Compatibility with macOS Mojave and iOS 12

In the very near future, Apple are going to release macOS Mojave and iOS 12. Because many of our customers like to upgrade their Macs, iPhones, and iPads as soon as new operating systems become available, we’ve been testing the latest versions of our apps with both new operating systems.

Light Blue 7 and the latest version of our iOS app appear to work well with Apple’s latest operating systems. However, we can never be entirely sure that Apple won’t change something before the release of either operating system, so please read on for the important health warning…

Health warning

As with all major operating system updates, it is a very sensible idea to be cautious about updating all of your computers and mobile devices at the same time. Although our testing of Light Blue 7 and version 4 of our iOS app has been positive so far, there is every chance that Apple could change something that breaks compatibility or that we’ve missed something because we can’t test every conceivable combination of devices and settings.

If you rely on Light Blue to run your business, we would therefore recommend holding off from updating your operating system as soon as the latest versions of macOS and iOS come out. At the very least, if you absolutely must update on day one, make sure that you have at least one computer and iOS device on the ‘old’ operating system until you’ve had a chance to test that all of the features that you depend on are fully functional.

Also, please note that our testing has been has been focussed on the latest versions of our desktop and mobile app. The vast majority of our customers are already using Light Blue 7.1.3 and version 4.2 of our iOS app, and if you’re using older version of either the desktop or mobile app then please update to the latest version to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of all of the new features and bug fixes that we’ve been adding. You can update the desktop app by using the ‘Check for updates’ command (in the ‘Light Blue’ menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the ‘Help’ menu if you’re using it on Windows), and you can update the iOS app via the App Store.

GDPR: advice on securing the devices you use Light Blue on

The introduction of GDPR is a good opportunity to make sure that you’re following best practices when it comes to securing the data that you use to run your business.

Light Blue Software takes extensive precautions to secure every aspect of the online services that we offer, but because Light Blue stores a copy of your data on each of the devices you’ve installed it on (which allows you to use it even if you don’t have a fast internet connection, or are completely offline, and even allows you to use some of Light Blue’s features even if you don’t want to subscribe to our online services) you should also take steps to ensure the security of those devices.

There’s always a tradeoff between convenience and security, but we’ve put together a list of security measures that you should consider. It’s your responsibility to secure your clients’ personal data, but this should give you a starting point if you haven’t already put your own data security policies in place.

Password protect your computers

Password protecting your computers is essential for securing the data on them: not just your clients’ personal data, but everything else you’ve stored on there! Both macOS and Windows have built-in options to require a password when turning the computer on, or waking it from sleep or the screensaver.

If you’re using a computer in a situation where other people are around, it’s sensible to activate the screensaver to lock it whenever you leave your computer. On macOS, I find using a “hot corner” to activate the screensaver really convenient because all I have to do is move the mouse pointer to the top-right corner of the screen to lock it.

If you’re using Light Blue’s iOS app, you should ensure that you’re using  Face ID, Touch ID, or a secure passcode on your iOS devices to prevent unauthorised access.

Use full disk encryption

Password protecting your computers is a good first step, but if someone steals it then they could remove the hard disk or SSD and bypass the operating system’s password protection. This is especially relevant to laptops, which are easily portable and tend to be used in more vulnerable situations than desktop computers.

You can mitigate this threat by using full disk encryption. When you use full disk encryption, the encryption makes the disk unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key.

macOS has an excellent full disk encryption system called FileVault built into it, and on a modern computer that uses an SSD or Fusion Drive it’s incredibly convenient to use. You can find out how to set up FileVault on Apple’s support site.

Not all versions of Windows include a full disk encryption option, but this handy article tells you how to use it and gives you some options if it’s not built into your version of Windows.

If you’re using Light Blue on iOS, your iOS device is already using full disk encryption if you’ve set a passcode lock, or are using Face ID or Touch ID.

Use a strong password for your Light Blue account

Securing your computers is essential, but you should also make sure that your Light Blue account is secured by a strong password to ensure that no unauthorised person can access it.

You can find lots of advice about creating strong passwords online, but the two most important points are:

  • Make your passwords secure. That means making them long (at least 15 characters is a good starting point) and preferably not using a single word that’s in the dictionary.
  • Never reuse passwords for different accounts! This is a very common mistake, and means that if someone gets hold of a password for one service then they can try to use that password to access your account on a variety of other services. For example, if you use the same password on your Netflix and email accounts, giving someone your Netflix password means that they can access your email and do any number of Very Bad Things.

We strongly advise using a password manager, which is a piece of software that makes it much easier to use strong passwords. The excellent 1Password is highly regarded by security experts, and is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.

You can update your Light Blue account password here. If you change your Light Blue account password, remember to enter the new password into Light Blue!

Consider turning on Light Blue’s password protection feature

The other tips on this page will help you to secure your devices and Light Blue account. You can also make Light Blue require a password when you launch it. To turn this option on:

  1. Set up at least one member of staff in the ‘Resources’ section of Light Blue’s preferences window, and set a password for them.
  2. Turn on the ‘Show User Login Dialog When Launching Light Blue’ option in the ‘General Preferences’ section of Light Blue’s preferences window.

Light Blue for iOS, version 3.4

We’ve just released a minor update to our iOS app, which fixes a problem that could make it hard to preview the text of a contract.

If your iOS devices aren’t set to automatically install app updates, you can manually update your copy of our app by going into the App Store app on each of your devices.

Compatibility with macOS High Sierra and iOS 11

In the very near future, Apple are going to release macOS High Sierra and iOS 11. Because many of our customers like to upgrade their Macs, iPhones, and iPads as soon as new operating systems become available, we’ve been testing the latest versions of our apps with both new operating systems.

Light Blue 6 and the latest version of our iOS app appear to work well with Apple’s latest operating systems. However, we can never be entirely sure that Apple won’t change something before the release of either operating system, so please read on for the important health warning…

Health warning

As with all major operating system updates, it is a very sensible idea to be cautious about updating all of your computers and mobile devices at the same time. Although our testing of Light Blue 6 and version 3 of our iOS app has been positive so far, there is every chance that Apple could change something that breaks compatibility or that we’ve missed something because we can’t test every conceivable combination of devices and settings.

If you rely on Light Blue to run your business, we would therefore recommend holding off from updating your operating system as soon as the latest versions of macOS and iOS come out. At the very least, if you absolutely must update on day one, make sure that you have at least one computer and iOS device on the ‘old’ operating system until you’ve had a chance to test that all of the features that you depend on are fully functional.

Also, please note that our testing has been has been focussed on the latest versions of our desktop and mobile app. The vast majority of our customers are already using Light Blue 6.2.3 and version 3.3 of our iOS app, and if you’re using older version of either the desktop or mobile app then please update to the latest version to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of all of the new features and bug fixes that we’ve been adding. You can update the desktop app by using the ‘Check for updates’ command (in the ‘Light Blue’ menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the ‘Help’ menu if you’re using it on Windows), and you can update the iOS app via the App Store.

Compatibility with macOS Sierra and iOS 10

In a couple of weeks, Apple are going to be releasing macOS Sierra (yes, they really have stopped called it “Mac OS X”) and iOS 10. Because many of our customers like to upgrade their Macs, iPhones, and iPads as soon as new operating systems become available, we’ve been testing the latest versions of our apps with both new operating systems.

The good news is that Light Blue 6.1.2 seems to work well with macOS Sierra, and our new iOS app appears to be working well with iOS 10. However, we can never be entirely sure that Apple won’t change something before the release of either operating system, so please read on for the important health warning…

Health warning

As with all major operating system updates, it is a very sensible idea to be cautious about updating all of your computers and mobile devices at the same time. Although our testing of Light Blue 6 and version 3 of our iOS app has been positive so far, there is every chance that Apple could change something that breaks compatibility or that we’ve missed something because we can’t test every conceivable combination of devices and settings.

