Batteries are essential to our portable devices. For many of us, in our everyday use of Macs and iOS devices, we don’t have to worry too much about this. Modern iPhones and iPads provide a full day‘s battery life, and if you use a portable Mac, you can probably get through the day unless you are using battery-intensive apps.
But sometimes you can’t. If you’re away from home or the office for a long time, you either need to take a portable battery pack with you, or carry a charger and go hunting for available plugs. And, as your devices get older, their batteries lose capacity. This means that instead of, say, a full day of power for your iPhone, you may need to charge it sometime in the afternoon.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how you can check on your battery to see what its capacity is, and how to find which apps use the most power so you can get rid of them to ensure that your devices’ batteries last as long as possible.
In a recent article, we looked at how you get software updates on your Mac. You get updates in three ways. If you bought apps from the Mac App Store, that app provides updates. If you bought apps directly from developers, they apps generally use their own update system; occasionally you may need to download an update from a developer’s website. And for macOS updates and security updates, it’s the Software Update preference pane that manages these updates.
Some people prefer to update their apps and Macs manually: they check the Mac App Store or the Software Update preference pane to see when updates are available, or they react when their Macs present notifications. Others prefer to let all this occur automatically. In the latter case, you may not even notice many of the updates: they can happen in the background, though you do need to restart your Mac for major operating system and security updates. And your Mac can automatically, and silently, install “system data files and security updates” in the background without telling you.
There’s no easy way to find what has been updated, especially if updates have been made automatically in the background. You can check the Mac App Store’s Updates section to see which apps have been updated, but it only shows the most recent updates; and there’s no log for system updates. In this article, I’ll tell you how you can see a list of everything that’s been updated, automatically or manually, on your Mac via the Mac App Store and Software Update.
Apple updated all its operating systems again this week, but a jailbreak vulnerability was found quickly. We discuss the new contact tracing feature in iOS, how to free up storage on an iOS device, and give some tips on shooting video on an iPhone.
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.
We look at some practical tips for getting more out of your Mac, iPad, and Apple Watch. We take a close look at System Preferences, discuss using the iPad as a second screen for your Mac; and a handful of tips for making the Apple Watch more efficient. Also, Josh and Kirk disagree about Microsoft’s choice to flag two spaces after a period in Word as an error.
Check out The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.
To make your browsing experience more efficient, web browsers cache data, which means they store files on your computer. They do this so when you return to a website, you don’t need to download all if its elements. For example, if you regularly view a web page that contains a number of graphics, not downloading those graphics will save time, and save bandwidth, both for you and for the web host.
Sometimes, however, you may want or need to delete that cache. This is a first-line troubleshooting technique when you are having difficulty displaying web pages. Different browsers have different methods for doing this, and Apple’s Safari makes this complicated, for some reason. Here’s how you can delete your Safari browser cache.
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.”