Keep Your Contacts Current by Adding Siri-Suggested Content

Picture of a Rolodex on a yellow background.

Remembering to update your contacts with new email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses can be hard. But if you’ve received that information in Mail or Messages, Siri’s data detection capabilities can help. Open Contacts on the Mac and press the Down arrow to cycle through your contacts. When you see one with information in light gray and a parenthetical like (Siri Found in Mail), click the ⓘ button to the right ➊ to see some context in the source message. If the information is correct, click Add to Contact ➋ to keep it.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/Brett_Hondow)

Time Machine Now Offers Daily and Weekly Frequencies

Time Machine calendar page photo

Since its inception, Time Machine has backed up on an hourly schedule. It then keeps hourly backups for the previous 24 hours, daily backups for the last month, and weekly backups back to the start of the backup. Once free space on the backup drive gets low, Time Machine deletes older backups to make room for new ones, always maintaining at least one copy of every backed-up file. The traditional hourly backups are usually fine, but starting in macOS 13 Ventura, Apple lets you choose a daily or weekly schedule instead. Read More from “Time Machine Now Offers Daily and Weekly Frequencies”

Use StandBy to Make Your iPhone into a Clock, Photo Frame, and More

The new Standby mode turns your iPhone into a digital picture frame, clock, or customizable widget display—and it remembers which approach you prefer in different locations.

iOS 17 brings a new mode for the iPhone: StandBy. All you have to do is connect your iPhone to a charger wirelessly or with a cable, position it on its side in landscape orientation, and press the side button to lock the screen. Standby works best with a MagSafe charging stand. Read More from “Use StandBy to Make Your iPhone into a Clock, Photo Frame, and More”

Concerned by the Privacy or Results of Google Search? Try These Other Search Engines

Google is big. Google Search generated $225 billion in revenue in 2022, thanks in part to being the default search engine on all Apple devices. To retain that position—and continue to reap the ad revenue that it generates—Google pays Apple about $18 billion every year. Along with Apple, Google pays billions to phone manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Motorola; major wireless carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; and browser developers like Mozilla and Opera.

So is Google Search’s 90% market share because it’s the best search engine or because Google has enough money to pay distributors for top placement? Read More from “Concerned by the Privacy or Results of Google Search? Try These Other Search Engines”

Improve Your Digital Security in 2024 with These New Year’s Resolutions

Get ready for a safer 2024 with New Year’s resolutions that will help you secure your devices, avoid scams, block malware, and enjoy the security and ease of use of password managers.

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2024! For many of us, starting a new year means reflecting on fresh habits we’d like to adopt. Although we support any resolutions you may have made to get enough sleep, eat better, exercise more, and reduce social media usage, allow us suggest a few more that will improve your digital security and reduce the chances that bad things will happen to you online. Read More from “Improve Your Digital Security in 2024 with These New Year’s Resolutions”

Everything You Need to Know about Taking Screenshots on the Mac

Many people use screenshots to clip portions of their Mac screen for later reference. For example, you could save a screenshot of an error dialog to show tech support, store a confirmation number from a Web page, or keep a chat from social media. You can even record screen movies to show a developer how their app is misbehaving. Read More from “Everything You Need to Know about Taking Screenshots on the Mac”

Locate a Featured Lock Screen Image in Photos

iOS’s Photo Shuffle wallpaper does a great job of identifying attractive photos for your Lock Screen. However, if you’re like us, you’ll sometimes wonder when or where you took a Lock Screen photo. Here’s how to figure that out. Touch and hold the Lock Screen when it’s displaying the photo in question, tap Customize, tap the Lock Screen wallpaper, tap the ••• button in the lower-right corner, and tap Show Photo in Library. Then you can swipe up to reveal more information about the photo, swipe left and right to see the photos on either side, or pinch to see it in the context of your entire photo library. Read More from “Locate a Featured Lock Screen Image in Photos”

