In a move that should surprise no one, Apple has discontinued macOS Server, which started out as a server-focused version of Mac OS X and eventually morphed into a set of add-on network servers for macOS. Exactly what was in macOS Server varied over time, but in 2018, Apple trimmed it to just Profile Manager, Open Directory, and Xsan. That was made possible in part because Apple integrated Caching Server, File Sharing Server, and Time Machine Server into every installation of macOS 10.13 High Sierra and later. If you’re still using macOS Server, you can continue to download (look through your purchases) and use the app with macOS 12 Monterey, but it’s time to start planning your migration since Apple says macOS Server won’t work at all in the next version of macOS. Contact us if you need advice on the best way to proceed.
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Prior to iOS 13, when you were editing text on an iPhone or iPad, Apple provided a magnifying glass that showed the position of the insertion point. It worked, but was clumsier than just moving the insertion point directly, which is what Apple enabled in iOS 13 and iOS 14. The only problem? Your finger usually obscures the text you want to edit. In iOS 15, Apple brought back the text magnification bubble to show you where the insertion point is in the text under your finger. If you’ve missed that feature, touch and hold on some text and drag the insertion point. Even easier is trackpad mode on the iPhone, which lets you touch and hold the Space bar to turn the entire keyboard area into a virtual trackpad that lets you move the insertion point above.
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You know that you can drag files or folders to the Trash icon in the Dock for later deletion. And you probably know that you can select multiple items on the Desktop or in a Finder window by Command-clicking each one in turn (Shift-click to select a sequential range of items in a list view), after which you can drag them all to the Trash. But there’s no reason to expend effort mousing if you prefer to keep your hands on the keyboard—just press Command-Delete to send one or more selected files and folders directly to the Trash. Finally, if you need your disk space back right away, press Command-Shift-Delete to empty the Trash. However, we recommend not emptying the Trash frequently—that way, you have a chance to recover something you discover that you needed after trashing it.
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The iPhone’s Calendar app defaults to graphical views for Day, Week (rotate to landscape), Month, and Year, but only the Day view shows information about your actual events, and even then, it’s easy to miss events that are outside the times that fit onscreen. If you find those views frustrating, you may have missed the all-important list view options. In Month view, tap the List button ➊ to split the screen, showing the calendar above and a list of events for the selected day below. In Day view, tap the List button ➋ to switch to a more easily scanned list for each day.
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Shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple made it so your Apple Watch could unlock your Face ID-enabled iPhone when you were wearing a mask. Starting in iOS 15.4, the company has taken the next step and enabled Face ID on the iPhone 12 and later to work even when you’re wearing a mask. If you didn’t already set up Face ID with a mask after updating to iOS 15.4, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and enable Face ID with a Mask. You’ll have to run through the Face ID training sequence again, and more than once if you sometimes wear glasses, but it’s quick and easy. Face ID may not work quite as well when you’re wearing a mask, and it doesn’t support sunglasses, but it’s way better than having to enter your passcode whenever you’re masked.
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Do you need to be careful about how much data you use with your iPhone or iPad, either via cellular or Wi-Fi? That could be true for those with Internet data caps, people using an international plan while traveling, and anyone in an area with slow data speeds. To reduce your data usage, turn on Low Data Mode, which you can do separately for cellular and Wi-Fi. For cellular, look in Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options, where you can either enable Low Data Mode for LTE/4G or take one more step into Data Mode for 5G. If you’re using two plans with a dual SIM iPhone, you can set each one separately. For Wi-Fi, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and tap the i button next to the desired Wi-Fi network and then tap Low Data Mode. Apple lists what you can expect to change in Low Data Mode. If you need a similar capability for the Mac, check out TripMode.
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Although Apple has improved the built-in password management features in macOS and iOS (you can now add notes to password entries!), third-party password managers like 1Password and LastPass are still more capable. For those still getting started using a password manager, another new capability will ease the transition: Safari password export. To export a CSV file of your Safari passwords, choose Safari > Preferences > Passwords, and enter your password when prompted. From the bottom of the left-hand sidebar, click the ••• button, choose Export All Passwords, and save the Passwords.csv file to the Desktop. After you import the file into 1Password (instructions), LastPass (instructions), or another password manager, be sure to delete the exported file and empty the trash.
