Today is our third post in a series titled “Ask the Editor”. This is a great way for you to ask questions and get help for all things iPhone. Whether you’ve just purchased your first iPhone and need help setting it up or are a pro with an advanced technical question, I’ll tackle your problem and see if I can help!
We’ve had some great questions submitted since last time, so read on to find out what my responses are and how you can submit your own questions for the next article.
Is there any free timer app for OS 4.0 that chimes every 15 minutes (or at a custom interval)?
This is a great question. There are several timer apps out there, but many of them are aimed at creating one-off timers that don’t have the ability to repeat indefinitely.
However, if you know where to look, these types of apps are easy to find. There is a method of productivity discipline called the Pomodoro Technique, which is built on the premise of going through brief periods of uninterrupted work followed by quick breaks.
Because of the unique structure of this system, there are several apps in the App Store that help you stay on top of your work and break periods. You can use these to set up a recurring timer that chimes at a custom interval.
One free app in this genre is dPomodoro. This simple app allows you to create a task, then set up both pomodoro and break timers for that task.
If you don’t need the break functionality, simply set it to the same interval as the pomodoro and the result is a timer that repeatedly goes off at a frequency of your choosing. If you have trouble focusing at work, I highly recommend that you give the pomodoro technique a try!
Is there an app that will allow me to write notes in books I’ve downloaded?
You can do this right inside of iBooks, Apple’s default e-reader application. To start, tap and hold a word. Next, select the portion of text that you want to create a note for. Finally, tap the “note” button in the pop-up menu to bring up a yellow notepad with simple text capabilities.
Once you create a note for a specific passage, that text will be highlighted inside the book. To see all your notes for a given book, go to the Bookmarks tab.
Are there any dedicated iPhone apps that let me name and organize voice memos?
As with the previous question, some of this functionality can be found right in Apple’s free default app. For a long time, I too was frustrated in my assumption that the iPhone’s default Voice Memo app doesn’t allow you to name your entries, but it turns out you can!
By default, voice memos come up titled as the date and time that you recorded them. However, if you tap on the little blue arrow on the right side of the memo, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can trim or share the recording. From here, tap the box containing the title, which will allow you to set a generic label. At the bottom of the labels menu is an option to insert a custom label.
It’s definitely an annoyingly round-about way to apply a simple title to a recording, but it works!
Now, despite there being a ton of alternative voice memo apps in the App Store, many of which have better features than Apple’s, it’s actually really difficult to find one with decent organization abilities (tags, searching, folders, etc.) The best solution I can recommend is just to use good old Evernote.
The app may be more than you bargained for but it’s one of the best free apps around and is perfect for creating, naming and organizing all types of notes, including those of the audio variety.
Didn’t See Your Question?
If you asked a question but didn’t have it answered today, don’t worry! I’ll do my best to get to it in a future week. If you’d like to submit a new query, you can do so here: