Our Blog

The latest in Mac News, Tips & Tricks

2019 Blogs

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


The Scoop on the New iPhone 11 Apple Watch Series 5 7th-gen iPad and Apple Services

At its September 10th special event, Apple unveiled a slew of new products and services, including the iPhone 11, the Apple Watch Series 5, the seventh-generation iPad, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+. The company also said that iOS 13 and watchOS 6 would ship on September 19th, with iPadOS 13 appearing on September 30th and macOS 10.15 Catalina due sometime in October. Don’t feel the need to update to iOS 13.0 right away, though, since Apple also said that iOS 13.1 would arrive just 11 days later, on September 30th....

Sep 14, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


When Should You Upgrade Catalina

As we get into September, it’s a good bet that Apple will be pushing out the next major versions of macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS, along with the new iPadOS, which is iOS with iPad-specific tweaks. Apple previewed these new versions back in June, and they’ve been in public beta since. Once Apple makes macOS 10.15 Catalina, iOS 13, iPadOS 13, watchOS 6, and tvOS 13 available, the question looms large—when should you install them? (Note that we say when and not if. There’s no harm in delaying major operating...

Sep 12, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Personalize Your Mac with Custom Document Icons

Do you have a document that you open regularly, perhaps from your Desktop? If you’d like to make it stand out from other documents, why not give it a custom icon? This was common practice on the Mac back in the day, and it’s still possible in modern versions of macOS. Go to Google Images and search for “searchTerm icon” to see what images are available. (It’s fine to use any graphic for one-time personal use; if you’re planning to distribute the file or publish the icon in any way,...

Sep 10, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Make a Backup before Upgrading to Catalina or iOS 13

Confession time. If there’s one topic we can’t stop talking about, it’s backups. Backups are essential, since no one can guarantee that your Mac or iPhone won’t be lost or stolen, be caught in a flood from a broken pipe, or just fail silently. It happens. You should have a good backup strategy that ensures backups happen regularly, but it’s not paranoid to make double extra sure when you’re doing something that’s more likely to cause problems than everyday activity. And by that we’re thinking about upgrading to a major...

Sep 5, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


How to Get Custom Alerts for Email from Your VIPs

Few people get so little email that they want an iPhone notification for every message that rolls in. But many of us have just a couple of people—our personal VIPs—whose messages are important enough to warrant an alert. If that’s true for you, and you want to know right away when your boss or your spouse or your child sends you a message, set up VIP Alerts. In Mail in iOS, in your Mailboxes list, tap the i button next to the VIP mailbox. If necessary, use the Add VIP...

Sep 3, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


What Can You Store in Apple’s Wallet App? Credit Cards, Boarding Passes, Tickets, and More!

Have you wondered what you can do with the Wallet app on your iPhone? Although it started life called Passbook, Apple soon realized that the only sensible name was Wallet. That’s because it stores digital versions of roughly the same sort of things you might put in a physical wallet: credit and debit cards, store cards, membership cards, and even cash (well, Apple Pay Cash, anyway). Nearly all airlines can put your boarding passes in Wallet, too, and if you buy something like a concert ticket online, you may be...

Aug 29, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Use AirPods to Improve Your Hearing

An ever-increasing number of people have hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise and age. If you’re in that group, but don’t yet need hearing aids, try using your AirPods to help you hear better in certain situations. iOS’s Live Listen feature uses your iPhone’s mic to pick up specific sounds and then sends that audio directly to your AirPods, helping you focus on what you want to hear. To enable Live Listen, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and tap the green + button next...

Aug 27, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Six Tips for Writing Better Email

Apple has put a lot of effort into Mail, providing lots of features you can employ to get through your email more quickly. But one of the most effective ways to improve your email productivity has nothing to do with an email app. Instead, train yourself to write better email and you’ll cut down on a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth and confusion. Remember, email is not chat—you say things in an interactive conversation that could take days to untangle in an email thread. Here are some of the top ways...

