fixed : best iPhone-app for DHL, UPS and PostNL track-and-trace in The Netherlands

Question :

I live in The Netherlands and on my iPhone, I want to trace packages that will be delivered to me shortly.

The PostNL.app works perfectly, but it’s for PostNL shipments only…

The UPS.app works perfectly too (despite the privacy agreement is a little awkward), but it’s for UPS shipments only…

There are various apps in the Apps Store for DHL shipments, but none of them work for The Netherlands…

I’ve tried the iPhone-apps by Deliveries, ParcelTrack and 17track, but even though they are advertised as ‘perfect solutions’ in most countries, they fail for at least one of the main delivery services in The Netherlands…

Isn’t there any iOS-app that can track all mayor post & parcel delivery services like PostNL, UPS, DHL, GLS and TNT in The Netherlands ?

 

Answer :

Yes there is… but there’s only one : AfterShip.app [click to download]

…and it’s not perfect yet, it still needs a little more do-it-yourself than advertised :

  • the Auto Detect function doesn’t always select the proper delivery service, nor does it always include the proper delivery service in it’s short list of options, so (especially for DHL deliveries) you must always double-check the exact delivery service from your shipment confirmation eMail
  • there’s only one Title (or Description) field you can add to your Shipment-entry, so if you want to include both Sender and Content description (as you can in most other Track&Trace apps) you will have to combine those into only one line of info
  • the Edit option only allows you to edit the Title (a.k.a. Description) of your Shipment-entry, so… if you’ve erratically chosen (or guessed) the wrong delivery service, you will not be able to edit or correct it… you will have to delete the entire Shipment-entry and create/add a new, corrected one entirely…

But apart from that… it’s FREE and once you have picked the delivery services correctly, it works as expected ! (and that’s far better than any other Track&Trace app)

There are a few things to know :

  • TNT-shipments from Amazon UK and Amazon DE to The Netherlands : if your online Amazon account info lists TNT (or “TNT (Netherlands)”) as the delivery service, the actual shipment will be done by PostNL, so you’ll need to choose “PostNL Domestic” as the delivery service ; if in the “Verzendbevestiging” you have received through eMail, the fine print says “Je items worden verzonden door Post NL Pakketten.” the actual shipment will expedited be by PostNL Domestic, even if your online Amazon-shipment-info says something else !
  • DHL-shipments from Amazon DE to The Netherlands : if your online Amazon DE account info lists DHL (or “DHNL”) as the delivery service, this will NOT be DHL Express or DHL Benelux (the ones suggested by AfterShip.app), this will usually be shipped using DHL Parcel NL ; in the “Verzendbevestiging” you have received though eMail, the fine print says “Je items worden verzonden door DHL NL Pakketten.” the actual shipment will be expedited by DHL Parcel NL, even if your online Amazon-shipment-info says something else !
  • DHL-shipments from Dutch resellers to addresses within The Netherlands will be usually expedited by “DHL Benelux” (and NOT by “DHL Express” or any other DHL branch)

enjoy !

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fixed : spinning beachball on extremely slow MacBook Pro from 2012

Question :

I have a MacBook Pro from 2012 (maybe 2011) and it has gotten slower and slower each year, and now it’s even so slow that I constantly shows a spinning rainbow-ball and apps keep bouncing in the Dock : everything from opening apps to opening files takes forever… the response time to what I type on the keyboard is extremely slow… even though I am sure I haven’t even used 50% of my hard disk space…

What can I do to resolve this ?

 

Answer :

If you have a MacBook Pro ‘late 2011’ or ‘mid 2012’, and you have never upgraded the RAM, your MacBook may only have 4GB of RAM. Compared to current standards, that’s very little… especially if you are running macOS 10.13 High_Sierra or newer (macOS 10.14 Mojave will not run on the ‘late 2011’ model, only on the ‘mid 2012’ model).

