Oct 20

Change your Apple ID password today


Your Apple ID is your link to Apple and is plugged into every service from iTunes to the Appstore.

Recently reports are coming in of Apple ID accounts being hacked.


Details are sketchy because this is very new, but it seems that those affective have been reporting odd messages appearing in their phone (all written in Chinese) and notifications of foreign devices gaining access to the Apple ID.

Apple have posted a number of guides to help those affected but the bottom line is, change your Apple ID password and turn on two step authentication. Something that really should have been turned on since day one.

So as not to re-invent the wheel, here are some guides that will help.

First, changing your Apple ID password.

Then, two step verification.

Finally, a general guide form Apple on Apple ID management.

Good luck and, as always, if you need help please call to arrange a call out.


Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/change-your-apple-id-password-today/

Oct 16

New iOS 10 feature is not as daft as you think


Two things I hear a lot lately.

“I just upgraded to iOS 10.” 

“I hate the fact you cannot slide to unlock, stupidest idea ever!”

I said in a previous article that the removal of the swipe feature, more than any other, was going to take some time to get used too.

In actual fact it is not as daft as it first appears… let me explain.

Basically there are two types of iPhones out there, those with Touch ID and those without.

For those with Touch ID nothing has really changed… you tap on the button to wake up the screen and, with Touch ID being as sensitive as it is, you are logged in as well. A one step process.

For those without Touch ID, before iOS10, you tapped the home button to wake up the phone and then you swiped to the right to unlock. Then you typed in your code. A three step process.

So at the very least, this new method of tapping on the home button twice has added nothing to the process of unlocking your phone, its just the muscle memory of swiping as soon as you tap that causes confusion.

However, when you consider that there is now a Raise to Wake feature that eliminates the need to tap to wake, a step has been removed.

Having said all of that there are some things you can do to make life a little easier… at least until you wean yourself off the slide to the right habit.

Removing Control Centre

While you thumb has a mind of its own, you are going to find yourself visiting the Control centre every time you swipe to the right. To stop this you can turn off Control access doing the following:

  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Tap on Control Centre
  3. Turn off Access on Lock Screen


Make Touch ID work just the way it used too

If you don’t want to tap the home button twice, you can change the settings of the home button to react to a simple resting of the finger and the phone will unlock.

  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Tap on General
  3. Tap on Accessibility
  4. Scroll to the Home button section
  5. Turn on option Rest Finger to Open


Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/new-ios-10-feature-is-not-as-daft-as-you-think/

Oct 12

MacOS Sierra


For the first time ever, Apple are automatically downloading Sierra to your Mac ready for install.
Of course this can be ignored and your mac left untouched. However a lot of people are installing the OS update thinking it is just one of those regular updates that pop up from time to time without realising they are installing a completely new operating system.

So, to those that installed the update… relax, it seems everything will be fine. I have taken the plunge myself and I have quite a bit of old and quirky software, all of which seems to work just fine.

For those that haven’t yet taken the risk I say, go ahead and this is especially true if you are currently running 10.9 and older. If you are still on 10.6.8 you might have some software fallout but this is going to happen soon anyway so you may as well get it over with.

Who can upgrade?
The first thing to note is that this upgrade is limited to models 2009 and older. So, yes, I am sorry to say your 2007 iMac or MacBook is now on Death Row. But fear not, Apple tend to support their OS for a few years at least… 10.9 is still getting updates.

To find out what you have, go to the Apple menu and choose About this Mac.

Here is the list.

MacBook 2009 and later
iMac 2009 and later
MacBook Air 2010 and later
MacBook Pro 2010 and later
Mac mini 2010 and later
Mac Pro 2010 and later

How and where
The upgrade is available from the AppStore or you may find that the Install Sierra application is already sitting in your Applications folder patiently waiting. Double click on this (after you make sure your backup is up to date of course) and you’ll be guided through the process in the usual way. It takes about 60 mins.

What’s new?
The first thing you’ll wonder is… has the upgrade worked? The look and feel of the OS really hasn’t changed all that much, but the functionality and productivity sure has.

Siri is now, at last, thank God, about time, on the Mac. By default you’ll see a new Siri icon in the dock, as well as an icon in the menu bar.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-12-13-00-am screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-12-13-09-am

Clicking on any of these will release Siri’s fury and you can pretty much ask her to do anything.

