Apr 25

Sending large attachments in Apple Mail

maildrop icon

In yesteryear it was considered a sin, punishable by public flogging I am reliably informed, to send an email attachment larger than 2MB.

The reason for this was simply because the average mail server could not handle emails that were larger. For years, if you needed to send large files, you had to commit them to a CD and resort to SnailMail.

The shame!

But of course people still tried and sometimes it worked so, as we always do, we pushed the boundaries until it wasn’t unusual to send a 15MB file via email. Mind you, the email server crashed a fair bit as well in those days.

Then there are people – yours truly included – that simply don’t always realise that the attachment is enormous until people are chasing you with torches and pitchforks for bringing the internet to a standstill.

All in all, it was a mess of fluctuating standards and fuzzy guidelines and a lot of innocent Mail Servers suffered needlessly as a result.

In later years services such as GoogleDrive and DropBox offered people the chance to copy large files to a cloud based service and then simply email a link, thus eliminating the problem.

Except of course this meant your files were in different locations all over your Mac. And then there is the problem of when do you remove the file from DropBox and put it back in your Documents folder.

Oh, its enough to drive one to drink!

Fortunately a number of years ago Apple introduced Mail Drop to the Apple Mail application.

Unfortunately, not many people know about it and so it never gets used.

Let’s put an end to that right now!

Let us assume, no hope, that you are using Apple Mail – the alternatives are too grizzly to even imagine – and you have a large file that needs sending to a friend.

Before trying to send, we need to make sure that Apple Mail has been setup to use Mail Drop and fortunately we only need to do this once.

  1. Open Apple Mail and go to the Mail menu and then Preferences.
  2. Click on the Accounts tab.
  3. Click on the account (if you have more than one) and then click on Account Information.
  4. Ensure that Send large attachments with Mail Drop is checked.turning on Maildrop in Apple Mail
  5. You can then close the Preferences window.
  6. Now, create a new mail, compose  and then attach, in the usual way ,your gargantuan attachment. (up to 5GB in size)
  7. Click on Send.

What happens now is Apple Mail see that the file is large and instead of sending the attachment, copies the file to a secure place in iCloud and replaces it for a link that arrives at the other end.

When your intended victim, err family member, receives the email they see a link that they click on and the attachment is downloaded safely and reliably using a transport protocol better suited to large files.

checking the size of an email

On the other hand, if your next email includes a smaller attachment the email will just be sent in the usual manner. You don’t need to think about it anymore.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/sending-large-attachments-in-apple-mail/

Apr 25

Sending a photo from the Photo app

box wrapped in brown paper

A lot of people had some very negative things to say about Photos when it first came out.

These people complained that they couldn’t find anything, that their Events had disappeared and all the cool features from iPhoto had been removed.

Happily, most of these complaints evaporated like a Trump election promise the minute they discovered how to show the sidebar.

View/Show Sidebar if you didn’t know

This instantly made Photos more familiar and people were able to use it with more confidence.

But this article really isn’t about Photos per se, but rather one of the features that appears to have been neutered but has in fact, like the editing tools and the interface, been made simpler but no less powerful.

In fact, in the case of the editing tools, I would say they are far more powerful than in previous years but that is another article.

This article is about sending photos from the Photos application via email.

In days gone by, in iPhoto, all you did was select a photo(s) and click on the Mail icon. This set in motion cogs that asked you to choose the photo size, thus effecting the overall size of the email, before constructing a standard email ready to address and send. Nothing, not even walking, was easier.

sending a photo in iPhoto

Then Photos came along and ruined the party. Where was the email button? Where was the helpful dialog box that helped you decide how large your email was going to be?

Well, as it turns out, it is all there but because the interface has been made cleaner, it is tucked away.

Anyone who has ever used an iPhone or iPad will have used the SHARE icon more than a few billion times.

iOS share icon

Apple, wishing to blur the lines between desktop and mobile experience has now included this icon in a lot of their desktop applications, and Photos is no exception.

So, here is the new (well, slightly modified) way to send photos…

  1. Open Photos and choose you photo(s)
  2. Now, click on the SHARE icon and there you’ll find Mail. Instantly, your email is constructed, ready to address and send.

sending photo from the Photos app

But what about the size?

I can imagine you saying out loud.

On the left hand side of your email window is a Message Size of, in my case, a whopping 87MB.

On the right hand side, there is a menu that tells you how my images have been attached… in this case Actual Size.

email size when photos are enclosed

Clicking on the Image Size menu means I can reduce the size of the image and this will reduce the size of the overall email.

reduced email size in Photos

Once i am happy with this, I can send.

