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2019 Blogs

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


iOS 13 Makes Editing Text Easier

Let’s be honest—text editing in iOS has never been anywhere near as good as it is on the Mac. We may be more accustomed to our mice and keyboards, but the Multi-Touch interface has always been clumsy when it comes to text. Apple keeps trying to improve iOS’s text editing features, and iOS 13 (and iPadOS 13) brings some welcome changes in how we go about positioning the text insertion point, selecting text, and performing the familiar options in the Mac’s Edit menu: Cut, Copy, Paste, and Undo/Redo. Has it...

Oct 15, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Everything You Need to Know about Multitasking in iPadOS 13

With this year’s operating system updates, Apple has formally acknowledged that the iPhone and iPad have different uses and different needs. To that end, Apple has given the iPad version of iOS 13 its own name—iPadOS 13. The big changes include a desktop-class version of Safari that works better with complex Web apps, a redesigned Home screen that sports more icons and Today View widgets, a new floating keyboard you can use for thumb-typing or with one hand, Apple Pencil improvements, and the Sidecar feature that lets you use an...

Oct 11, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Do You Put Dates in Filenames

There are plenty of situations where it makes sense to put a date in a filename, but if you don’t use the right date format, the files may sort in unhelpful ways. For instance, using the names of months is a bad idea, since they’ll sort alphabetically, putting April before January. And although the Mac’s Finder is smart enough to sort filename-3 before filename-20, most other operating systems are not (because 2 comes before 3). So, to make your life—and the lives of everyone with whom you share files—a little...

Oct 8, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Beware Scammers when Selling Your Old Tech Hardware Online

Whenever Apple releases hot new hardware, it’s tempting to order the latest and greatest and then put your old Mac or iPhone up for sale on a classifieds site like Craigslist. If you do that, be cautious about potential buyers—it’s increasingly common for a scammer to request that you ship them the device and then to “pay” you by forging payment email from PayPal or using a stolen PayPal account (whose owner will likely get PayPal to take the money back from you). Instead, insist on an in-person meeting in...

Oct 3, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


We Recommend You Delay Upgrading to macOS Catalina

Dear clients, Apple plans to release macOS 10.15 Catalina sometime in October, and like all major operating system releases, Apple has been talking it up since it was introduced at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. It will feature new Music, TV, and Podcasts apps to replace iTunes. A new Mac Catalyst technology will make it easier for developers to make their iPad apps available for the Mac. Photos, Reminders, and Notes all get major upgrades. Screen Time has migrated over from iOS. And Sidecar lets you use an...

Oct 2, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Two Secret Key Combos for Forward Delete

Traditionally, extended keyboards come with a Forward Delete key that, when you press it, deletes characters to the right of the insertion point, unlike the main Delete key, which deletes to the left of the insertion point. Forward Delete still exists on Apple’s Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, but it’s missing from the Magic Keyboard and all Mac laptop keyboards. If you like using Forward Delete (and well you should!), the secret key combinations that simulate it for any Apple keyboard that lacks it are Fn-Delete and Control-D. You can...

Sep 26, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Some of Our Favorite Features of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13

It’s hard to sum up iOS 13’s benefits succinctly because Apple has made so many improvements (we’ll get to what’s cool about iPadOS 13 later in the article). That means there’s something for just about everyone. Here are some of the changes we think you’ll most appreciate. Better Text Handling An area in iOS that has long begged for improvement is text handling. Although the familiar approaches still work, you can finally select text by merely tapping and swiping. Double-taps select recognized bits of text like phone numbers and addresses,...

Sep 24, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Want to Use Your Friends Nicknames in iOS Heres How

If you have a friend whom you refer to only by his nickname, it can be annoying to feel like you should use his proper first name when adding him to Contacts. Worse, then he shows up in Messages with a name you don’t recognize as easily. Here’s how to convince iOS to use his nickname instead. Open his card in Contacts, tap Edit, scroll to the bottom, tap Add Field, and tap Nickname. That puts a Nickname field at the top, under his proper name, for you to fill...

Sep 19, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


Some of Our Favorite Features of Catalina

In a break from Apple’s pattern of alternating cycle of releases, macOS 10.15 Catalina is not a refinement of 10.14 Mojave like 10.13 High Sierra was for 10.12 Sierra. Instead, Catalina boasts significant changes, both obvious things like new apps and less-obvious things like under-the-hood improvements. Here are some of our favorites. iTunes Is Dead! Long Live Music, TV, and Podcasts After 18 years of being a fixture on the Mac, the increasingly bloated iTunes has been replaced with a trio of independent apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. Note that...

Sep 17, 2019

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


The new Mac Pro Tower: Wheels optional

Dual sided Logic Board So happy to see that Apple is going back to its ability to allow users to upgrade and customize their Mac Pro tower experience. There was much much love for the old Cheese Grater style Mac Pro and many are still in use because of their overall upgradeability and customization. Not saying that the Trash Can approach was bad. It was in line with their motto, think different. Coming up with a new and unique approach to power computing. Unfortunately overall extensibility and the lack of...

Jun 3, 2019

Author Jon Brown

Jon Brown


MacOS 10.15 Catalina Releasing this Fall

MacOS Catalina 10.15 Wow things move quickly from year to year. No surprise here. MacOS Catalina brings a whole new level of cool back to the Mac in my honest opinion. I am so happy that Apple has decided to break out iTunes into multiple apps. iTunes back in the day was so awesome, easy to use and simplistic. Now it tends to be a power hungry and semi confusing app to use as its the defacto app for everything. How about that annoying feature that automatically launched iTunes when...

Jun 3, 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

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