How To: Get Netflix Picture in Picture Mode on Pre-iOS 9.3.2 Devices

June 14, 2016

After Apple announced Picture in Picture mode for iOS in iOS 9, it has become a extremely useful feature for those who like to multitask as they work on their iOS device. Most entertainment apps finally caught up over the following months by adding PiP support to their apps, however Netflix still didn’t offer this feature, albeit more difficult as they weren’t using the stock iOS video player. This all changed today when Netflix announced their latest app update with the addition of PiP but only for devices running the latest 9.3.2 firmware. Knowing that the PiP APIs were introduced back in 9.0, I decided to take a look and see if this version restriction can be bypassed and it can for anyone running a jailbroken device.
Netflix iOS

If you are running a jailbroken device then following these instructions should enable the feature for you without any issues, however as always follow the instructions carefully and any damage caused is entirely your responsibility. This has only been tested on iOS 9.1, but should work on any 9.x firmware.

  1. Install OpenSSH or MTerminal
  2. Log in or SSH into your iOS device as root (default password is alpine)
  3. If you are planning to keep OpenSSH installed on your device then please change your root password, instructions on how to do so can be found here.
  4. Navigate to the following directory: /System/Library/CoreServices/
  5. If you are using SSH then use your preferred editor to open SystemVersion.plist, I used nano to edit the file.
  6. If you are using MTerminal then you will need to install your preferred editor on Cydia.
  7. Open the file and navigate down to the ProductBuildVersion key and change the string value to 13F72.
  8. Go down to the Product Version key and change the string value to 9.3.2, as shown below.
    Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 20.08.12
  9. Now save and exit out of the editor, uninstall OpenSSH if you don’t plan on using it again. (Note: if you are using Pangu 9.0.x Untether then it will try to uninstall this when using Cydia as it thinks the system version is in fact 9.3.2 and therefore unsupported)
  10. Reboot your device, it will appear as if you have upgraded your device and ask you to log into iCloud, however everything is still in tact and you are still running the original version of the OS.
  11. Ensure you are on the latest version of the Netflix app and choose a title to watch, press the home button and now you should have a PiP view of the title.

PiP Mode on iOS 9.1

 

 


How To: Hack Blackboard to Show Your Grades

June 7, 2016

blackboard-newAlthough Blackboard the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) is known for it’s bugs here and there, one that is either down to user error or an issue with the platform is the My Grades tab disappearing from module shells, this simple hack has come in very useful in the past as it allows you to check your grades as long as they have been published without waiting for the My Grades tab to be enabled. There are valid reasons why this tab will sometimes be hidden, such as marks not being moderated and finalised at board level, depending on the level of education.

To access the My Grades tab for any module it is a simple task of URL manipulation, below is the usual format for the My Grades tab, however do note that it varies based on institution.

https://vle.xxx.ac.uk/webapps/bb-mygrades-bb_bb60/myGrades?course_id=000000_1&stream_name=mygrades&is_stream=false

The two parts that need changing are presented in bold, the first being the institution domain and the second is the course ID, this will be different to the course code but can be found by navigating to the shell for the module you want to get the grades of, you then enter the course ID into the URL and the My Grades page will be shown.

If you know the My Grades tab should be visible, then inform your lecturer of this as it is usually just down to user error that it is not shown at the right time.

 


Starting up blogging again!

December 22, 2015

Having sparsely posted on this blog over the last few years apart from moderating comments and updating release dates, due to my time being invested in studying, I feel like it’s time to pick up blogging again. However this time around, I will probably be moving away from Apple news and hopefully moving back to more useful content, something more original.  I’ll be working on ideas over the Christmas period and hopefully pick up regular blogging in the new year.


Could The iPhone 5S Support 4K Video Recording?

September 10, 2013

4K

With Apple’s unveiling of the much rumored iPhone 5S and budget 5C model coming in less than an hour, an interesting point was brought about by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, that the current iPhone 5 model is capable of 4K at a low fps. There have been a few handsets unveiled over the last week that support 4K video capture so it’s not impossible but just because it’s 4K doesn’t particularly mean that it will be good video, it’s all dependent on the sensor itself and if the iPhone 5S does in fact offer 4K recording then I can only imagine that it will be up to a good standard for Apple to include such a feature.