Aug 22, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Need to Restart a Mac That Has Frozen? Here’s How

It’s extremely uncommon for a Mac to freeze or crash these days, but it can happen. What should you do if your Mac locks up and becomes completely unresponsive to the mouse and keyboard? The trick is to press and hold the power button until the Mac turns off. Wait 5 or 10 seconds, and press it again to turn the Mac back on. You will lose any unsaved changes if you do this, so use it only as a last resort when you can’t restart normally. Look for the...

Aug 20, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Migrate Your Data from an Old iPhone to a New One with iOS 12

Most people are probably waiting until September to buy a new iPhone, but Apple is laying the groundwork for making the migration from an old phone to a new one even easier this time around. In iOS 12.4, Apple introduced a new way to migrate your data directly from one iPhone to another. This is an extension of the iOS 11 Quick Start feature that helps you set up a new iPhone with settings from your current device. All you have to do is turn on the new iPhone and...

Aug 15, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Learn How to Autofill SMS Login Codes in iOS 12 and Mojave

An ever-increasing number of Web sites boost their security via two-factor authentication (2FA), which requires you to type in a short numeric code to complete a login after entering your username and password. It’s a big win because that code is generated on the fly and is good for only a short time (often 30 seconds). So even if your username and password were revealed in a data breach, your account is safe if you use 2FA. We recommend using it whenever possible. You get these codes—usually six digits—in one...

Aug 13, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Go Beyond External Hard Drives with Network-Attached Storage

If you’ve filled up your external hard drives or become frustrated by their limitations, it’s time to look into a network-attached storage (NAS) device. What’s a NAS? It’s an intelligent storage device that can accept one or more hard drives or SSDs and connects to your network via Ethernet. NAS Benefits A NAS is a good choice for anyone who needs access to lots of storage, but small businesses in particular will appreciate the benefits of a NAS. They include: More storage: Most NAS devices provide multiple drive bays, so...

Aug 9, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Annoyed by Your Holiday Music Playing out of Season? Stop It with This Tip

Winter Wonderland may be a great song to listen to when the snow flies, but if you’re sweltering in summer heat, having it pop up while iTunes is shuffling through your music feels wrong. Happily, there’s a way to prevent holiday music from playing out of season—this trick is also useful for keeping children’s songs from shuffling alongside tracks from Abba, Beethoven, and The Clash. In iTunes, select the songs you want to prevent from being included when you shuffle all tracks, and choose Edit > Get Info. In the...

Aug 6, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Use macOS’s Guest Account to Protect Your Privacy from Temporary Users

We’ve all had it happen. “Can I use your Mac for a minute to check my email?” The answer can be “Yes,” but to keep people from poking around on your Mac, have your visitor log in as Guest. To enable the Guest account, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups. If the lock at the bottom left is closed, click it and enter your admin credentials. Then click Guest User in the list, and select “Allow guests to log in to this computer.” To switch to the Guest...

Jul 30, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


The Secret Trick That Lets You Paste Phone Numbers into the Phone App

Most iOS apps and many Web sites make phone numbers “hot” so you can tap them to call. But it’s not uncommon to run across a number that’s formatted oddly or broken across a line of text such that it can’t be recognized. Just because iOS can’t recognize it doesn’t mean you have to memorize the number temporarily or flip back and forth to the Phone app to type it in it. Here’s a workaround. Double-tap the start of the phone number to select it, and then drag the rightmost...

Jul 26, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Never Send Someone a Password in Mail or Messages- Do This Instead!

One of the big no-nos with passwords is sending them to other people as plain text in email or a text message conversation. You presumably trust your recipient with the password, but what if their email was hacked or phone stolen? Instead, always use a site like 1ty.me or One-Time Secret, which lets you turn a password into a Web link that can be opened only once. Send that link to the recipient, and when they get the password out, they can store it in a secure password manager like...

