Have you ever wanted to have a smart digital photo frame that managed itself?
One that was always up-to-date with your latest shots and could change it’s playlist constantly so that it was always showing the best, most contextually relevant, photos and videos? And it could do all this without you having to do any work other than take the pictures?
Have you recently got a new iPad or iPhone and wondered what you were going to do with the old one? If so, Fireside might be a perfect solution for you.
Fireside creates smart auto-curated streams of the photos and videos you have in your favorite cloud storage service (Google Photos, Dropbox, etc). We call them channels, and they make enjoying and sharing your photos and videos really easy. This post will show you how to turn an iPad or iPhone into a dedicated SmartFrame that will intelligently play your photos and videos 24/7 using the Fireside web app.
Before getting started, you need to first check that your iPad or iPhone has 1GB of RAM. Generally speaking this means that 1st and 2nd generation iPads and iPhones before the iPhone 5 will not work. Wikipedia has a great list of devices and specs for iPad and iPhone. Also, you will need to have a decent broadband connection and WiFi since Fireside is a streaming solution.
Put the Fireside app on your homescreen
Once you have signed up for Fireside, open Safari on your iPad or iPhone and type in the app url.
The Fireside web app will load and you will be asked for a username and password. There is no need to sign in on this page. Instead, touch the share icon (the rectangle with an arrow pointing up) in the top right corner of Safari.
Now, select “Add to Home Screen” and you will see the Fireside logo and name appear as below. Touch Add to confirm you want to add the app to your home screen.
Now, you will see a Fireside app icon on your home screen just like any other iPad or iPhone app.
Clicking the app icon will launch the Fireside app, but before we do that there are a few more things we need to do.
Put your iPad or iPhone on a stand and plug it in
Now that your photos and videos have a dedicated screen and you have a smart app to keep it updated, you need to think about where you want to put your screen. Whether you’re planning to put it on a shelf, table, desk or mantle, a well designed stand can make a big difference. Here’s a guide to some of the best iPad stands.
If you’re looking for something smaller, maybe a place to put your iPhone on your desk while you work, here’s a great resource for iPhone docks and stands.
Some stands have built-in power, though these are usually for portrait only orientation and you may prefer to have your iPad or iPhone in landscape since pictures and videos are more often taken this way.
Either way, all you need to do is plug in your device and you’re ready for the last few configuration details.
Disable the screen lock and turn off the volume
Unlike regular iOS apps, a web app can’t keep your screen from going to sleep by itself. Fortunately, fixing this is very easy for iPad and iPhone.
Touch the Settings icon on your home screen and then choose Lock / Unlock and change it to Never. That’s it. Your iPad or iPhone is now ready to have Fireside show you pictures and videos 24/7. Just remember to keep the power on or you’ll run out of battery.
One final setting to make is to set your iPad or iPhone volume to mute. This is usually a physical switch on the side of your iPad or iPhone next to the volume buttons. Users in our beta group said they preferred to have videos muted as the default, but to have the option to turn it on when they wanted to. When the sound is off, Fireside is perfect background or visual ambience. When you turn the sound on, Fireside becomes foreground. You can decide what works best for you.
Launch the Fireside app and leave it running
Finally, all you need to do now is to click the Fireside icon on your home screen to launch the app. The first time you run the app it will ask you to enter your username and password. From then on, it will remember your credentials and touching the app will immediately launch your photo and video stream.
By default, Fireside plays you a channel called Today’s Top Picks, but there are a number of other channels you can choose from. To change the channel, to share a channel with family or friends, or to configure Fireside settings, just touch the screen to bring up the navigation menu.
We hope you enjoy your new self managing SmartFrame! Do you have a question or is there something you’d like your Fireside to do that it doesn’t do today? Let us know in the comments!