If you rely on Light Blue to run your business, we would therefore recommend holding off from updating your operating system as soon as the latest versions of macOS and iOS come out. At the very least, if you absolutely must update on day one, make sure that you have at least one computer and iOS device on the ‘old’ operating system until you’ve had a chance to test that all of the features that you depend on are fully functional.

Also, please note that our testing has been has been focussed on the latest versions of our desktop and mobile app. The vast majority of our customers are already using Light Blue 6.1.2 and version 3 of our iOS app, and if you’re using older version of either the desktop or mobile app then please update to the latest version to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of all of the new features and bug fixes that we’ve been adding. You can update the desktop app by using the ‘Check for updates’ command (in the ‘Light Blue’ menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the ‘Help’ menu if you’re using it on Windows), and you can update the iOS app via the App Store.

Light Blue for iOS, version 3.0

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We’re pleased to announce a major update to our iOS app, Light Blue for iOS 3.0, which brings huge improvements to Light Blue for iPhone and iPad users.

Helping you to run your photography business on the go

Version 3 of our mobile app has been rewritten to be faster, easier to use, and bring across some of the most popular features from the Mac OS X and Windows versions of Light Blue. The feedback from our beta testers has been excellent, and we’re very happy to be able to give all of our customers access to the new app today.

As well as a comprehensive redesign, one of the major improvements in the new app is that it syncs your data without interrupting your ability to use the app. This means that, if you need to look something up quickly, you can just dip into the app and do so without having to wait for it to finish syncing your latest changes. It also means that, as soon as you make any changes, they’re synced straight back up to your Light Blue account without you having to remember to manually trigger a sync.

Of course, syncing the app with your account requires an internet connection, but connectivity can be hard to come by when you’re out on a shoot or at a meeting. The beauty of Light Blue being an app rather than a service that you use via a website is that all of your data is stored on your iPhone or iPad, and that you can carry on using it even when you don’t have an internet connection or find yourself with poor data coverage. Any changes that you make while you’re offline are saved locally, and when you get back into mobile or wifi coverage then you can just launch the app again to sync any changes you made while you were offline up to your account.

Our new mobile app includes many new and improved features, but here’s a quick overview of some of the most important additions.

Calendar

Adding a calendar view was one of the most popular feature requests for our mobile app, and this update includes a really helpful one. The calendar gives you a great overview of your bookings and enquiries, and brings over all of the colour-coding of events that you set up in the desktop version of Light Blue so you can quickly see what kind of bookings you’ve got on any given day.

You can also add events directly to the calendar, which makes it easy to search through your diary for an available date and book new enquiries in when you’re out of the office.

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Task manager

Light Blue’s task manager is now available in our mobile app, allowing you to keep on top of your to-do list when you’re out and about. You can also schedule in new tasks (including using workflows to quickly add a whole series of tasks to a shoot), so if inspiration strikes when you’re out and about then you can quickly set up reminders from within the app.

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Contracts & forms

One of Light Blue’s most popular features is our online contract & booking form system, and our new mobile app lets you publish contracts and forms from your iPhone or iPad. You can have these contracts & forms emailed to your client, just like you do from the desktop app, or you can open them up right there on your device.

So, if you’re at a meeting with a client and they decide to book you, you can add one of your contract templates to that client’s shoot, open up the published contract on your iPad, and hand it over to your client so that they can sign it right there and then. Our beta testers tell us that doing this with the Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro is particularly impressive in client meetings.

Because our online contracts and forms are hosted on our servers, you’ll need an internet connection to be able to use these features in our mobile app.

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Publishing invoices

Our new app can also make use of Light Blue’s online invoice payment service, so you can create invoices in the app and send them to your client for payment online.

This great feature allows you invoice a client for a job as soon as you’ve finished it, maybe even before you’ve left the location. You’ve got access to all of the price lists that you’ve set up in the desktop app, so it’s quick and easy to build an invoice without having to go back into the office.

