Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #164: A Week with the New MacBook Air

We discuss how new security features in macOS Big Sur can make it difficult to install certain apps. We talk about Amazon Sidewalk, a feature that will share your bandwidth from Amazon devices. We look at an astounding remote wi-fi exploit that could have let hackers access your iPhone. And Kirk discusses his first week with the new MacBook Air, which has surprised him.

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.

A Week with the New Apple M1 MacBook Air

Apple’s new M1 Macs – the first Macs with Apple’s own chips in them – have started shipping, and users are finding that the company’s claims of speed and battery life were not exaggerated. Benchmarks have shown that single-core performance – which is the majority of what computers do – outstrips every available Mac, and multi-core performance is behind only the three fastest Mac models. Single-core performance using Rosetta emulation (which allows you to use apps compiled for Intel processors, not for the new Apple chips) also beats all Intel Macs. (If you want some technical details on why this system on a chip is so fast, read this article.)

But it’s not just about the speed; in most cases, we don’t need speed. Most of our computing involves using trivial tasks, such as browsing the web, writing and reading emails, and other non-processor intensive operations.

Battery life also outperforms other Apple laptops by up to 25%, meaning that the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro really have all-day battery life.

Specs and benchmarks aren’t everything. What is most important is real-world usage. Here’s an overview of my first week with a new MacBook Air.

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

Manage and Secure Notifications on Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

In general, our computing devices are passive. They perform tasks for us when we click buttons or enter some text, but otherwise they just wait for our commands. With the rise of mobile devices, “push” notifications became a way for our devices to alert us when certain things happen. We can get notified when we get text messages, phone calls, or emails, and we can have our favorite apps display notifications of the latest news, stock prices, and sports scores.

But it’s very easy for these notifications to overwhelm us. If you allow notifications on your iPhone from every app you use, you may spend more time checking your notifications than getting things done. While some notifications can be very important – phone calls and text messages, for example – too many notifications is bad for our sanity.

One problem is that you can get notification overload: you get so many notifications that it’s hard to keep up, and you eventually ignore them because you’re just too busy. Another issue is that if your notifications display sensitive information on your device when it is locked, anyone can see them. And finally, website notifications, the browser on your Mac, can be a security risk, as they can be hijacked to try to scam you.

In this article, I’m going to explain how you can control notifications on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. I’ll show you how to do this so you only get the most important notifications, and I’ll also explain the settings to apply to keep your notifications secure.

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

PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 81: The iPhone 12 Pro Cameras

As with every new iPhone release, Apple touts the camera capabilities more than any of the other features. Jeff upgraded to the iPhone 12 Pro right away, while Kirk is happy with his iPhone 11. In this episode, they talk about the choices around iPhones as cameras, and why Jeff ultimately didn’t go for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which features better camera capabilities.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

How to Color Calibrate Your Mac’s Display

If you only use your Mac for browsing the Web, sending and receiving email, and working in a word processor, it’s probably not all that important for it to display accurate colors. However, if you work with photos or videos, or even if you like to watch movies in the best possible conditions, color calibrating your display is essential.

The calibration process tweaks a number of settings to get the colors and contrast on your Mac as accurate as possible. It does this by changing the intensity of the main colors — red, blue, and green — and setting the white point, or the neutral white color that you see when, say, you open a new document in a word processor.

It’s easy to color calibrate your Mac’s display, and you can do so quickly by eye, or you can use additional hardware to get your colors exactly right. Here’s how you can do it.

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

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #163: Black Friday; Securely Dispose of Your Old Mac; The HomePod mini

With Black Friday coming up, we give some tips on buying older devices that may be insecure. We discuss how to audit your subscriptions with Apple, so you don’t pay for what you’re no longer using. We look at how to securely dispose of a Mac when you’re selling or giving it away. And we talk about the new HomePod mini: is it the right smart speaker for you?

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.

Save 50% on a Selection of Recent Take Control Books, Including my Take Control of macOS Media Apps

It’s that time of year when lots of companies have their biggest sales, and Take Control Books is joining in the virtual festivities. Now through next Wednesday, we’re offering a selection of 17 recently updated books for 50% off. No coupon code or special links required. The one-week sale is now in progress and will end at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, December 2.

Here are the books that are on sale:

  • Take Control of Apple Home Automation
  • Take Control of Apple TV
  • Take Control of Apple Watch
  • Take Control of Big Sur
  • Take Control of Home Security Cameras
  • Take Control of iCloud
  • Take Control of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14
  • Take Control of iOS & iPadOS Privacy and Security
  • Take Control of macOS Media Apps
  • Take Control of Notes
  • Take Control of Photos
  • Take Control of Podcasting
  • Take Control of Shortcuts
  • Take Control of Wi-Fi Networking and Security
  • Take Control of Your Apple ID
  • Take Control of Your Digital Storage
  • Take Control of Zoom

Go to Take Control Books and get 50% off all these great titles.

The Next Track, Episode #197 – I’m Not an Audiophile, But…

A comment by a tech reviewer incited us to discuss who is qualified to pass judgment on the audio quality of devices. We discuss this with our favorite audiophile, Chris Connaker.

Help support The Next Track by making regular donations via Patreon. We’re ad-free and self-sustaining so your support is what keeps us going. Thanks!

Support The Next Track.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

Apple HomePod mini Review: Siri in a Compact Speaker

Apple’s new HomePod mini is a compact rethink of the more than three-year old HomePod. The original HomePod suffered because of its high price: $349, later reduced to $299; it was for the cash-flush users who wanted sound more than smarts.

The $99 HomePod mini is the cheapest Apple device that actually does something (i.e., that isn’t a cable, dongle, case, or accessory). Unlike the original HomePod, it is being sold more for its Siri smarts than for its sound, and rightly so. Apple is hoping that people will buy multiple HomePod minis and place them all around the home, so anyone in a family can use them for Siri requests, and, should they desire, to listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks.

Apple’s marketing of this device focuses on four concepts:

  • Room-filling sound.
  • An intelligent assistant.
  • Control your smart home.
  • Private and secure.

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