Jul 21, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Here’s How to See Full URLs in Safari’s Smart Search Field

By default, Safari on the Mac hides full Web addresses—technically known as URLs—from you, showing just the site name in the Smart Search field at the top of the window. If you click in the field or press Command-L, the full URL appears, which is good for checking that you’re really where you think you should be and not on some dodgy site. It’s also useful if you need to copy just a portion of the URL to share or otherwise work with. To make that check easier, go to...

Jul 19, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Use Spotlight on the Mac to Convert Units Track Flights Find Movies and More

Most Mac users probably think of searching on the Mac in relation to finding files on their drives. That may be the most common use of Apple’s Spotlight search technology, but over the years, Apple has continually enhanced Spotlight’s capabilities, turning it into a veritable Swiss Army Knife that you can invoke with a quick press of Command-Space bar or a click on the magnifying glass at the right side of the menu bar. Here are a few of our favorite uses for Spotlight that you may not have been...

Jul 16, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Some May Like It Hot But Your Technology Prefers to Stay Cool

When summer brings sunny days and rising temperatures, you may have ditched your business suit for shorts or skirts to stay comfortable, but your technological gear can’t do the same. And keeping your tech cool is about more than comfort—as temperatures rise, performance can suffer, charging may get slower or stop, various components might be disabled, and devices can become unreliable. How Hot Is Too Hot? You might be surprised by the recommended operating temperatures for Apple gear—whether you’re talking about an iPhone X or a MacBook Pro, the company...

Jul 12, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Munki Customization & Branding

Today we’re going to explore branding and customization of a few popular open source Mac management tools Munki and Munki Report. Before we dive into the specifics and get into the weeds it’s important to first recap and review the importance of branding and its role in the IT admin space. Why is branding so key when it comes to our ability to support our users? When you look at some of the brands on this screen you get a sense, a feeling and it sparks an emotional tone. Branding...

Jul 10, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Did You Know You Can Make a Video of Anything on Your iPhone or iPad Screen

You know how to use the Camera app on your iPhone or iPad to take a video, but did you know that you can also record a video of what happens on the screen of your device? That’s useful if you’re trying to explain the steps of some technical process to a friend or show a tech support rep what’s going wrong in an app or Web site. You could also use a screen recording to copy a video from Facebook, for instance, that you want to send to a...

Jul 8, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Buy Quality Cables to Avoid Possible Device Damage or Even Fires

Apple’s prices for Lightning, USB-C, and Thunderbolt 3 cables often seem high—$19 for a USB-C to Lightning cable or $29 if you want a 2-meter version? Unfortunately, when it comes to cables, you often get what you pay for. Happily, other reputable hardware manufacturers like Anker and Belkin make quality cables and often charge less than Apple. Stay away from the bargain basement prices from no-name Chinese manufacturers, and if you see a supposedly genuine Apple cable selling for a too-good-to-be-true price, consider the possibility that it’s counterfeit. Apple has...

Jul 4, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Read More Easily on the iPhone with Safari Reader

Do you sometimes find it difficult to read articles on your iPhone because of ads, banners, extraneous layout, social media icons, and too-small fonts? We certainly do, and there’s often a quick fix for the myriad ills of modern Web pages: Safari Reader. Whenever you see the Safari Reader icon to the left of the site’s domain name in the address bar, tap it to switch to a cleaner view that dispenses with all the unnecessary trimmings and presents the content in a larger, more readable font. Tap the font...

Jul 3, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Customize Your Macs Dock for Increased Productivity

By default, Apple populates your Mac’s Dock with all sorts of apps and arranges them in a particular order. But there’s no rhyme or reason to the defaults, and you shouldn’t be afraid to add, remove, and rearrange apps on your Dock. To add an app, drag its icon from the Applications folder to the desired spot on the Dock. To remove an app you never use, drag its icon far enough off the Dock that a Remove tag appears above the icon and then let go. To arrange the...

