Make Apple Watch interactive notifications more reliable by waiting a moment before tapping a button

One of the best things about having an Apple Watch is the convenience of being able to action notifications directly from your wrist without having to get your phone out.

Many apps take full advantage of this convenience, like Tweetbot and Spark, and MacID is no exception. With Tweetbot you can “like” a mention, and with Spark you can mark an email as read. With MacID, you can unlock your Mac and snooze Proximity Wake requests (with more snooze options showing on the Watch than on iOS).

There’s one major difference between the other apps and MacID’s notifications on watchOS, which is that it’s really noticeable when MacID’s notifications don’t work. When you like a mention, you just tap it and assume it’s been liked. When you mark a mail as read, you do it and forget about it. But when you tap “unlock” for MacID, if it doesn’t unlock, it’s immediately apparent it hasn’t worked.

In actual fact, all watchOS notifications suffer from this. This has been a long-running issue since watchOS 2.0, and one that is yet to be fixed by Apple. As developers, there’s not a great deal we can do. The problem is that when you tap on a notification button on your Watch, sometimes the iOS app doesn’t get informed by watchOS; which means that the app doesn’t do anything.

There does seem to be one thing you can do, as the title of this post says, and that’s to wait just a moment longer after the notification appears on-screen on your Watch. Although this is frustrating, it does seem to work much more reliably. Give it a go, and let me know how you get on by tweeting @MacIDHelp.

MacID for OS X Extension – Set Slack Away

Here’s a small AppleScript extension which will set you as away on Slack when your Mac sleeps (if Slack is running):

on slackIsRunning()
  set isRunning to false
  tell application "System Events"
    set isRunning to (name of processes) contains "Slack"
  end tell
  return isRunning
end slackIsRunning

on setAsAway()
  activate application "Slack"
  tell application "System Events"
    tell process "Slack"
      keystroke "/away "
      keystroke {return}
    end tell
  end tell
end setAsAway

if slackIsRunning() then
  setAsAway()
end if

It works best if you drop it into MacID’s “onSleep” directory rather than “onLock”. It’s also worth noting that typing /away  in Slack while you’re away will set you as active, so if you’re already set as away this script will do the opposite!

For more information about extending MacID with AppleScript check this post out.

MacID v1.3.2

Hello! Along with the announcement of MacID for Pebble, I’m pleased to announce MacID v.1.3.2 has just passed review with Apple.

There’s a lot of changes in v1.3.2, I’ve worked long and hard to improve on some stuff you can see and stuff you can’t see. I’ve completely re-worked MacID’s innards, which has not only significantly reduced crashes but also paved the way to make it much easier for me to add new features and fixes in the future.

If you want to be awesome, please review or update your review in the iOS App Store for MacID, unfortunately whenever a new version is released all the old reviews get pushed off the search results ?

Here’s a run down of what’s new in v1.3.2. It’s not a short list!

MacID for iOS

  • Adds support for MacID for Pebble. Visit macid.co/pebble to download MacID for Pebble for free.
  • Adds a pressure sensitive Settings button. Try it out if you have a 6S or 6S Plus!
  • Adds support for Background App Refresh.
  • When Touch ID is disabled in MacID for iOS, opening MacID from a lock screen notification will unlock your Mac straight away without requiring your fingerprint again.
  • If MacID for iOS is in the foreground on two devices when you wake a Mac connected to both, unlocking from one will make the Touch ID prompt automatically disappear on the other (iOS 9 only).
  • If Low Power Mode is enabled, MacID will automatically throttle Bluetooth connections to save power. This will result in slower reaction times but decreased power usage.
  • Adds support for snoozing Proximity Wake for different durations (30 minutes, 1 hour, 6 hours or 1 day).
  • Adds support for only showing “snooze” in the interactive notification when the Mac wakes from Proximity Wake.
  • Minor changes to the Widget to make it fit in better with the Notification Center theme.
  • MacID for iOS now uses the same fancy full-screen diagonal gradients like MacID for OS X.
  • New animation when changing the colour scheme. (also works on MacID for OS X if you have a window open!)
  • Adds an option to completely hide the Widget if no Macs are connected.
  • Adds new options to customise which sounds play for which notifications.
  • Adds option to “unlock all” or “lock all” from home screen 3D Touch shortcuts.
  • Removes some background tasks if no Apple Watch is paired to improve battery usage.
  • Fixes an issue where the Settings “ripple” effect wouldn’t work properly when choosing “Create shortcuts” from a long-touch menu.
  • Removes “swipe to activate buttons” on connected devices to stop accidental disconnections/removals.
  • Clears up unnecessary logging.
  • Fixes the Widget showing the wrong name on German devices.
  • Fixes many background crashes.
  • Fixes an issue where the currently playing song wouldn’t show if a Mac disconnects and reconnects.
  • Significantly improved data send queue system to make it more reliable.
  • URL schemes can now use “macid://” instead of “macid:///”, previously set up URL schemes will continue to work.
  • Fixes an issue where launching the app from a notification wouldn’t ask for authentication if interactive notifications are disabled in settings.
  • Fixes the “welcome” window not being shown for new users.
  • Fixes an issue where the user account image wouldn’t automatically be sent when connecting a new Mac.