It’s been heavily rumoured that the sensor in the 5S would be an upgrade from the 5, as with part S models the camera always gets an upgrade. However I believe that if they don’t include this feature on the 5S then it’ll be potentially enabled by the jailbreak community and that Apple may keep it for the iPhone 6.


Starting up blogging again!

July 31, 2013

As with my previous attempts at keeping a full time blog, usually things get in the way. I kept up on this blog for a long time and then took a break from posting, with previous blogs I usually deleted them after some time, however rather than deleting this, or moving to a new blog. I have decided to start blogging regularly again, although less about news and more about different ideas and how to’s about tech. There is a vast array of tech news sites that end up posting the same news as everyone else and I wanted to move away from that and to something more unique, so stay tuned and expect to see a lot more content!


Why the iPad mini isn’t retina

October 28, 2012

After the official Apple event announcing the new iPad mini on the 23rd, a lot of people have been slightly disappointed by the fact that the iPad mini doesn’t come with a retina display. This doesn’t mean that in future there won’t be a retina iPad mini in future but here’s a few reasons as to why Apple may not have decided on a retina ready iPad mini.

First of all and perhaps the biggest issue would have been price, the mini retails at £269 in the UK ($329 in the US) which although is higher than some of the competing tablets in the market, it’s at a low enough price that it appeals to a much wider audience sporting it’s lower price tag. If Apple would have included a retina display this itself would have pushed the price up considerably, making it less accesible to people due to the higher price tag. In a years time, the screens themselves and process of making a retina iPad mini will be cheaper and therefore a much more viable option for Apple.

Due to the screen size being 7.9″, rather than the bigger 9.7″ the resolution of the screen could be lower to have the same DPI (Dots Per Inch) as the current retina iPad and therefore qualify as a retina display. The retina iPad comes with a resolution of 264 DPI compared to that of the mini at 163 DPI. However although it has the same resolution as the iPad 2, it’s actually got a higher DPI due to the smaller screen size; therefore text and images will look sharper on the smaller screen. With the resolution being the same as iPad 2 this means that there is no wait for apps to be made ready for iPad mini, all the apps that work on the iPad and iPad 2 will work out of the box with the iPad mini, making it easier for both developers and consumers.

One of the things that come with the smaller form factor, is a smaller battery. The iPad mini comes with a 16.3W battery, in a single cell design which itself takes up most of the device. If the device were to ship with a retina display it would need a much bigger battery which would mean the device would have to be either thicker, or bigger; which would affect the idea of it being ‘mini’. The mini still manages a 10-hour battery life, which the retina iPad manages with a 42.5W battery. The CPU in the mini is a dual-core, the same as the iPad 2 however the retina iPad comes with a A6X CPU, which is powerful enough to drive the retina screen, the A5 however wouldn’t be able to offer the same experience.

As with all Apple tech, each revision of a product line brings improved specs and I have no doubt that perhaps next year we will see a retina ready iPad mini, the components and technology behind the device will come down in price and hopefully there won’t be too much of a price increase next cycle.


How To: Recalibrate iOS Device Home Button

January 18, 2012

One of the most notable issues over time with iOS device users is that after months of use the home button becomes un-responsive, it affects all iOS devices over time and can affect some more than others, generally based upon the use of the device. One way to fix it would simply to return it to Apple and get a replacement, if your device is still in warranty and they allow you to exchange it. However as it’s a mechanical part they may not replace the device itself.

A simple way that fixes the issue for most people, is something you can do yourself and all you need is your device itself. Following these simple steps will in most cases fix the problem and makes your home button a lot more responsive.

  1. Launch one of the stock iOS applications on your device, for example the settings app.
  2. When the app is open, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button at the top of the device until the ‘Slide To Power Off’ slider appears.
  3. Press and hold the iOS home button. Keep the button pressed until the slider disappears and the application quiet back to the Springboard.
  4. The home button is now re-calibrated and should be a lot more responsive.



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