There are various possible causes for your Mac running slow, to name a few :

  1. your hard drive is too full (not in your case as you stated, but still worth mentioning)
  2. you have too many processes running at once, so you’re short on RAM
  3. over time some things have gotten messed up on your Mac

So, start tackling these potential problems one-by-one :

  1. check your free hard drive space and free it up if needed :
    • go to the Apple-icon (top-left in the main menu bar)
    • from the pulldown-menu choose About This Mac
    • in the window that opens, click on the Storage tab
    • an info bar shows up :
      • if you have more than 25% of space available, you’re okay
      • if you have less than 10% of space available, you should free up space as soon as possible
    • to free up space on your hard disk, you can :
      • move files you do not use regularly to an external drive
      • delete apps you never use (apps from the Mac App Store you can delete, since you can re-download them if you need them in the near future ; other apps you should backup to an external drive if you want to be sure you will be able to re-install them in the future)
      • click on the Manage-button in the window you were in (About this Mac -> Storage) and follow the suggestions to free up space on your internal hard disk
  2. check your available RAM and shut down background processes :
    • go to the Apple-icon (top-left in the main menu-bar)
    • from the pulldown-menu choose About This Mac
    • in the window that opens, click on the Memory tab
    • if you only have 4GB of RAM, it would be a good idea to upgrade your RAM (but if you do not use your MacBook intensively or intent to buy a new one within about a year, it’s not a very cost efficient solution, so you can choose not to)
    • if you want to upgrade your RAM, you could ask your local Apple-dealer to do so for you, or you could do it yourself if you are a little tech savvy and have the right tools :
      • for a Late 2011 MacBook Pro you need PC-10600 (1333 MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMM, either 2x4GB or 2x8GB
      • for a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro you need PC3-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMM, either 2x4GB or 2x8GB
    • whether you upgrade your RAM or not, you should also open the Activity Monitor app (that is in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder)
    • in the window that opens, you can see which apps and background processes take up the available RAM capacity
    • if you encounter any app in top-10 of the list that is either running slow or that you don’t need, you can Force Quit the app by selecting it from the list and then clicking on the 8-sided-X-marked-button top-left ( NOTE : only do this with apps you know, do not do this to processes from the list that you do not recognize, or of which you do not exactly know of what they do… it’s far safer to keep one process too much running than one process too little ! )
    • then, go to the Apple-icon (top-left in the main menu-bar)
    • from the pulldown-menu choose System Preferences
    • in the window that opens, click on Users&Groups
    • in the window that opens, click on the current user in the list on the left
    • then click the Login Items tab
    • there, make sure to only leave iTunesHelper there, so delete all other background-apps listed by selecting them from the list and clicking on the Minus-button bottom-middle ( NOTE : background-apps that are known to slow down your Mac extremely if you have little RAM are SpotifyHelper and Dropbox (DropboxHelper), so make sure you delete both of them if you are not planning on using Spotify or Dropbox regularly )
    • then restart your MacBook Pro ( go to the Apple-icon top-left and select Restart from the pulldown-menu )
    • after the restart, check to see if the background-app you had just deleted are really gone from the Login Items list, if they haven’t, delete them again, restart & check again
  3. if your Mac is still slow after doing all of the above, reset the PRAM/NVRAM/SMC by doing the following :
    • disconnect all cables from your MacBook Pro ( also disconnect from all USB-devices )
    • restart your MacBook Pro ( go to the Apple-icon top-left and select Restart from the pulldown-menu ) to ‘zap the PRAM’ :
    • when the screen goes black, immediately press this key-combo on your keyboard : [P] + [R] + [ALT] + [CMD] and hold all of them until you hear the second startup chime (sound), then release
    • then also ‘reset the SMC (Software Management Controller)’ :
    • make sure your MacBook Pro’s power adapter is disconnected
    • restart your MacBook Pro ( go to the Apple-icon top-left and select Restart from the pulldown-menu )
    • when the screen goes black, immediately press this key-combo on your keyboard : [SHIFT-left] + [ALT-left] + [CMD-left] and press the [POWER]-button at the same time for 10 seconds or more, then release
    • then press the [POWER]-button again to start-up your MacBook Pro

That should do it !

enjoy 😉

info : comparison of lightning-splitters

Question :

I would like to use two lightning-connections on my new iPhone that only has one lightning-connector. Are the available lightning-splitters any good ?

 

Answer :

Yes and No.

Yes, if you only want to use a pair of wired headphones and charge your iPhone at the same time, all lightning-splitters I’ve tested are up to the job. And if you have a USB-headphone (or a mini-jack-to-USB-adapter) you could even use the Apple Lightning Camera Connector.

