How to Use Activity Monitor to Troubleshoot Problems on a Mac

We never like to have problems with our computers, but they are inevitable. Sometimes some of your apps don’t work, your Mac gets slow, you get a spinning beachball, and more. Narrowing down the cause of such problems can be difficult; fortunately, macOS offers some troubleshooting tools you can use to diagnose what ails your computer.

One of the tools you can use to troubleshoot problems on a Mac is Activity Monitor, a dashboard for many of your Mac’s under-the-hood activities. In this article, I’m going to introduce you to Activity Monitor, and explain how this utility can help you find—and, in some cases, resolve—problems on your Mac.

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

Use private browsing to maintain your privacy on the web

You know that whenever you visit a website, a great deal of data is collected about you by the company running the website, and by third parties that track you to serve ads. The more you use the web, the more information goes into profiles that companies like Google and Facebook use to target ads that match your search terms, the types of websites you visit, and more.

While you can use an ad blocker to not see ads, and also to block some of the trackers used to follow you around, these tools aren’t 100% effective. But there’s another way you can maintain your privacy: you can use private browsing.

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

How to Use Content Caching on macOS to Save Bandwidth

If you have multiple Apple devices in your household, you know how annoying it can be when it’s time to update them. It can take a long time to get the latest macOS or iOS updaters, and if you have to download the same multi-gigabyte files for more than one iPhone, iPad, or Mac, your bandwidth can get saturated.

Content caching, a feature of macOS, can help. When you enable this on a Mac, that computer will keep copies of every installer and updater you download, along with apps from the iOS and Mac App Stores. Content caching can also cache some iCloud content, such as photos, and some documents.

Content caching is simple to use; here’s how to save time and bandwidth with content caching.

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

Get to Know Your Mac’s Dock

One of the key elements you use to interact with your Mac is the Dock. You can use the Dock in many ways: you can open apps, you can open files by dragging them on icons in the Dock, you can open folders that you’ve stored in the Dock, and more. In the guide below, you will discover the many configuration options you have for the Dock, and the best way to turn the Dock into a high-powered productivity booster.

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

How to Use Content Caching on macOS to Save Bandwidth

If you have multiple Apple devices in your household, you know how annoying it can be when it’s time to update them. It can take a long time to get the latest macOS or iOS updaters, and if you have to download the same multi-gigabyte files for more than one iPhone, iPad, or Mac, your bandwidth can get saturated.

Content caching, a feature of macOS, can help. When you enable this on a Mac, that computer will keep copies of every installer and updater you download, along with apps from the iOS and Mac App Stores. Content caching can also cache some iCloud content, such as photos, and some documents.

Content caching is simple to use; here’s how to save time and bandwidth with content caching.

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

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.

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.

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.

Understanding User Accounts in macOS

Everyone who uses a Mac has a user account. If you’re the only person using your Mac, then there will only be one account. But if you share your Mac with other users — your family or coworkers, for example — your Mac will contain multiple user accounts. At least one of these is an administrator account, and that account is allowed to change any settings on the Mac. Others can be standard user accounts, who can change settings that affect some of what they do on the computer. You can also have accounts that are managed with parental controls; these are designed so your kids can use your computer safely. Finally, there are sharing only accounts, which you can create to allow users to access some files on your Mac over a network.

In this article, I’m going to explain how to create user accounts, when and how to use each of these different types of accounts, and how to delete them when you don’t need them any longer.

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