Saying “Send an email to Stephen Fry about up and coming events” will have Siri go through the usual steps of inserting the text “up and coming events” into the subject field and then then ask for the body of the email.


Saying “When I arrive at home remind me to call my wife.” will see a reminder created on the Mac that will also, thanks to the black magic of iCloud, make it’s way to my iPhone to make sure I call her as ordered. Thus keeping her happy and saving my life into the bargain.


“List all the PDF’s about Donald Trump”  will list them and then, if it has any decency, delete them.


Hint: Go to System Preferences / Sound / Input and check Use ambient sound reduction and this will help Siri understand you in a noisy environment.

Apple Pay on the desktop
This feature is limited to a few ANZ and AMEX customers because the rest of the banks are too stupid, rigid, greedy or dull (your choice) to adopt Apple Pay. A system I hasten to add is now available in Russia, is still held up by the three of the big four banks. It has been over 2 years now!
With Apple Pay now baked into Safari, if you see something you want to buy (and that merchant supports Apple Pay) you can simply use your Watch or iPhone to pay for it. No more entering banking details.

Unlock with Apple Watch
And speaking of Apple Watch… you can now have your Mac automatically unlock as you approach if you wearing your Apple Watch. No more entering your password 500 times a day. This however is limited to newer Macs that support later versions of Bluetooth.

Documents in iCloud
Unfortunately this relies on a good quality internet and this, like a flexible and progressive banking system, is open to only the select few. Roughly speaking when you install Sierra you’ll be asked if you want to store all your desktop items and documents in iCloud.
However, before you say “yes” think about what this might mean.
Firstly, now much data is on your desktop or in your documents folder? Personally my documents folder is 251GB and that would kill my iCloud folder (unless I bought a 1TB of space at $14.99 a month) and then there is the question of internet speed and reliability.
And we all know how iffy that is.
In theory the idea of having all my documents available to me no matter what device is fantastic.
It is just a shame that it relies on Australia’s internet infrastructure… which sucks.

Hard disk management
Aside from the phrase ‘There are so many passwords these days’, the other I hear most often is ‘I am sure there is a lot of rubbish on this mac,’.
Sierra’s new disk management feature will throw some much needed light on these files that lurk in the shadows, getting fat and taking up precious disk space. But like most other automatic disk cleaning tools this can be a blessing or curse because the software can sometimes make suggestions that, should they be followed, lead to disaster.
I will give you a classic example, but first lets look at the feature in action.

1. I go to the Apple menu
2. Then I choose About this Mac
3. Then I click on the Storage tab and then Manage…


The first thing you’ll see is the offer to Store your files in iCloud, see comments above.

Next, there is Optimise Storage. Clicking on the Optimise button you’ll see that it wants to automatically remove watched movies and TV shows and only download recent attachments. This seems like sound advice, just keep in mind if you want to watch that movie again you’ll need to download it.


Empty Trash Automatically. Again, this is a good move and safe to turn on. Trash should be emptied immediately anyway, in my humble opinion, and  if the Mac is going to do it for you, all the better.

Reduce Clutter is possibly the most dangerous option.
Clicking on Review Files and you’ll get a list of all the files, grouped according to type, that are taking up space on your hard disk. Remember my Documents folder? The one that’s 251GB. Choosing this lists all kinds of files and some of these are huge.


The temptation to trash these files and eliminate all that digital flab is very strong. After all, haven’t they been highlighted as electric sheep (apologies to Philip K Dick) for slaughter?
Well the thing is these files are very important and if I did remove them there is a good chance I would cripple one of my most important applications.
As I said earlier… software like this makes dangerous assumptions.
What it does do is break down your clutter and a casual scroll through the contents can reveal all kinds of obvious and recognisable hogs that can be deleted without issue. That movie I made for cousin Martha who no longer speaks to me. Deleted. That MYOB backup from 15 years ago. Deleted.

Last, but certainly not least, are the changes made to Photos.
No, don’t worry it hasn’t changed completely like it did with the introduction of Yosemite. This is a far gentler collection of changes, designed really to eek out even more meaning from your photos.

Upon first installation the Photo app will re-index all your photos and this will render your mac very sluggish indeed. Don’t worry, it will pass.
When it’s finished you’ll have your photos grouped in such collectives as Memories and Places.
Memories, as the name suggests, are collections of photos with a common theme.


