How to Use Apple’s Built-in Features to Encrypt Files and Folders

The best way to protect your data is to encrypt your files, ensuring that, even if they get into the hands of hackers or cybercriminals, your personal data is safe. macOS provides a suite of tools to protect you, and, in this article, I’ll discuss the many ways you can use built-in macOS features to provide unbreakable encryption. (Unbreakable with current computing power; it’s possible that future quantum computers will be able to break the robust encryption algorithms that macOS uses.)

In this article, I’ll explain how to encrypt your startup disk with FileVault; how to encrypt other disks; and how to create encrypted disk images to store files securely in the cloud or send by email; and how to encrypt PDF files.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #162: How To Prepare Your Mac for macOS Big Sur

Apple released macOS Big Sur last week. On release day, there were a number of issues, including problems launching apps on Macs. We discuss what happened, and how Apple is changing its Gatekeeper security check. We also talk about when you should upgrade to Big Sur and how you should prepare your Mac for the big upgrade.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

How to Prepare Your Mac to Upgrade to macOS Big Sur: the Ultimate Guide

Another year, another new version of macOS. Apple has released macOS Big Sur, also known as macOS 11. Apple’s new desktop operating system features the biggest interface change since the release of Mac OS X, and while there aren’t a lot of flashy new features, everything will look different.

Should you upgrade your Mac to Big Sur? Is your Mac compatible with the new operating system? And how should you prepare for this big change? In this article, I’ll answer all those questions, so you can be ready to upgrade your Mac to macOS Big Sur when Apple officially releases its new operating system.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Mac and iOS Keychain Tutorial: How Apple’s iCloud Keychain Works

You use passwords to log into websites and services, and since there are so many of them, it’s hard to remember them. It’s a bad idea to use the same password for different websites, because if one site is compromised, hackers will have an email address and password that they can try on other sites. Because of this, you need to ensure that your passwords are different for every website and app, and that they are hard to crack. (An episode of the Intego Mac Podcast talks about password strategies.)

Your Macs and iOS devices have a “keychain,” which is an encrypted file that stores your logins, passwords, and some other information. This file syncs via iCloud, so you can use the same passwords on all your devices. Here’s how Apple’s iCloud keychain works.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to Securely Dispose of Your Old Mac

So it’s time to move on and end your relationship with your Mac. You had good times together; you’ll always have memories of the best moments you shared. But there’s a better Mac now, it may be faster, have a better display, or be lighter and more portable. While break-ups are always tough, it’s a good idea to make this one as smooth as possible.

Your Mac contains a lot of personal information, and is connected to a number of Apple accounts. When you plan to dispose of your Mac — whether you sell it, give it away, or send it for recycling — there several things you should do to make sure your data remain secure. There are also a few steps you need to take to remove that Mac from Apple’s accounts.

In this article, I discuss the 10 steps you should take before getting rid of a Mac.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to switch search engines on macOS and iOS (and why you should)

If you’re like most people, you search the web a lot. Google handles nearly 85,000 searches per second, or 7.3 billion per day, or more than two and a half trillion searches every year. Your share of that may be small: if you’re just an average person, you may search the web 3-5 times a day, but some of us, such as writers, may perform several dozen searches in a single day when researching articles and books.

Searching the web is free. But nothing is really free. In exchange for providing you with such a powerful tool, Google collects data about you. It creates a unique profile of you, of your interests, your medical conditions (because everyone searches Google when they have health questions), and your browsing activity, and uses this to provide carefully targeted ads. It also tracks the websites you visit, ensuring not to miss anything you do.

This is why you often see ads related to your web searches. For example, you may have a question about your pet, and use Google to find the answer. You’ll soon see ads for pet food on various web pages. Google is the biggest advertising provider on the web, and millions of websites use Google Ads. So by storing information about you on Google’s servers, the company can know which ads are most likely to interest you. (Of course they don’t know if that search about the cat was really for a friend or neighbor, in which case the ads are incorrectly targeted, but if no one clicks, they don’t make any money.)

In other words, using a search engine is the same as giving away lots of private information about you, your habits, and your life. You may not want to do that.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to manage iTunes Store and App Store Subscriptions

There are lots of subscriptions you can purchase from Apple. They may be for services that Apple sells, such as Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+, or the new Apple One bundle, as well as any subscription you have for additional iCloud storage above the free 5 GB that you get. You may have subscriptions for specific apps that function on a monthly or annual payment. Or you may have subscriptions to third-party services — such as HBO NOW, Hulu, Pandora, or Spotify — that you’ve purchased through the iTunes Store.

It’s easy to manage these subscriptions once you find where to go. In this article, I’ll show you how to access information about your iTunes Store and App Store subscriptions, and how to cancel them.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to Enter and Exit Full Screen Mode and Use Split Screen in macOS

The size of your Mac’s display can affect the way you work. If you have a capacious 27-inch iMac, you’ve got lots of room to stretch out. You can have several windows visible, large and small, each organized efficiently. On the contrary, if you have a smaller Mac, like a 12-inch MacBook, there’s not much room for multiple windows, and you may want to make each one as large as possible. Fortunately, macOS offers a “full-screen mode,” which you can use for most of your apps.

When you’ve got limited screen space available, it’s a good idea to use every pixel of it. By default, macOS displays the Dock at the bottom of the screen, and it’s always visible. When you open an app, its window only stretches from the top of the display to the top of the Dock, so you’re missing out on some valuable space.

In an article about getting to know your Mac’s Dock, I explained how you can either position the Dock to the left of the display—getting more vertical space at the expense of slightly less horizontal space—or hide it entirely.

In this article, I’m going to discuss how you use full-screen mode in macOS, and how you can get the most out of this feature to work efficiently on a small display.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to Configure and Use Control Center in macOS Big Sur

macOS has long had provided quick access to certain system settings in the menu bar, but when you have lots of these menu extras, your menu bar can get cluttered. iOS offers a different way to access these settings, such as volume, brightness, and toggling Bluetooth and wi-fi: Control Center.

macOS Big Sur brings Control Center to the Mac. With one click, you can display a panel containing buttons and sliders that you can use to adjust and toggle certain system settings. Here’s how to set up and use Control Center in macOS Big Sur.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.