But if you want to connect anything else, the lightning-splitters that I’ve found won’t do the job… even the ones that claim to support data syncing didn’t support in iOS 12 in my testing…

So, for now it’s only power&audio-splitters…

Here‘s an in-depth comparison [open attached file] of the lightning-splitters I’ve tested :

Apple Lightning Camera Connector

Auswar Lightning Audio Splitter

Beyeah Lightning Audio Splitter Argent

Beyeah Dual Lightning Splitter

PowerBear Dual Lightning Splitter

Arotao Dual Audio & Charge Adapter

 

My recommendations would be :

  • if you want a mini-jack-adapter for your headphone : get the Auswar Lightning Audio Splitter
  • if you want data-transfer : get the Apple Lightning Camera Connector

fixed : how to take a screenshot on an iPhone X / XS / XR ?

Question :

Whenever I wanted to take a screenshot of my iPhone’s screen, I used to press the Home-button and the ON/OFF-button simultaneously, and I would have my screenshot. Since I now have a new iPhone without the physical Home-button, I can no longer do that… but I haven’t figured out how to take screenshots now…

What should I do ?

 

Answer :

On the new iPhones that no longer have a Home-button, like the iPhone X / XS / XS Max / XR, the buttons to press to get a screenshot have slightly changed :

press the ON/OFF-button (right) and the VolumeUp-button (left) simultaneously for more than a second, and you’ll hear the ‘camera-shutter-sound’ and see the screen flash ; this means the screenshot has been taken and you’ll see it appear in reduced size bottom-left on your screen… and it will be placed in your Photos.app

That’s it 😉

enjoy !

fixed : make old iPhone ready for clean install

Question :

I have just upgraded to a new iPhone, so now I want to pass on my previous iPhone to my child. What is the best way to do get this olde iPhone ready to transfer his/her data onto it ?

 

Answer :

Over time, little things inside iOS get buggy or corrupted… especially each time you transfer your data and settings directly to a new iPhone and/or iOS version. If you upgrade your iPhone’s version of iOS onto a new one without doing a clean install, which requires you to erase all data from your device, buggy data and settings get copied over also…

So… every once in a while you should do a clean install, especially if you run into weird and inexplainable buggy behavior of your iPhone.

FYI :

  • If you do a regular iOS upgrade or update, all system info is copied over, so that won’t get rid of most of the problems
  • If you backup to iCloud, only personal data, settings and game progress are preserved, so bugs and corruptions get some chance of being solved, especially if you take the time to do a complete reinstall of iOS from the online AppStore (i.e. a Clean Install)
  • If you restore iOS from a personal backup (like an iPhone backup in your personal iTunes-backup registry), you also run the risk of reinstalling the bugs & errors that had been in your iPhone’s iOS when you last backed-up

so… use the following procedure to make sure you get the least possibility of reintroducing old bugs :

  • turn on your receiver iPhone (the newer one that is going to be used in the future) and open the Settings app
  • click on the owner’s name (with the text “Apple ID, iCoud, iTunes & App Store” below it)
  • click on iCloud
  • click on iCloud Backup
  • click on Back Up Now and a fresh backup of your personal data, your app settings and your Game Center game progress will be synced with iCloud
  • now wait for the iCloud syncing process to complete
  • now do the same on the donor iPhone (the older one that is going to be abandoned)
  • open the Settings app
  • click on the owner’s name (with the text “Apple ID, iCoud, iTunes & App Store” below it)
  • click on iCloud
  • click on iCloud Backup
  • click on Back Up Now and wait for the iCloud syncing process to complete
  • then go back to the receiver iPhone (the newer one that is going to be used in the future)
  • connect the receiver iPhone to a Mac (or Windows-PC) using an USB-cable
  • open iTunes
  • make sure you see your iPhone listed in the sidebar
  • then click on the small iPhone-icon (in the lower top bar ; left of the buttons for Library, For You, Browse, Radio & Store ; and just right of the Music/Films/… -button)
  • now a dedicated iTunes -page opens for the iPhone
  • make sure that “Summary” is selected in the left menu bar
  • then click on the “restore iPhone…”-button
  • then wait for the reinstallation to finish
  • the iPhone is now being erased and reinstalled
  • this reinstall takes extra time, compared to a traditional iOS-upgrade
  • when finished, you have performed what is usually called a ‘Clean Install’
  • now follow the on-screen instructions
  • when you can, enter your iCloud username & password to enable downloading your data & settings from your iCloud-backup
  • needless to say, apps will be restored from the official apps located in iCloud, or rather : the Online iTunes App Store, so the apps will all be restored perfectly, without bugs or buggy behavior

That’s it !

enjoy 😉