You have some tech questions, I have some answers. Every Friday, I try to resolve these mysteries, succinctly and in plain language. Please send questions to walt@recode.net. Note that I won’t be able to diagnose your personal tech glitches and problems. I also reserve the right to edit questions for length or clarity, and to combine similar inquiries.

Q. I read your review of the iStick USB thumb drive for iPhones and iPads. Is there anything similar for Android devices?

A. Yes. There are some thumb drives that have a standard USB port on one end, for use with a computer, and a micro-USB drive on the other, for use with Android phones and tablets. One example is the Sandisk Ultra Dual USB Drive. Another is the Imation 2-in-1 Micro USB Flash Drive. However, unlike iPhones and iPads, many Android devices come with a built-in option for accepting an external storage device which can be loaded up with files from a PC, and vice versa. It’s the microSD card slot. So, the need for a thumb drive is much less for Android users than for Apple users.

Q. My iPhone 5s suddenly won’t let me rotate a photo from portrait to landscape mode. How can I restore the rotation function?

iOS 7 Control Center

iOS 7 Control Center

A. It could be something serious, but I have found this is often due to an inadvertent tap in one of the iPhone’s newer features, the Control Center. This is a translucent sheet that offers quick access to common settings. You make it appear by simply swiping up from the bottom of the phone on any screen. The button on the upper right of this panel is easy to tap by mistake, and it controls something called “screen-orientation lock,” which keeps the screen in portrait or landscape mode, and prevents rotation. I suggest you swipe Control Center up and see if you have accidentally locked the screen in portrait mode. If so, one tap will restore rotation.

Q. Do you know if Apple has any plans to extend its new Continuity features, especially calling and texting from a laptop via your iPhone, to Windows PCs? Or are they just trying to sell more Macs?

A. They are just trying to sell more Macs, at least for now. I know of no plans to extend any of the Continuity features, which merge some phone functions into the Mac, to Windows. Apple is secretive, so there’s always a chance, but I believe Continuity is designed to tempt people to make all their devices Apple devices. While the iPhone and iPad are now Apple’s principal products, the Mac is still important to Apple.




3 comments
john02
john02

> I read your review of the iStick USB thumb drive for iPhones and iPads. Is there anything similar for Android devices?

Woah, seriously?

Android devices have always been superior to iOS devices in this area.  A friend of mine  bought herself a $5 OTG cable and a $30 64gb thumb drive, and now she has all the movies she could want on her flights. 

It's that easy, and that inexpensive, to do this on android.  Just look at the ridiculous prices on that kickstarter, possibly (?) made necessary by apple's licensing of that port, and definitely made necessary by apple's use of a non-standard connector.

Plus,  no need to carry a bulkier, energy-drinking BT drive or similar.  And no need for that stupid kickstarter project designed to de-cripple iOS devices.

mkhan
mkhan

I would also recommend meenova: http://www.meenova.com/ which is a micro SD reader thumbdrive for your Android device. I have been using it for a while and like it a lot. Its nice and small and you can easily use your device while its plugged in.

john02
john02

@mkhan   I love that this is a usb-to-SD reader, rather than simply a USB thumb drive.  It gives you even greater flexibility!  That's great.  Both options come basically for free on android  ($5 OTG cable) since android hardware usually uses standard usb ports.  

Even with that insanely expensive kickstarter project, you *still* can't use SD cards with iOS devices.