Do you have trouble concentrating at work because of a loud office environment? Or do you work at home and want to block out the sounds of kids or appliances? In macOS 13 Ventura, Apple added background sounds you can play to mask what’s going on around you. Go to System Settings > Accessibility > Audio and enable Background Sounds. You can pick a sound, set the volume, and select an option to turn the sound off when your Mac is inactive. Next time you’re mentally stewing over it being too loud to work, try this feature. A pair of AirPods (Pro or Max, in particular) might be helpful, too. If you find background sounds helpful but want more variety, look for websites like A Soft Murmur or apps like Noizio.
(Featured image by iStock.com/Apiwan Borrikonratchata)
Apple is continuing its forays into the financial world with the introduction of Apple Card Savings, a new savings account from Goldman Sachs that offers 4.15% interest with no fees, no minimum deposits, and no minimum balance requirements. The Savings account is designed to hold your Daily Cash rewards from using the Apple Card, but you can transfer as much as you want into it, up to $250,000. Given the woefully low interest rates offered by many local banks, the Apple Card Savings account may be compelling. It’s easy to manage in Apple’s Wallet app, but it doesn’t integrate with other personal finance apps right now.
We’ve seen an uptick in attacks on Facebook accounts that generate email messages like the one below. It’s saying someone is attempting to reset your Facebook password in order to access your account. If you didn’t ask to reset your Facebook password within the past 5 minutes, do not enter the provided code! In fact, do nothing with a message like this, since you can’t easily tell if it’s a legitimate message from Facebook or a phishing attack. As long as your email account hasn’t been compromised, you have nothing to worry about, but consider any such messages as encouragement to have strong, unique passwords for your email account and any social media services. Also, we highly recommend turning on two-factor authentication for these accounts. Of course, if you get a second message saying that your password was reset, immediately secure your account.
With the original version of the Apple Watch, Apple introduced “grid” view, which shows tiny icons for each app in a random circular pattern, making them difficult to find for most people. Happily, at some point, Apple relented and gave us the more sensible list view, which shows all the apps—with their names—sorted alphabetically. If your Apple Watch shows apps in grid view when you press the Digital Crown, fix it by opening the Watch app on your iPhone, tapping App View, and selecting List View. You can also do this on the watch itself in the Settings app.
By now, you’ve probably seen a new form of update for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS: the Rapid Security Response. Early in May, Apple released the first instances of these updates, which the company had promised for iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 Ventura when those operating systems were first announced. Let’s answer some of the questions we’ve been hearing.
Apple has quietly announced that it is shutting down the My Photo Stream service, the company’s first iCloud-based effort at helping users sync photos between devices. My Photo Stream had numerous limitations but was free and didn’t count against iCloud storage quotas. If you’re still using My Photo Stream, note that photos will stop uploading as of June 26, and all My Photo Stream photos will be removed from iCloud on July 26; they’ll remain on your individual devices. Apple is encouraging all remaining My Photo Stream users to switch to iCloud Photos, which is more capable in every way but might require you to pay for additional iCloud+ storage to hold your photo library. Those who don’t want their photos in the cloud might check out Mylio Photos+. Contact us if you need assistance migrating to iCloud Photos or ensuring all your various photos are backed up securely.
Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote (full video or 2-minute recap) is primarily an opportunity for Apple to give developers a first look at new features coming in its operating systems, and this year was no exception. However, Apple sandwiched those feature reveals between announcements of new Macs and the unveiling of its mixed-reality Vision Pro headset, due next year. Here’s what you should know.
By default, when you take a screenshot (instructions for iPhone and iPad), it saves to Photos. But what if you don’t want something like a quick image of a map for a friend to clutter your Photos library? In iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple has added new options. When you tap the screenshot thumbnail that appears briefly after pressing the capture buttons, you can crop and mark up your image. Or not. The key is that when you’re ready, tap Done to get an option to Copy and Delete, which is great when all you want to do is paste the screenshot into a Messages conversation or Mail message. You can also save to Photos, Files, or Notes, or just trash the screenshot if you’ve changed your mind.