Jul 2, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


A Quick Way to Check Battery Levels on Your iOS devices

Apple’s Batteries widget is a little known but highly useful tool for quickly assessing which of your small Apple devices is lowest on power—something you may wish to do particularly when traveling with only one charging cable. To access it, switch to Today view on the iPhone, accessible by swiping right on the Home screen or Lock screen. If the Batteries widget isn’t already there, scroll to the bottom, tap Edit, and tap the green + button to the left of Batteries in the list. Of course, if you just...

Jul 1, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Heres What You Need to Know about the Butterfly Keyboard

When Apple introduced the 12-inch MacBook in April 2015, the machine was the thinnest Mac ever, with a tapered design that starts at a mere 3.5 mm and grows only to 13.1 mm. A change from previous laptop models that made such an incredibly thin design possible was a new keyboard that swapped a scissor-style switch under each key for a new “butterfly mechanism” that’s 40 percent thinner. In October 2016, Apple started using a second generation of the so-called “butterfly” keyboard in the MacBook Pro line. Then, in July...

Jun 25, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Apple Issues Voluntary Recall for Certain 2015 15 inch MacBook Pro Units

Heads up! If you’re using an older 15-inch MacBook Pro—the version with lots of ports that predates the current Thunderbolt 3 models—Apple has started a recall program to replace batteries that could explode and catch on fire. (We’re not kidding.) The affected MacBook Pro models were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017. To find out if your 15-inch MacBook Pro is affected, enter its serial number into Apple’s recall page. If it is included in the recall, shut it down and stop using it immediately! Contact Apple for a free...

Jun 21, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


iCloud Link Photo Sharing

It’s easy to share a single photo from your iPhone or iPad with a friend, but if you want to share a bunch of photos or lengthy videos, sending them in Messages or Mail might not work or could impact your (and your recipients’) data caps. In iOS 12, Apple added a clever feature that instead uploads the files to iCloud and lets you share a simple link that your recipients can use to view and download. Use this approach and your messages will send and be received faster and...

Jun 19, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Use Dropbox's Selective Sync to Save Space on Small Drives

If you’re like many of our clients who use Dropbox intensively, you have a desktop Mac with a large drive and a MacBook with much less drive space. How do you prevent your large Dropbox account from overwhelming the laptop Mac’s available storage? The answer is Dropbox’s Selective Sync feature. On the MacBook, click the Dropbox icon in the menu bar, click your avatar in the upper-right corner, and choose Preferences. In the Preferences window, click Sync and then click the Choose Folders to Sync button. Deselect the folders you...

Jun 14, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


New MacBook Pros, New iPod touch, OS Updates

Apple is well known for its splashy media events, now usually held in the Steve Jobs Theater at the company’s new Cupertino campus. But Apple reserves such events for major announcements. Smaller announcements, such as minor updates to particular product lines, operating system updates, or new repair programs, get only a press release, if that. But just because a change doesn’t merit much fuss doesn’t mean it’s uninteresting—if you’ve been waiting for the right moment to buy a new Mac, for instance, an announcement of a small MacBook Pro revision...

Jun 10, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Here's What’s Coming from Apple in 2019

Here’s What’s Coming from Apple in 2019 At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference on June 3rd, the company unveiled the next versions of all its operating systems—macOS 10.15 Catalina, iOS 13 (and a new iPadOS), watchOS 6, and tvOS 13–along with the much-anticipated new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Nothing that was announced will ship until later this year—probably September—but we wanted to give you a quick overview of what’s coming down the pike. macOS 10.15 Catalina With macOS 10.15, which Apple is calling “Catalina,” the company is working to...

Jun 5, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using a Password Manager

We often recommend using a password manager like 1Password or LastPass, but we’ve gotten a few questions asking why we’re so adamant about this. Lots of people think that all they need to do to keep their online accounts secure is create a single password with some numbers, often switching a lowercase L with a 1 and a capital E with a 3. And that’s for accounts people care about—for those that they don’t see as important, they’re likely to use a simple password like their child’s or pet’s name....

