“Dad, can I invite Sabah to our barbeque?” my daughter politely asks as she bats her beautiful eyelashes. Her question halts me in my tracks for a moment, as I quickly think about how much food we have stockpiled for the event. Thankfully I had my iPhone in my pocket, so I quickly checked the number of people my recipes were going to be able to feed. “Sure.” I say confidently, since we had more than enough and Sabah is her best friend. Day saved!

So, as we scramble to get ready for our country’s Independence Day, I wanted to remind you that you have some of the most advanced equipment on your desk or in your pocket. Your Mac and iPhone can help you save the day, or at the very least make it a good one. Let’s start with your Mac.

Despite whether or not you’re hosting the event, you’re going to need to know the current traffic conditions. As a good host it would be nice to say, “Hey Les, I just wanted to let you know that (fill in route or Interstate #) projects serious delays, but (fill in side road) appears to have none.”

I can hear you now, “That sounds great Justin, but how do I do that?” I’m glad that you asked. Please open up the Maps application and type in your start and end addresses. Once you have those in, take your pointer and head all the way up to the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner. Now pan over to the right till you see the word View and give it a click. Scroll down to Show Traffic. Now you should see orange or red dotted lines running down the roads. Of course red is worse than orange, so it is to be expected that the roads with red lines are more congested than those with orange. In addition, Apple has nicely put in four ways to tell if traffic is going to be slow or even dangerous. The four ways are the four icons that display if either a crash occurred, road work is being done, a road has been closed, or a simple general alert has popped up.

Here are what the icons look like:

In respective order: Crash, Roadwork, Closed road, General alert


Finally, once you have all this information you can send it to your friend or family member simply by clicking the Send button next to the search field. (It's located in the center at the top of the Maps window.)

You can do all of this with your iPhone as well, but finding out the traffic on a certain road, is a little easier because Siri can do the work for you. Simply hold the Home button and say, “Siri, what is the traffic like on (insert road).” If your iPhone is locked she will ask for you to input your code, but other than that she will quickly scour the information regarding said street, and bring up the Maps app to show you the conditions. Again, you can send the information to your friend or family member by tapping the Send icon in the upper right-hand corner.


Alright, now that we have traffic covered, I want to quickly go over a nice way to keep your eyes on the road if you happen to be the one driving to the event. If for some reason you are riding solo please use Siri to turn on your tunes, make calls, get directions, or respond to a text. (I recommend that you not text while driving, since it really can wait.) Instead, hold down the Home button (you can do this without taking your eyes off the road) and when you hear Siri’s signature beep, ask her to dial (insert name of person). It is safer to talk with someone then trying to text them (don’t be a statistic). That said, if you simply must text, have Siri do it for you. You can do this by holding the Home button, and after Siri’s signature beep, you can say, “Siri, text (insert person’s name). Siri will say “Ok, what do you want to say to (person’s name)?” Again, I’m not condoning that you do this, but if just have to, then maybe maybe Siri can save you from taking yourself out, or worse yet, hurting someone else who may have a child in the car.(Please just have Siri make the call for you.)


Ok, back to saving the day! Your iPhone can help you make your party a great one because of all the cool apps that can installed. Here are a few that I use all the time:

Kitchen duties:

Thyme (It will help you keep track of multiple burners on the stove.)

Kitchen Stories (It has awesome recipes with photos and videos to help you make the dish that everyone wil be talking about)

Jamie Oliver’s Recipes (This celeb chef has nearly all the foods that I love to eat. Fresh, delectable, and vibrant food that has its own shopping list built in for each dish.)

DJ Duties:

Apple Music (All the music you can think of in the palm of your hands. Need I say more?)

Airfoil (This allows you take tunes that you are playing from your Mac and put them on your iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, speakers hooked up to your Apple Express, or any other nearby Mac or PC, all at the same time. To do this you will need to pay and download Airfoil from their website: Link Then, download Airfoil Speakers from your iPhone’s App Store. Last, make sure that all devices are on the same wifi (Airfoil on your Mac will see the devices) and then click the music note to the right of the device. Enjoy!

Photographer Duties:

iPhone camera (It takes great pics and if you have iCloud setup then the pics go straight to Photos in on your iCloud. In addition, it takes stunning video for those fun moments that you want to relive over and over.)

Lenka (For those beautiful black and white photos I would recommed Lenka everytime. Just try it out to see why I recommend it so much.)


Bartender duties:

Liquor Cabinet (This app helps you make those mixed drinks to perfection.)

Highball (This app is just as good as the one above but goes about displaying the drinks and ingredients in a different way.)

IntelliDrink (This app calculates Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and will notify you or your friend that they should be close to being sober again.


That’s it Methodical Mac readers. Remember to have a fun and safe 4th of July. Take care.

Oh, below are all the apps that I talked about in the article.  I am affiliated with iTunes but only because I don't want to put ads on my site. So, if you like one of the apps and happen to buy it Apple will give me a small cut. Thanks for being a Methodical Mac reader nonetheless.