Use This Hidden Setting to Stop Triggering Caps Lock Accidentally

There’s little more annoying than accidentally touching the Caps Lock key while typing and having your text suddenly TURN INTO CAPITAL LETTERS, which we all know is seen as shouting. Unless you have some reason to type in capital letters regularly, you can prevent this mistake by disabling the Caps Lock key or remapping it to another modifier key. In macOS 13 Ventura and later, choose System Settings > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Modifier Keys, and choose from the pop-up menu next to Caps Lock. (In earlier versions of macOS, open System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys.) Read More from “Use This Hidden Setting to Stop Triggering Caps Lock Accidentally”

If Mail Fails to Send, Try, Try Again (Instead of Changing Servers)

Sometimes, something goes wrong, causing Mail on the Mac to have trouble sending a message. When it does, you may see an error like the one below, encouraging you with a default button to try another configured server. Don’t do it! Always click Try Later. If that still doesn’t work, contact your favorite tech support professional to troubleshoot the problem with the SMTP server associated with the account from which you’re sending. Attempting to send through another SMTP server is a recipe for trouble because various anti-spam checks may fail, causing your message to be filtered as spam or bounced back to you. Worse, if you select a different server and click Try With Selected Server, Mail remembers that choice going forward, so you will have to reset it manually later. Read More from “If Mail Fails to Send, Try, Try Again (Instead of Changing Servers)”

Feel Free to Upgrade to macOS 14 Sonoma When You’re Ready

Although we’re cautious about recommending that people upgrade to the latest major release of macOS, we think Apple has done a good enough job with macOS 14 Sonoma that anyone who wants to upgrade can do so now. That doesn’t mean you have to upgrade immediately, but there’s no major reason most people need to delay. Read More from “Feel Free to Upgrade to macOS 14 Sonoma When You’re Ready”

No, NameDrop in iOS 17 Isn’t a Privacy Concern. Here’s How to Use It

One of the prominent new features in iOS 17.1 and watchOS 10.1 is NameDrop, which makes it easy to exchange contact information with someone merely by putting your iPhone or Apple Watch next to theirs. When you do that, you can share your contact card and receive theirs, or just receive theirs—nothing happens unless you initiate an action. Read More from “No, NameDrop in iOS 17 Isn’t a Privacy Concern. Here’s How to Use It”

Use iOS 17’s Check In Feature to Reduce Worry

We’ve all had a friend or family member say, “Text me when you get home,” because they want the peace of mind from knowing you arrived safely. But what if something goes wrong—or you forget—so they never receive that text? They’ll be worried and won’t know where you are, if you’re OK, and so on.

In iOS 17, Apple has introduced the Check In feature to provide peace of mind—or in the worst case, to help emergency services. Read More from “Use iOS 17’s Check In Feature to Reduce Worry”

The “Hey” Part of “Hey Siri” Is Now Optional

If you use Siri, particularly on a HomePod, you’re probably accustomed to saying “Hey Siri” as the trigger phrase before your requests. In Apple’s new operating systems for 2023, you can now choose to invoke Siri using the traditional “Hey Siri” or just “Siri” (at least in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US). You might appreciate being able to stop saying “Hey” every time, or you might find that using just “Siri” generates incorrect activations. (And if someone in your family’s name sounds like Siri, you may want to turn the feature off entirely!) There are four places to look: Read More from “The “Hey” Part of “Hey Siri” Is Now Optional”

New M3 Chip Family Powers Updated MacBook Pros and 24-inch iMac

At Apple’s Halloween-themed Scary Fast event on October 30, the company unveiled its next-generation Apple silicon chips for Macs, the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. Apple also showcased new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models and a faster version of the 24-inch iMac based on these chips. They’re available to order now, with units in stores and orders starting to arrive on November 7, apart from the M3 Max models that will arrive in late November. Apple also dropped the awkwardly positioned 13-inch MacBook Pro model from the lineup, leaving the low end to the highly capable MacBook Air. Read More from “New M3 Chip Family Powers Updated MacBook Pros and 24-inch iMac”

Is Your Mac Running Low on Disk Space? Here’s How to Delete Unnecessary Files

Is your Mac low on drive space? Learn how to use Apple’s built-in storage management capabilities—perhaps supplemented with a third-party utility—to find and delete gigabytes of unnecessary files.

