New Mac Mini Update, Silencing iPhone Sounds & More

Welcome to Ask TUAW, the weekly column where we tackle your queries. Don’t hesitate to drop your questions in the comments below or send them directly to ask [at], or even ping us on Twitter.

Let’s dive into this week’s inquiries! Muhammad wants to know:

Can I configure a mode on my iPhone similar to airplane mode that blocks texts, emails, and notifications but still allows phone calls?

Unfortunately, Muhammad, there isn’t a straightforward setting for your needs. You can, however, manually disable notifications for texts, voicemail, and emails through the Sounds section in Settings. Just remember to reactivate them when you wake up.

Jeff is curious about the future of the Mac mini:

The Mac mini could be so much more powerful. I’ve been waiting for 4 years to upgrade.

I don’t need a large desktop or a laptop; the mini is my only option. Why does Apple neglect this device?

It’s been nearly a year since the last Mac mini release, as noted in the buyer’s guide at Mac Rumors. Apple updates its products periodically, and it might feel slow due to the fast pace of technology news. The mini is ideal for streaming or running a home server, despite not being the most robust Mac available. The next update should be coming in the next few months, so it might be worth the wait.

Ryan asks:

When will Apple release a physical keyboard for the iPad 2?

If you’re expecting a built-in keyboard, that’s unlikely to happen.

The separate keyboard accessory for the original iPad didn’t sell well, which is probably why Apple hasn’t released one specifically for the iPad 2. However, nearly any Bluetooth keyboard will work with the iPad 2. Check out the Zagg keyboard + iPad Case for a compatible option.

Mike has a question about app resolutions:

Why do retina-enabled iPhone apps look terrible on the iPad? The iPad doesn’t seem to use the higher resolution retina graphics, which makes apps look bad when scaled up.

The issue here is that apps are designed for specific screen sizes and user interface elements. What works on an iPhone’s screen doesn’t necessarily translate well to the larger screen of an iPad, regardless of resolution. It’s not about greed; it’s about providing the appropriate user experience on each device.

Frank wonders:

How can I prevent my iPad from going to sleep when I’m using it to follow a recipe?

Easy fix, Frank! Go to Settings, tap General, and then select “auto-lock.” You can adjust the timing or turn it off completely, just remember to manually lock your iPad when you’re done using it.

Thanks for all your questions this week! Remember, we need your questions to keep this column going.

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Brian is a dedicated writer for TUAW, where he shares his insights and expertise on all things Apple. With a deep love for technology, Brian covers a wide range of topics, from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to the intricacies of macOS and Apple Watch features. His clear and engaging writing style makes complex tech topics accessible to all readers. Brian’s enthusiasm for Apple products shines through in every article he writes.