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Although the Mac’s Dock shows all your running apps, it’s often not the most efficient way to switch among them. Instead, turn to the App Switcher. You may know that pressing Command-Tab switches to the last-used app, making it easy to flip back and forth between two apps. However, if you press Command-Tab and continue to hold the Command key down, the App Switcher itself appears, with icons for all running apps. When you let up on the Command key, the App Switcher disappears, and you’ll switch to the selected app. To select an app, while the Command key is down, press Tab or Shift-Tab to cycle through the apps, or hover your pointer over the desired app. You can also click the desired app to switch to it instantly, without letting up on the Command key. And if you want to dismiss the App Switcher without switching apps, press Esc.
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Normally, when you rotate an iPad, the screen happily flips from portrait (vertical) to landscape (horizontal) orientation as appropriate. Rotating an iPhone has the same effect in some apps, though many are written to work only in one orientation. If you ever end up in a situation where your device’s screen doesn’t rotate when you think it should, the reason is likely that Rotation Lock has been turned on in Control Center. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen (or up from the bottom of the screen on a Touch ID iPhone) and disable the Rotation Lock button. You can turn it on again later if you ever want to prevent the screen from rotating temporarily.
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We’ve become accustomed to our iPhones and iPads switching into Low Power Mode to preserve battery life, and you can enable it manually if you want to reduce power usage for a day. New in macOS 12 Monterey for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is a similar feature, though you must enable it manually. Open System Preferences > Battery, click Battery in the sidebar, and select Low Power Mode. It reduces the screen brightness automatically and may decrease CPU performance. Make sure to turn it off once you don’t need it anymore.
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In iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Apple added a feature that would have been even more welcome before the advent of the App Library: the capability to manage apps from Search. But it’s still handy as a way to delete or position an app you can’t find on a Home screen page. Swipe down from the middle of the Home screen to enter Search, after which you can work with any app you see in Siri Suggestions or find with a search ➊. Touch and hold an app to display its contextual menu ➋, including a Delete App option. Or touch and hold it and start dragging to move it to a Home screen page ➌. Bonus: you can even drag an app out multiple times to put it on multiple Home screen pages or in multiple folders!
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For years now, Apple has made transparency a part of the macOS interface, which has the effect of blending the menu bar into the background and making menus and some windows take on the background hue, as you can see on the left side of the illustration below. For many people, transparency blurs the interface, making it harder to differentiate interface elements from the wallpaper. It also causes problems for screenshots meant for publication because the images end up with unrepresentative color levels. To prevent that from happening, open System Preferences > Accessibility > Display and select Reduce Transparency. It can be a significant difference, as you can see on the right side of the illustration below.
(Featured image by Adam Engst)
Back in iOS 14, Apple added the App Library, which collects all the apps on your iPhone. With everything available in the App Library, iOS 14 was also able to provide the option of hiding Home screen pages, a boon for those of us with too many disorganized pages. In iOS 15, Apple has taken the next step. You can still hide Home screen pages, but if you never want to see them again, you can delete them (apps remain in the App Library). Or, if they’re not in the order you want, you can rearrange them. Touch and hold any empty spot on the Home screen to enter jiggle mode. Tap the dots above the Dock that indicate which Home screen page you’re on. In the Edit Pages screen, you can now tap the – button next to a hidden page to delete it ➊. If you want to delete a visible page, first hide it by tapping its checkmark underneath ➋. Or, to rearrange Home screen pages, drag a thumbnail to a new location ➌. Tap Done or press the Home button when you’re finished.
(Featured image by Adam Engst)
There’s little more frustrating than running out of space, which always seems to happen at just the wrong time. Luckily, Apple makes it easy to check any time, before it becomes a problem. On the Mac, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu and click Storage. On an iPhone or iPad, navigate to Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage. For iCloud, you can look in either System Preferences > Apple ID on the Mac or in Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Manage Storage on an iPhone or iPad. Once you know how much space is consumed by what, you can more easily clear unnecessary data.