Jun 4, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Senior Executives Pose a Danger to Cyber Security

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog…. or Can You? I remember trying to explain a VCR to older relatives.  It wasn’t that they were less intelligent or unable to grasp the overall concept, it was that it wasn’t a necessary thing to learn in their opinion.  They weren’t interested in the technology; they had fared fine in life so far without having to watch a recorded episode of anything.  In fact, most of their lives were spent without television altogether. While not exactly the same, there are similarities in this...

Jun 1, 2019


Business Email Compromise Incidents up 133%

Business email compromises (BEC) scams made a big statement in 2018, seeing a 133% increase over 2017, according to a recent report by Beazley Breach Response Services. The Beazley Breach Briefing looked at information gathered from investigations into more than 3,300 data incidents that were reported to Beazley in 2018. The investigations revealed that nearly half (47%) of the data incidents investigated were the result of a hack or malware. Diving deeper, the investigations revealed that half of those hacking or malware incidents were BEC scams. What is a BEC scam? BEC...

Apr 28, 2019


The State of Compliance

We are all aware of federal compliance regulations when it comes to the privacy and security of our information.  For example, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of HIPAA.  Yet are you aware that regulations have been put in place at the state level that have the same goal – to protect our security and privacy? This month (March 2019), the state of New York reached the end date for the Cybersecurity Regulation of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) regulations.  These required third-party...

Apr 13, 2019


Tax Refund Scams – Know What to Look For

Tis the season!  You’re making mental plans with what is hopefully a generous tax refund and deciding what to do with the surplus of cash you’ll soon have on hand. Along the way from starting to submitting the paperwork, there are quite a few roadblocks to be aware of.  Even if you aren’t getting a refund, your personal information is as valuable as the money you’re hoping for to scammers, so be on high alert.  A compromise of this nature can expose so much personal information from social security number...

Apr 7, 2019


Security Awareness Training: Time to Jump on the Bandwagon

Human-error; we talk about it all the time, but what exactly do we mean? Human-error occurs when an individual performs a task or does something with an unintended outcome. It’s easy to point the finger at employee’s as being an organization’s weakest link, but without appropriate security awareness training provided by the employer, how can employees truly know what to watch out for? An IBM study found that human-error accounts for 95% of security incidents, yet security awareness training for employees often ends up on the back burner. In a...

Mar 1, 2019


How Will Your Employees Get You Hacked

Breaches are becoming increasingly common as cybercriminals continue to advance their skills and tactics to trick their victims into falling for their scams. While cybercriminals are remaining diligent in their efforts to carry out their attacks, small business owners continue to underspend on cybersecurity. An article on Entrepreneur looks at 5 things your employees are doing that put your business at risk. The 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report revealed that half (14 million) of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. had been hacked by cybercriminals, but why? According to...

Feb 24, 2019


What is Your Personal Information Worth on the Dark Web

The dark web is often known for the illegal activities conducted there, and while not everything on the dark web is illegal, it’s most appealing factor is its anonymity. The dark web is often a place where stolen data and personal information is bought and sold following a data breach or hacking incident. An article on Experian takes a look at what your personal information is worth on the dark web and how you can help protect yourself from being exposed. How much is your information worth to an identity thief on...

Feb 16, 2019


How Does the Dark Web Impact Small Businesses?

Identity theft is an unfortunate occurrence that is all too familiar with most business owners, but do those individuals know where the compromised data will end up? Often, these business owners are unaware of the virtual marketplace where stolen data is purchased and sold by cybercriminals; a place known as the “Dark Web”.  An article on Lexology explores what the Dark Web is, what information is available for purchase there and how it impacts small businesses. What is the Dark Web? The Dark Web, which is not accessible through traditional search engines...

Feb 14, 2019

Stop! You've found it The best Mac Support on the planet!

With Grove Technologies® at your side you won't have to face those pesky tech problems alone!