MacID for Apple Watch

  • Adds support for snoozing Proximity Wake.
  • Adds support for showing when your iOS battery is charging, low or using Low Power Mode in the MacID Glance.
  • The MacID for Apple Watch Glance is back! And with a fresh new look.
  • Fixes an issue where “Unlock all” wouldn’t honour if unlocking from MacID for Apple Watch is disabled in settings.

MacID for OS X

  • Adds the ability to set keyboard shortcuts for locking and sending clipboard.
  • MacID can now even display the currently playing song if MacID for OS X is launched mid-song.
  • Adds German localization.
  • Updates Sparkle to use the latest version.
  • Completely re-written data send logic to improve communication between devices and prevent crashes.
  • Completely re-written window management to make it quicker for me to add new features in the future.
  • Adds support for using the colour scheme chosen in your primary iOS device. Changing the colour on iOS animates the colour change in any MacID for OS X windows open. Really swish!
  • MacID windows now use the lovely diagonal gradient, just like MacID for iOS the MacID website.
  • Adds support for getting more reliable device name information (rather than it sometimes just showing “iPhone”)
  • Stops the Dock icon briefly appearing and disappearing on app launch.
  • Prevents an issue where the MacID menu items would be greyed out on app launch.
  • Adds support for only showing the snooze button on iOS notifications when the notification is sent due to Proximity Wake.
  • Prevents the auto-lock warning notification not dismissing even if you use the keyboard or mouse.
  • If the password is missing from the keychain, MacID will display the “Save Password” window on launch.
  • Adds the ability to relaunch MacID from the More menu. Useful for quickly fixing Bluetooth connection issues.
  • The Lock Screen menu item now has a nicer, tidier looking icon.
  • RSSI information now shows above the primary iOS device to make it clearer which device MacID is getting the information from.
  • Device menus now show more reliable states, and the primary iOS device now states that it’s primary.
  • Adds the ability to add more than two devices if you so wish, however two is still recommended due to OS X not handling multiple connections particularly well.
  • New progress indicator when sending/receiving large amounts of clipboard text.
  • Fixes a glitchy looking activity indicator window.
  • Windows are now “floating” windows. This means that if you accidentally click away from a MacID window you won’t have to bring up Mission Control to get back to it.
  • If you’re using a Dock icon instead of the Menu Bar icon, the Dock icon will show a “!” if there’s an issue like Bluetooth being turned off or unavailable.
  • MacID now determines that a user is active if the keyboard or mouse has been used in the last 3 seconds, previously it was 5. Doesn’t sound like much, but some people can get away from their Mac sooner than 5 seconds and auto-lock won’t trigger.
  • Brings back the “auto-move” option if MacID is launched anywhere other than the Applications folder. Useful for people who don’t use automatic updates and prefer to use the website.
  • If you have automatic updates disabled, choosing “check for update” will now take you to the website’s update page (like before automatic updates were implemented).
  • MacID lock-screen UI now displays properly if the screen is locked when dismissing a screensaver.
  • MacID also now properly hides it’s lock screen UI if you press escape on the screensaver’s lock screen. Previously it would get stuck on the screen.
  • Adds the ability to change your Tap to Unlock tap pattern without having to first disable Tap to Unlock.
  • Auto-lock menu now shows is an app or process is stopping the screen from sleeping (which disables auto-lock). Unfortunately the Caffeine app uses some way of keeping the screen awake that MacID can’t detect.
  • Fixes an issue where “taps” would get stuck on the screen.
  • Snoozing Proximity Wake from the iOS app will press the escape key so the screen shuts off straight away.
  • Prevents an issue where snooze time remaining could show a long negative number.
  • Proximity Wake now imposes a 5 second delay after screen sleep to stop it triggering as people are walking away.

Phew. Not bad for a x.x.2 update eh? ? The next major release of MacID will be v2, which I’ve already started work on! There are a few apps similar to MacID on the App Store, but few receive as many updates and as much time as MacID does. I use it every day, and because of that I get to see what’s good and what needs changing.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported MacID!