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Most of the time, when you unlock your iPhone or iPad, you want to launch an app. In iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you no longer have to unlock the device, find the app on a Home screen page, and tap it. Instead, you can open an app directly from the Lock screen, assuming Settings > Face/Touch ID & Passcode > Today View and Search is turned on. Just swipe down from the middle of the Lock screen ➊ to access the Search screen, which lists apps from Siri Suggestions ➋. You can tap one of those to open it, or you can use the Search field to find an app by name and tap the search result ➌.
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It’s unfortunate that the most recent iteration of the Magic Mouse has its Lightning charging port on the bottom, making it impossible to use while charging, unlike the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, which work fine when plugged in. To check if your Magic Mouse needs charging before it starts to nag (and starts acting a little funky), look in one of these spots. If your menu bar is displaying the Bluetooth icon, click it, and the charge level should show up. Or click the Control Center icon on the menu bar and click Bluetooth. You can also look in System Preferences, in either the Bluetooth preference pane or the Mouse preference pane. In our experience, the Bluetooth menu is the easiest, but Control Center and the Mouse preference pane are the most reliable—sometimes the charge level doesn’t appear in the menu.
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Some people find it hard to find the mouse pointer at times, particularly on a large screen or when working in Dark Mode or in apps with dark interfaces. You’ve long been able to increase the size of the pointer generally and also zoom it temporarily by shaking it, but in macOS 12 Monterey, Apple now lets you change the color of the pointer. That could be a boon to those who have trouble seeing it otherwise. Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Pointer, click the Pointer Fill Color box, and choose a different color in the color picker. You can also choose a different Pointer Outline Color if that’s helpful. After customizing it, if you decide you prefer the old black-and-white version, click the Reset button.
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In previous versions of iOS, you could change the systemwide text size to make all apps—at least those that support Dynamic Type—display text at larger or smaller sizes. (Most people who use this feature want the text larger so it’s easier to read with aging eyes.) In iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, however, Apple lets you adjust the text size on a per-app basis, so you can increase it only for those apps where it really makes a difference for you. First, make sure Text Size is showing in Control Center by going to Settings > Control Center, and if it’s not in Included Controls, tap the green + button for it under More Controls. Then, while in an app where you want bigger text, invoke Control Center, tap the Text Size button, move the vertical slider to the desired setting, and then tap the App Only button so the setting affects only that app, not all apps.
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Siri has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, and we’ve just discovered a new one. Let’s say you set iPhone alarms to wake up and remind you to take medication throughout the day. However, if you don’t have your iPhone handy when those alarms go off, it can be annoying (for both you and others) to find your phone and stop or snooze the alarm. If you have a HomePod, it turns out that you (or someone else) can say, “Hey Siri, snooze the alarm” or “Hey Siri, stop the alarm.” Siri usually asks for confirmation—just reply with “Yes”—and sometimes tells you to continue on the iPhone, but it can be easier than finding the iPhone and stopping the alarm. (And yes, if you’re wearing an Apple Watch, you can stop the alarm from it as well. It’s also possible to set alarms on a HomePod directly, though they’re useful only if you’re guaranteed to be home when they go off.)
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Before macOS 12 Monterey, if you wanted to sell, trade in, or give away your Mac, you had to boot into Recovery, erase the internal drive with Disk Utility, and reinstall macOS to ensure that the new owner would get a fresh start and couldn’t see any of your data. In Monterey, Apple has made the process much easier for newer Macs that use Apple silicon or that are Intel-based with a T2 security chip. Open System Preferences, and from the System Preferences menu (yes, it has menus), choose Erase All Content and Settings. You’ll have to enter an administrator username and password to enter the Erase Assistant. It suggests you back up to Time Machine before erasing, and if you’ve already done that or don’t want to, click Continue. Verify everything that will be erased on the next screen and click Continue. Finally, log out of your Apple ID when prompted to complete the erasure.
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