It is also worth noting that with Maildrop available, I didn’t really need to do this because if the email is hard been too large, Maildrop would have taken over.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/sending-a-photo-from-the-photo-app/

Apr 15

Create a secure PDF file

I have said it many times… a PDF is the way to send a document via email. It can be read by any device, on any platform and the look, the formatting, you intended is never lost.

Fortunately for us Mac users the ability to create a PDF from any document has been part of the operating system since 2001 and the feature was introduced into Windows 10 last year.

I just wish you could see me rolling my eyes.

However, email is not very secure or private. So sending an email with a scanned copy of your birth certificate enclosed would be like putting your bank login details on a postcard and mailing it to the Russian mafia.

Of course there is a better way and that is to password protect your PDF before sending it on its way.

I am going to be using Pages in this example but it works in any and every application.


  1. Open Pages.
  2. Write the great Australian novel.
  3. Click on the File menu and choose Print.

4 .Click on the PDF menu and choose Save as PDF. (you’ll notice that there are lots of other PDF related actions as well, like saving directly to iCloud, or sending it straight to Mail… it’s all very cool)

5. From here you can click on the Security Options button and nominate a password and these passwords can even prevent printing or copying the text to another file.


6. Then you save it to the desktop and attach it to your email.

In my view if you are sending any document it should be in PDF and now, if you want it to remain private, you can add a password as well.

But please don’t get me wrong. This isn’t full proof and there are applications out there that reckon they can  remove passwords from a PDF. But just like the lock on your front door, this will protect you against honest people or just opportunist. If the ASIO want to read your novel there isn’t a lot you can do to stop them.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/create-a-secure-pdf-file/

Mar 28

Macro virus that can affect your Mac


No, it is still true… your Mac is still more secure than a Windows PC. Whether it be because the MacOS is more secure or that there aren’t enough Macs out there for the criminals to bother with, the net result is you are still better protected. However Microsoft uses a technology in their Office suite that is easily hacked and can be used to undo all that security (or obscurity) in one swift stroke.

Visual Basic is a technology that Microsoft has used since Bill Gates was in short pants to deliver automated tasks in Word or Excel.  Open one of these loaded documents and it can perform automated tasks and throw up dialog boxes to help you enter information, etc. A very sexy technology indeed – turning a Word document into a kind of application – but it comes with a sting in the tail.

Essentially how this virus works is; someone sends you a Word or Excel document and when you open that file the Visual Basic script fires up and runs a malicious script. In this particular case, the malicious script figures out what operating system you are running and then downloads files from a special URL in order to turn your Mac into a spam bot or God knows what else.

The best way to avoid this is to a) be very wary of Word or Excel documents that come from untrusted or unexpected sources and b) disable Automatic Macros in Word.

  1. Open Word
  2. Click on the Word Menu and choose Preferences

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.15.48 pm

3. Go to Security

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.15.32 pm

4. Ensure that Macro Security is checked

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.15.39 pm


Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/macro-virus-that-can-effect-your-mac/

Mar 27

Installing Sierra? You might want to avoid this step.



Don’t get me wrong, I think Sierra is a great operating system and have installed it on absolutely anything that will take it.

I love Siri on the desktop, I love Apple Pay in the browser and all the other 160+ improvements that came with it.

I would encourage you to install it but I would warn you to be wary of one feature that can be turned off at install.

The feature I am referring to is “Desktop and Documents in iCloud.” and while the idea is a fine one, the reality – at least in Australia – is something else entirely.

But first, what is this “Desktop and Documents in iCloud” thing anyway?

Put simply it is Apple’s way of ensuring that all your files are kept in sync across all your devices. So, while sitting at your iMac you create a folder on your desktop, it will appear on your MacBook. Write the great Australian novel while  on the train and save it to your Documents folder, it will be on your iMac when you get home.

Great stuff. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that this technology assumes that we have a fast, cheap and reliable internet. And nothing I just wrote is true in this country. When installing Sierra you could inadvertently send 30-40GB of data into the cloud and almost all ISPs in this country will laugh themselves all the way to the bank and take great delight in throttling your speed down to something last experienced in the mid 90’s. And since this step is often overlooked you’ll have no idea why it now takes 12 days to open an email.

By all means, if you are a new Mac user or have a very small documents folder, turn it on an enjoy the convenience – your slow trickle to 30-40GB will not be noticed… but for us old salts who have a Documents folder that started in 2001, the sudden shock would be too much.

During the install you’ll see this dialog box saying “All your files in iCloud” and you’ll be warned how much space this will take up. You should avoid (or allow) depending on your circumstances but I recommend caution before allowing the box to remain checked and clicking Continue.


Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/installing-seirra-you-might-want-avoid-this-now-step/

Older posts «

» Newer posts