corrects the oversight by Apple.

 

Life: Apple iPhone 6 Leather Case (Black)

My new iPhone 6 case arrived a day before my actual iPhone. Here are three shots of the actual case compared to my iPhone 5 size. The iPhone 6 appears to not be much bigger than my iPhone 5, which is why I went with the iPhone 6 versus the iPhone 6 plus. The iPhone 6 also looks based on the case to fit my hand better. If I had my way I would rather have a smaller sized iPhone.

15279517902_e4ac9e7f11_b

15256732986_2cbcd18761_b

15256725316_9de6c266c7_b

Technology: T-Mobile WiFi Calling

Update: Looks like WiFi calling on T-Mobile will not be supported on the iPhone 5 after I received clarification from @TMobileHelp

TMobileWiFi Calling

@TMobileUSA confirmed to me via Twitter that WiFi calling will be available on the iPhone 5, 5c, 5S, 6 and 6 Plus once iOS 8 becomes available.

I currently don’t see that feature available on my iPhone 5 running iOS 8 Gold Master, so I am still skeptical.