Inbox

Light Blue’s Inbox is used to turn messages you’ve received from your contact form into a new enquiry, accept signed contracts, and process payments that have been made online. All of these features have been brought over to our new mobile app, which allows you to handle even more of your admin quickly and easily while you’re on the road.

For example, if you’ve got your contact form set up to send new messages to your Light Blue account, you can use the Inbox on your iPhone to create a new Shoot record when a new enquiry comes in. You can then use one of the email templates that you’ve set up in the desktop version of Light Blue to quickly respond to your prospective client by creating a new email in Apple’s Mail app.

One feature that we haven’t been able to bring across from the desktop app’s Inbox is importing emails, because iOS apps are tightly controlled and isolated from each other and therefore we can’t import emails from the Mail app. However, we’re working on plans that might eventually allow us to add this feature in a future update.

And much more…

These are just a few of the most important improvements that we’ve made in our new iOS app. You can find out more, and see it in action, in some of the new video tutorials that we’ve recorded:

We’ll also be going into more detail in our webinars. You can find a list of our forthcoming webinars, plus recordings of previous ones, in the Help section of our website.

How to get it

Our new iOS app is available to all of our subscribers via the App Store. You can either use this link to go straight to the app, or search for it by its full name: “Light Blue – business management software for photographers”. If you already have the old app installed, you can upgrade to the new version via the App Store (or if you’ve turned on automatic updates, it might already have been upgraded for you!).

The app is a free download from the App Store, but requires a subscription to our online services. Each iPhone and iPad you connect to your Light Blue account counts towards the number of devices on your account. For example, if you want to use Light Blue on a desktop computer, a laptop, an iPhone, and an iPad, that’s a total of four devices so you’ll need to be on our plan that allows you to use up to five devices on your account.

You can upgrade your subscription to add more devices by logging into your account on our website and using the “change your number of devices” link.

What about Android?

Although most of our customers seem to prefer using iPhones and iPads, we’re very keen to make Light Blue available on as many mobile devices as possible.

Previously, it’s been very hard for a small team like ours to produce apps for Android as well as iOS. However, one of the main reasons why we’ve undertaken this huge project to rewrite our iOS app is because we wanted to lay the groundwork for making Light Blue available on Android.

You can read more about our plans for Android in this blog post.

Bringing Light Blue to Android

Although most of our customers seem to prefer using iPhones and iPads, we’re very keen to make Light Blue available on as many mobile devices as possible. Currently, it’s only available on iOS, but we are planning to bring Light Blue to Android.

Our original iOS app was written by a team of external developers and, although it had some useful features, both us and our customers had a long list of frustrations with it.

One of our key frustrations was that the app was written in a way that would make it hard to bring it to Android. Android development is already more problematic than building iOS apps for a number of reasons, including the wide variety of devices that it runs on, the fact that many of those devices aren’t able to be upgraded to the latest versions of Android, and that we weren’t able to reuse any of the code that we’d built for our Mac OS X, Windows, or iOS apps. For a small team like ours, we have to concentrate our resources on building features that benefit the majority of our customers, and that meant prioritising iOS ahead of Android because Android development was so much more difficult for us.

Our new iOS app has been developed entirely in-house, and rewritten from the ground up. This has allowed us to rebuild it in a way that should make it more feasible for us to build an Android app that shares many of the same features. Once we’ve finished launching our new iOS app and the forthcoming Light Blue 7 desktop app, we’re hoping to be able to start working on bringing our mobile app to Android.

As always, we can’t make any promises about future features, including release dates. Building our new iOS app was a huge project, and bringing it to Android is going to be an even bigger challenge. There’s a lot that can go wrong with a project like this, and we’re going to be dependent on a lot of factors that are outside our control.

However, we want to remind our Android-using customers that they’re important to us, and that we’re keen to make sure that you’ll be able to access Light Blue via your mobile devices. We’re working hard towards that goal, and our new iOS app is a big step towards that.