Many businesses, schools, and other organizations have adopted cloud storage services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive for excellent reasons. Cloud storage provides a centralized spot for shared data without the up-front cost or maintenance issues of a network-attached storage device. It also allows individuals to access the same files on multiple devices and significantly enhances collaboration by allowing multiple people to work on the same file.
Sometimes apps can be too helpful. Apple’s Mail on the Mac likes to turn pasted website addresses into graphically rich previews, and sometimes that’s OK. But other times, the preview is confusing or takes up too much space. Or you may want to send a plain link so the recipient can see its text. There are three ways to avoid rich link previews:
The Mac’s Desktop is a remarkably useful place. It’s a good spot for in-progress documents, screenshots, images dragged out of Web pages, and more. However, app windows tend to obscure the Desktop, making it harder to use. There are two quick ways you can temporarily hide windows, making it easy to access icons on the Desktop. In macOS 13 Ventura, in System Settings > Desktop & Dock, click the Shortcuts button at the bottom and assign a keyboard shortcut to Show Desktop (we like the Right Option key). Or click Hot Corners and choose Desktop for one of the corners. (In macOS 12 Monterey and earlier, look in System Preferences > Mission Control.) Then, press that keyboard shortcut or put your pointer in that corner to move your windows aside temporarily. When you’re done, press the key or move the pointer there again to put the windows back.
(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/AmnajKhetsamtip)
Would you like to create a curated collection of your photos, letters, recipes, audio files, text messages and other documents that you can share with family or friends? If so, consider taking Mirja Heide’s four-week course at Edmonds College starting Thursday May 18th from 6-8 PM. The course costs $99. In this course, you will learn how to set up a permanent online home for preserving your memories. You will be able to start to build a collection of your most cherished items.
Bring your Windows PC or Mac laptop to class if you’re able.
Instructional handouts will be provided and take-home assignments given each week.
If your iPhone were to be stolen or suffer an unfortunate accident, would you lose all your precious photos? Those using iCloud Photos are probably shaking their heads smugly, thinking that all those baby and vacation photos are backed up securely in iCloud. iCloud Photos does indeed store a copy of all your photos, but you shouldn’t assume that everything in it is completely protected. Although it’s extremely unlikely that Apple’s systems would fail so that you’d lose anything, the contents of your iCloud account aren’t as safe as would be ideal.
It’s a question as old as the personal computer. When should you replace your current Mac with a new model that’s faster and more capable? If money were no object, the answer would be easy—whenever you feel like it. For the rest of us, and particularly for organizations with multiple Macs and limited budgets, the question is harder to answer. But answer it we must because most of us can’t do our jobs without a Mac.
No one intends to drop their iPhone in a pool or fall off a boat with their iPhone in a pocket. But accidents happen. Happily, Apple has designed the iPhone with significant levels of splash and water resistance, so brief exposure to rain or even a quick dunk might not cause any problems. If your iPhone does get wet, follow our advice below to dry it out before calling for more help.
This is troubling. Joanna Stern and Nicole Nguyen of the Wall Street Journal have published an article (paywalled) and accompanying video that describes attacks on hundreds of iPhone users in major cities throughout the United States. Some attacks involve drugging people in bars or even violence, but the most avoidable involve the thief or a confederate surreptitiously observing the iPhone user entering their passcode before snatching the iPhone and running.
Most of us rely on Messages every day to text with family, friends, and colleagues. Not surprisingly, we’ve fielded numerous questions surrounding common confusions with this popular app. We hope our answers here will help you use Messages more effectively and work around problems.
There are many reasons you might want to get rid of apps from your iPhone or iPad. To begin, touch and hold on a blank spot on a Home Screen to enter “jiggle mode.” Then tap the ⊝ icon for any app to see the question about whether to delete the app entirely or merely remove it from the Home Screen. Delete the app if you don’t want to use it anymore or need to reclaim the space it occupies. (You can download it from the App Store again.) Remove the app from the Home Screen if you want to reduce clutter, keep the app on your device, and don’t mind opening it from the App Library (swipe left past all the Home Screens) or from Search (swipe down from the middle of the screen).
(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/Photosbypatrik)
Phishing is becoming an ever more common way for people to get in trouble when using the Internet. A phishing attack is some communication, usually an email, that tries to lure you into revealing login credentials, financial information, or other confidential details.