And since these photos can be dragged from the very dustiest corners of your albums you might very well see a photo you haven’t seen in ages. These groupings are guaranteed to make you go “awww”

Places, a feature from years back actually, has been reintroduced. Simply a map of the world containing all the photos with location information. Very cool indeed.


All things considered I think Sierra is a good update and unlike years gone by where I recommended a considered wait and see attitude, I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who is currently running 10.10 or 10.11.
My only concerns are really on how many of the new features rely on technologies that belong to the greedy and stupid (aka the Banks) and the utterly disorganised (aka NBN)
However, until they get their acts together there is plenty to enjoy about Sierra.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/macos-sierra/

Sep 18

iPhone 7

iphone-7-jet-blackThere aren’t any surprises anymore.

I remember when I’d wake up early and jump on the web to see the newest iSomething that had been released the night before. I, along with the rest of the world, had no idea what it would look like and no idea what it could do. It was a real event among us nerds and we looked forward to these keynotes the same way kids hang out for Christmas Day.

Nowadays the beans are spilled even before they have had a chance to warm up so we all knew ahead of time what the iPhone 7 was going to look like and, mostly, what it was going to do. We all knew that the speaker jack was going the way of the floppy disk and baggy trousers and we knew it had dual cameras and a new, practically invisible, antenna. So it was hard to be excited when the curtain was finally pulled back and the iPhone 7 was presented to the world.

No gasps. No cheers. No standing ovations. Just polite applause.

But this isn’t Apple’s fault and now that the wrapping has been removed it shouldn’t detract from the product itself.

For the first time a new body shape did not come with the new digit.

The iPhone 3 had a rounded back and was made of plastic. The iPhone 4 was hard edged and made of metal, the iPhone 5 was taller and the iPhone 6 was thinner, larger and rounded at the edges. By contrast the iPhone 7 is practically identical to the 6S – at least in looks and so if you are looking for differentiator then you will have to look within.

The screen is brighter, the whole phone is lighter, the camera has been – as always – improved out of sight (no pun intended) and it is now water proof. All in all it is what an iPhone 6S always wanted to be when it grew up.

And that is saying a lot because the iPhone 6S is, to my mind, the best iPhone ever made.

Oddly the biggest news surrounding this new iPhone has not been about what it has but rather what it hasn’t, namely the removal of the speaker jack. This move has caused many people to rant and rave about how they cannot listen to music while the phone is charging or how they cannot use those old headphones that they just cannot be parted from.

Well the truth is they can charge and listen to music at the same time by either getting a charger/speaker dock or going wireless which would make sense as this is clearly the way of the future.


Also, if the beef is “I just bought a new set of headphones with a jack!” the new iPhone comes with an adapter so they are covered. And for those that don’t care and usually put the supplied headphones in a drawer and forget about them… Apple are still supplying corded headphones that plug into the lightning connector, so these can now be put in a draw as well.


Personally I cannot see what the fuss is about. The phone is mobile by nature, so it seems logical that it be tied to nothing at all. When the Playstation shipped the wireless controller the world cheered and when the remote for the first VCR went from a (very) long cord to infrared everyone wondered why it had taken Panasonic so long to get around to it. But Apple dares to move away from the headphone jack and everyone loses their collective minds!

Personally I have been wireless for a few years and have no intention of returning to the tethered world of tangled cords and a ready made snag line with which to hurl my phone out of my pocket and onto the floor. It all started with a wireless headset for my home amp because I didn’t fancy a cable lying in my dinner or threatening to spill my wine while I was trying to watch a movie with headphones. Then when the Apple Watch came out I had no option but to go wireless if I wanted to listen to music from the Watch while I exercised. Recently I bought  a pair of Bose wireless noise cancelling headphones and they are simply a joy to use. There really is nothing like being able to leave the phone in the bedroom (charging I might add) and listen to music (or take a phone call) while I am cooking or wandering around at the other end of the house.

True music freedom!


Then of course there is the option to invest in the new AirPods. Very similar – minus the cord of course- to the old EarPods in design but the tech is rather impressive. Firstly they have lasers that power up the units when they detect they have been inserted into the ear, ready to work that way for 5 hours solid. They also have sensors that allow the lightest tap to make phone calls or activate Siri. They come in a small charging case that will keep the units charged for 24 hours and automatically pairs with the your iPhone or Apple Watch as soon as it is opened. What I particularly like is the fact that unlike most other Bluetooth headphones there is no cord at all connecting the left and right ear piece so just like your socks, you’ll need to work at keeping them together somehow.