Introducing MacID for Pebble

I’m really pleased to announce that, along-side the release of MacID v1.3.2, MacID for Pebble is now available (for free)!

Here’s a direct link to open the Pebble App Store on your iOS device:  pebble://appstore/5669d5063d27474c94000055

Requirements

MacID for Pebble requires that you’re running MacID for iOS v1.3.2 or newer and that your Pebble is running firmware 3.x or newer (even if it’s Original Pebble).

If you need advice on installing firmware 3.x on your original Pebble, there’s some information here.

Using MacID for Pebble

After installing MacID for Pebble, launch MacID for iOS and enable “Allow unlocking from Pebble” in the settings.

When you launch MacID for Pebble a list of your connected Macs will appear just like on MacID for iOS and MacID for Apple Watch. Scroll using the up and down buttons to choose a connected Mac, and use the select (middle) button to lock or unlock.

That’s not all! Just like MacID for Apple Watch you can control audio. Long-press on the select button to show the audio control screen. You’ll see the current song playing and track controls. Long-press again on the select button and you’ll swap to volume controls!

Unfortunately, notifications aren’t interactive on Pebble (due to restrictions placed by Apple ?), so if your Mac wakes while you have MacID for Pebble open a notification will get in the way. Thankfully there’s a way to improve this. You can disable notifications for MacID on your Pebble, and if your Mac wakes while MacID for Pebble is open you’ll get an in-app notification which you can action. From that in-app notification you can unlock or snooze Proximity Wake.

To disable notifications just for MacID on your Pebble, go into iOS settings and set MacID’s notifications to not show in Notification Centre.

Something to remember

While Pebble do all they can to make it easier for 3rd parties to create apps for Pebble, they can only do what Apple allow them. This creates some limitations, one of which is the lack of interactive notifications on Pebble. Another limitation to keep in mind, is that every iOS app on your phone has to share a single communication session with your Pebble watch. In practice, this can mean that MacID loses it’s control over the session because another app is using it, and the only way to get the session back is to restart the iOS app.

This sucks, and hopefully you won’t have to do this often, but it’s something that is unavoidable.

MacID for Pebble doesn’t have to go through the same review process for updates as MacID for iOS and MacID for Apple Watch, so I can add improvements to it whenever I get time. Let me know what you think using the feedback options in MacID for iOS or MacID for OS X! Enjoy!

Getting MacID Set Up

Setup with MacID has always bee simple. I’ve tried to make sure there are as few steps as possible.

When Bluetooth is working great, setup can be achieved in as little as 10 seconds, but all too often Bluetooth on OS X has some sort of issue. (This is also why Handoff and AirDrop are sometimes flaky.)

I’ll run through the setup procedure first, and then some common fixes for issues while setting up. Continue reading Getting MacID Set Up

Debugging Auto-lock

Auto-lock has always been a feature that works fantastically well for some people, and not so great for others. The main reason for this is signal quality, but it can easily seem like auto-lock doesn’t work.

I’d really recommend reading through Understanding MacID’s Proximity Features, if you haven’t already. That post goes into much more detail about how exactly Auto-lock and Proximity Wake work. Continue reading Debugging Auto-lock

MacID PopClip Extension

It never ceases to amaze me the things people have been doing with MacID.

I was recently asked about adding a PopClip extension for sending selected text to Mac clipboards. This was actually the first time I’d heard of PopClip, and after a quick Google I found out it was a really nifty tool for quickly actioning selected text on OS X.

Just click the MacID icon to send to all connected iOS devices!
Just click the MacID icon to send to all connected iOS devices!

I noticed that you can use URL schemes to create PopClip extensions, and shortly after replying to Yiplee (who suggested the idea via email) to let them know about MacID’s URL schemes, Yiplee created a working PopClip extension for MacID!

You can find the original project on Yiplee’s GitHub, but I’ve also already turned the extension into a working extension. All you have to do is download it and install into PopClip by double clicking. (PopClip will warn that it’s not signed)

Thank you, Yiplee, for introducing me to PopClip and spending the time to create a working extension!

 

 

MacID – more than just a novelty

One of the things that’s easily overlooked is how much time goes into an app. I work on MacID on my own (although have a small army of beta testers, which I am surpremely thankful for), which means that I often work for many hours a day to finish updates and new features.

This isn’t a tale of woe, however. Much the opposite. Since launching MacID in January my life has significantly changed for the better. I’ve met some amazing people, used some amazing technology and also been lucky enough to change careers into something I truly enjoy. (Today is the last day at my old job, coincidentally)

One thing I didn’t anticipate is how much MacID could help other people too. And this is where I find myself the most motivated, more than money or career prospects. Continue reading MacID – more than just a novelty