Between apps, photos, videos, music, and downloads, it’s easy to fill up your Mac’s drive, particularly one with just 128 or 256 GB of drive space. macOS warns you when you get too low on space, but those warnings may come late—for optimum Mac performance, we recommend you keep at least 10–20% of your drive free for new downloads and virtual memory swap files. There are excellent utilities that help you find and delete unnecessary files, such as the free GrandPerspective, the $9.99 DaisyDisk, and the $14.99 WhatSize, but Apple’s built-in storage management capabilities will likely be all you need. Read More from “Is Your Mac Running Low on Disk Space? Here’s How to Delete Unnecessary Files”

Want to Password-Protect a PDF? Follow These Best Practices

If you have a PDF with confidential information that you want to share, you can set a password to restrict opening, printing, or editing. We have instructions for Preview and Adobe Acrobat, plus advice on ensuring your document stays secure.

We periodically field questions about password-protecting a PDF to prevent the wrong people from reading it. Lawyers want to ensure that drafts of legal documents don’t fall into the wrong hands, financial advisers want to keep confidential financial information private, and authors want to prevent their writing from being shared broadly on the Internet. Others don’t worry so much about a document being read but want to ensure that it can’t be changed or printed.

PDF provides options for password-protecting documents for just these reasons, and you can add such protection to your PDFs in both Apple’s Preview and Adobe Acrobat. We’ll explain how to do that, but before we do, we want to share some best practices to increase the likelihood that your PDFs will remain protected as you wish. Read More from “Want to Password-Protect a PDF? Follow These Best Practices”

Keep a USB Keyboard and Mouse for Troubleshooting

The minimalist approach with a wireless keyboard and mouse is good most of the time, but if things go wrong, it can be handy to have a wired USB keyboard and mouse available for troubleshooting.

Steve Jobs famously railed against cable clutter, and it’s now easy to use a desktop Mac with a wireless keyboard and mouse, either from Apple or another manufacturer. That’s fine for regular usage, but Bluetooth keyboards and mice aren’t always sufficient. Batteries wear out, pairing can fail, and wireless interference can cause lags or spurious inputs. Plus, if you need to boot into macOS Recovery, wireless input devices may not work. We recommend keeping an extra USB keyboard and mouse—preferably from Apple, but any brand will work—to use in case you have problems with your wireless versions. If you don’t have a keyboard and mouse left over from an old Mac, a friend or family member may be happy to give you theirs, or you can probably find them for next to nothing at a local reuse store. Read More from “Keep a USB Keyboard and Mouse for Troubleshooting”

Tired of Nonstop Cookie Popups? Dismiss Them Automatically with These Extensions

If you’re as annoyed as we are by constant cookie consent popups on seemingly every website these days, check out our recommendations for browser extensions that can banish them for good.

The European Union has for many years required that websites—at least those serving European users—gain informed consent before storing the personal data of those users. That data includes cookies, which are bits of information stored in Web browsers that websites can read and write. Cookies are widely used for remembering login information, saving user account information, maintaining a shopping cart, and other legitimate purposes. However, they’re also used to target advertising at you by tracking your behavior across websites, which many people consider to be an abuse of user privacy. Hence the EU’s ePrivacy Directive, which resulted in the proliferation of cookie consent popups like this one. Read More from “Tired of Nonstop Cookie Popups? Dismiss Them Automatically with These Extensions”

Forget Your Just-Changed Passcode? iOS 17’s Passcode Reset Has Your Back

If you change your passcode and can’t remember it (or it was changed for you by a prankster), iOS 17 lets you use your old passcode for 72 hours. It’s a helpful backstop for the results of a memory lapse or mischievous child.

The hardest time to remember your iPhone or iPad passcode is right after you’ve changed it. Generally speaking, there’s no reason to change your passcode, but if you inadvertently or intentionally shared it with someone with whom you wouldn’t trust your bank account information, changing it to something new is a good idea. Read More from “Forget Your Just-Changed Passcode? iOS 17’s Passcode Reset Has Your Back”