Then there is the new home button. In the past the home button has been a mechanical device, giving feed back when used. The new one is purely digital, relying on haptic feed back and vibration to give you the same response. Early reports suggest this feature takes some getting used to so I encourage a test drive at an Apple store before you lay down the credit card. For my part, I have tested it and in my opinion it is no big deal.

With the Home button now a sealed digital unit and the phone jack gone, Apple have now been able to finally make the iPhone water resistant. While I have never damaged a phone by getting it wet (well, there was that one time but it is too embarrassing to talk about) I am really looking forward not having to worry about the possibility anymore.

One other change for the iPhone has been the colour range. Space grey has been replaced by Jet Black (think piano finish) and Black (think Batman’s outfit)

I haven’t seen these in the flesh yet but early reports are suggesting that the Jet Black option is so shiny that it will collect finger prints like a crazed FBI agent and can attract scratches easily. To my mind, if its black you want then, Batman’s outfit is the only way to go.


Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/iphone-7/

Sep 18

Apple Watch series 2

hero1473326173339The Apple Watch is, as regular readers can attest, a favourite of mine. It helps monitor my health, it has inspired me to get off my rear and exercise and it helps me quickly answer phone calls and texts, and this says nothing for the way it monitors my working day, lets me control gadgets around the home or see how close my wife is to getting home so I can start looking busy.


Understandably then I was all a flutter at the thought of the next Apple Watch being released. However when the actual upgrade was announced it pleased and left me cold in equal measure. Allow me to explain why by way of listing its top features.

Firstly, it looks identical. The rumours of it being thinner didn’t materialise and it is still a square face as apposed to some of the sexier – but ultimately less user friendly – round Smart Watches being produced by Samsung and others. Personally I am OK with this because I think it is a fine looking watch as is. And anyway, I’d rather it be functional than good looking… at least this is what I have heard my wife saying to her friends when I am working around the house.


So the looks alone aren’t enough to make me update.


Secondly, it is waterproof. True, it’s not a diving watch but if I find myself in water deeper than 50 metres I figure I have a lot more to worry about than my Watch leaking. Although many people have reported that they are already swimming and showering with the original Apple Watch, it is now offical. While this was one of the biggest criticisms about the first watch but it has never bothered me because even when I wore a diving watch I wasn’t prone to leaving it on when getting wet.


So again, a welcomed feature for the distractors but a non-event for me.

Thirdly it has built in GPS. Now while this appears to be a big deal for runners and was, like waterproofing, a big issue upon first release, it isn’t something I have missed. I know where I have walked and I feel no need to share the map with others. But, it must be said again… I am no runner.


Lastly it has a new faster CPU. This is a very good move and, like all the other items on this list, is a big step in the right direction. Applications running faster and having more features is undoubtedly a great thing but again its not something I feel I need. I am not upset by the responsiveness of my current watch – especially since watchOS 3 now pre-loads apps into memory – so I am not compelled to update for that feature either.

One feature that was not added and some felt ought to have been was a built in simm allowing phone calls without the phone. Personally I am glad this hasn’t happened and don’t see any reason why it ever should. I mean, lets think about it. First it means you’d need yet another simm. Second, when a call came in you aren’t likely to have a lengthy and in-depth  conversation holding your arm in mid air so as to be heard. Inevitably you are going to end up reaching for your phone to finish the call… something you can do now without the added expense and hassle of another simm.

The new watch is called Series 2 but confusingly they also launched a second watch, based on the first model, with the faster CPU but none of the other new features and this one is called Series 1.

Now I must admit this is very confusing for those that bought an Apple Watch 12 months ago because what do we have if not the first in a series?

It looks like Apple has figured out a new way of sorting things into order. It makes me wonder if Apple had been in charge of naming TV shows in the 90’s we may have ended up with Star Trek: The Next – previous – Generation instead of the one we know and love.

No matter, the new Watch addresses most of the criticism that was flung at the, what, series 0?edition and that should be good enough for anyone. Personally if you have been thinking about an Apple Watch, now if the time to get one. You’ll have a great device that is, in every way, better than mine and I love mine. As for me… I am off to get a new band and leave it at that.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/apple-watch-series-2/

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