You’ve certainly heard people say that “Macs don’t get viruses.” And, while that’s generally true – most malware these days isn’t viruses but other types of malicious software – the Mac has a long history of malware attacks. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses; the Mac has seen them all. Here is an overview of the history of malware that has affected the Mac.
There are lots of settings, preferences, and options on the Mac, and many of these settings are organized in one app: System Preferences. You can access this app from the Apple menu, and it offers a plethora of options for customizing your Mac’s environment, and many of its features.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to use the System Preferences app, how to customize its display, and how to change essential settings for your Mac.
One of the more useful features in macOS Catalina is Sidecar, which allows you to use your iPad as a second display for your Mac. This is practical if you want to work on a document on your iPad using the Apple Pencil, or if you want to be able to show something from your Mac to a colleague or client without them needing to look over your shoulder. And if you work on a laptop, having that additional screen space for occasional or even regular usage can make your work a lot smoother.
In this article, I’ll show you how you can use Sidecar to extend your Mac’s display.
Apple devices are supposed to be easy to use, and they generally are—at least for basic things. But over the years, as features have multiplied exponentially and hardware has changed dramatically, the user interfaces of Macs, iPhones, and iPads (among other Apple products) have become increasingly inscrutable. This book explores the mysteries of how and why things are the way they are now—and shows you how you can solve your own Apple usability puzzles.
When Apple introduced the Mac in 1984, its novel graphical interface revolutionized the way people thought about computers. Thanks to the Mac’s graphical user interface, people quickly realized a computer could be both powerful and easy to use. That legendary ease of use, which carried on through the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and other products, helped Apple become the huge cultural force it is today.
And yet, millions of people struggle to make sense of their modern Apple devices. (Indeed, that’s the whole reason Take Control Books has existed since 2003!) Users wonder how to accomplish seemingly basic tasks, where to find important menu commands, why the screen is scrolling the “wrong” way, how to type characters that aren’t on the keyboard, what gesture they can use to perform common operations on an iPhone or iPad, and why controls they want to use frequently are hidden. What happened to that ease of use, and why have Apple’s user interfaces become so…mysterious?
Apple Interface Mysteries aims to answer all those questions and many more. Michael E. Cohen, who is a Certified Usability Analyst (really!) as well as the author of numerous books on Apple products, also loves a good mystery. So he has done extensive research into the evolution of Apple’s interfaces in an effort to explain how and why things are the way they are today—and more importantly, how you can find hidden controls and capabilities, solve the puzzles of Apple’s seemingly opaque interfaces, and become a happier user in the process.
After an introduction to basic concepts of usability (such as affordances, or cues that tell you how to use a control), Michael takes you on a fascinating journey through mysteriously complicated Mac interfaces such as menus, keyboards, mice, and the desktop. He then turns his attention to iOS/iPadOS, discussing the unique capabilities and limitations of small-screen, touch-oriented devices, including gestures, hidden buttons, and inscrutable onscreen keyboards. The book concludes with a chapter of “crime fighting tips” that help you unravel new perplexities as you encounter them.
Unlike most of our books, the title of this one doesn’t begin with the words “Take Control of….” That’s because the focus is more on why than on how to, and it makes no attempt to be exhaustive. Rather, it’s an explanation of some of the historical and technological factors that led to Apple’s current user interfaces. But don’t worry, you’ll still learn tons of practical skills—along with lots of tips about hidden or hard-to-discover features.
The first update of my recent book about the apps that replaced iTunes is now available.
Are you bewildered with the new Catalina apps that replace iTunes? Befuddled by Apple Music? Do you want to customize the Music app sidebar? Wish you could organize your podcasts? Wondering what the difference is between loves and stars? In this book, Kirk McElhearn (author of three previous Take Control titles on iTunes, going back to 2010) explains not only how Apple’s new media apps work, but how normal people can make the Music, TV, Podcasts, and Books apps do what they want.
Version 1.1 of this book contains changes made mainly to the Music and TV apps shortly after their initial release:
Column Browser: When Apple released the new Music app, it was missing a feature that had been in iTunes from the very first version, which is ideal for navigating large libraries: the column browser. Apple responded to the many users who lamented the loss of this feature, and restored it in December 2019. I discuss the Column Browser in “View Your Music Library.”
Multiple libraries in the Music app: I have added some information about creating and using multiple libraries in the Music app. For a long time, you could create multiple libraries, but all your libraries would still inherit the preferences set in iTunes. Now, in the Music app, each library uses separate preferences, notably that to sync your library to the cloud. See “Create More than One Music Library on Your Mac.”
Navigation from the keyboard: I have added a couple of tips for navigating different views in the Music app. See “View Your Music Library” to find out how to quickly move down a list of artists, composers, songs, or albums.
Using an Audible account in the Books app: I have added information about authorizing an Audible account to listen to audiobooks in the Books app. See “Listen to Audiobooks.”
We look back at the eventful year 2019 in Apple security. In the news, Apple is switching to randomized serial numbers for its products, Apple sues a company over jailbreaking, Firefox has critical vulnerabilities, and more.
It has been a while since the Mac was called a “Macintosh.” The last computer to bear that word in its name was the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, released in June 1997. Every Mac since then has been called a Mac.
Yet when you set up a new Mac, the company still names the drive on your computer Macintosh HD. Not only is the first word archaic, but in most cases, new Macs have solid-state drives, or SSDs.
I understand that Apple may have maintained this name for a while for legacy purposes – software that looked for that as the name of the root volume on a Mac. But it seems archaic now. In addition, the icon for the drive in the Finder, as you can see above, is that of a bare hard drive.
Perhaps it’s time for Apple to change the way they name the default drive on Macs. They could use the user’s name and say, for example, Kirk’s Drive. Or allow users to choose a name during setup. (You can change the name at any time by selecting the drive, pressing Return, and typing another name.)
Congratulations on getting a new Mac. You’ll be able to use your new computer for work and for play, to listen to music, to shop, and to view the world. But it’s important to protect yourself, and the best time is right at the beginning, as soon as you can. There are myriad threats to your data, your identity, and your privacy, and there are a number of features that you can use on your Mac to protect you. Here are eight features you should set up on your new Mac.
Apple has released the new Mac Pro, along with updates for all its operating systems this week. Google Chrome gets a serious update, Google Maps gets incognito mode, and the Ring doorbell leaks some location data allowing journalists to create heat maps of Ring-protected homes. Plus an AirDrop vulnerability, a tweet with an iPhone decryption key, and more.
Apple has released macOS 10.15.2, and one of the big features in the Music app is the return of the column browser. As I wrote back in August, the loss of the column browser was devastating. It was the best way to navigate large libraries, and without it, it was painful to choose music.
Go to System Preferences > Software Update and get the latest version of macOS. Then, in the Music app, go into Songs view and press Command-B to display the column browser.
This update also fixes the issue where the iTunes Remote app on iOS didn’t work with the Music app.