We aren’t quite ready to recommend that everyone upgrade to macOS 13 Ventura, but if you use Microsoft Office with macOS 10.15 Catalina, you should start planning for an upgrade. Microsoft has announced that current versions of its productivity suite—Office for Mac 2019, Office for Mac 2021, and Microsoft 365—will receive updates only if your Mac is running macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 12 Monterey, or macOS 13 Ventura. If you keep using Catalina, your Office apps will continue to work, but they won’t receive enhancements, bug fixes, or security updates past October’s 16.66 updates. Contact us if you have questions about appropriate upgrade paths.
(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/jewhyte)
We heard from a client that AutoFill in Safari suddenly stopped entering her name and address in Web forms when she chose Edit > AutoFill Form or pressed Command-Shift-A, forcing her to enter her contact information manually, like an animal. (And yes, the “Using information from my contacts” checkbox was selected in Safari’s AutoFill preferences.) Although we have no idea what caused the problem, the solution turned out to be simple. She went into Contacts, found her personal contact card, and chose Card > Make This My Card. Give this a try if you’re having trouble with AutoFill or haven’t yet started using it in Safari.
(Featured image by Adam Engst)
Photos has long provided a hidden album you could use to hold images you wanted to keep a little more private. Until this year, however, it was security through obscurity: anyone who knew to reveal the album in Settings > Photos on an iPhone or iPad or by choosing View > Show Hidden Album on the Mac could see its contents. Now you can protect it—and the Recently Deleted album—with Face ID or Touch ID on an iPhone or iPad, or Touch ID or your password on a Mac. You can enable this feature in iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 using Settings > Photos > Use Face ID/Touch ID; in macOS 13 Ventura, choose Photos > Settings > General and select “Use Touch ID or password.” From then on, opening those albums will require authentication.
(Featured image by iStock.com/Kenishirotie)
Whatever consumer electronics product you can name, there’s probably a “smart” version that you configure via an app or Internet-connected interface once you’ve connected it to your Wi-Fi network. For ease of setup and to keep costs down, many such devices come pre-configured with not just a default username and password, but the same default username and password as all other units. That’s bad enough, but worse, most people never change those defaults, which is just asking hackers and malicious bots to break in and take over. This risk is real—it has happened to security cameras, baby monitors, light bulbs, DVRs, toasters, refrigerators, and even fish tanks. So, if you received any so-called “Internet of Things” devices for the holidays—or have one or more already installed on your home network—immediately change the usernames (if possible) and passwords to something more secure. Store the new usernames and passwords in your password manager for future reference.
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In iOS 16, Apple tightened security by displaying a confirmation alert when you copy data from one app and paste it into another. More security isn’t bad, but these alerts can become annoying if you copy and paste frequently. In iOS 16.1, Apple added a setting to control the behavior for each app. If you get these alerts too often when pasting in an app, go to Settings > AppName > Paste from Other Apps and switch it from Ask to Allow. Many apps don’t include the setting; hopefully, any apps where you paste often will have this setting or include it soon.
(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/AaronAmat)
Deleting contacts on the iPhone and iPad used to be a pain, especially if you wanted to trash multiple contacts. You had to open the contact, tap Edit, scroll to the bottom, and tap Delete Contact. Although you still can’t swipe left on a contact in a list, as you do when deleting in Mail and Messages, iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 provide a simpler method. Touch and hold a contact in the Phone or Contacts lists, and then tap Delete Contact at the bottom.
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Although iOS and iPadOS are extremely stable, there are times when rebooting your iPhone or iPad can eliminate odd or problematic behavior, and there’s no harm in trying it. In the past, you’ve had to remember which buttons to press or select Settings > General > Shut Down and then press a button to turn the device back on. In iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, however, Siri has learned a new trick: how to reboot iPhones and iPads. Invoke Siri by holding the side button or Home button, and then say, “Reboot” or “Restart this device.” (Using “Hey Siri” can result in unexpected results, and saying “Restart” on its own tends to cause Music to start playing the last song.) Tap Restart, and your device reboots. If only this worked for the Apple Watch and HomePod too!
(Featured image by iStock.com/Wachiwit)
If you find yourself at a family gathering with bored children over the holidays, allow us to recommend an activity that can keep kids engaged. Figure out something the kids can do that involves motion—knocking down a tower of blocks, rolling a ball or toy car down stairs, even just making silly faces—and record them using the Slo-Mo option in the Camera app. Swipe left (iPhone) or down (iPad) on the viewfinder or labels to move from Photo mode to Slo-Mo mode, and then tap the red record button to start filming. Our test kids had fun building tall towers to knock over while filming, giggled madly while watching the videos, and went on to brainstorm other activities to film in slow motion.
(Featured image by iStock.com/Elena Vafina)
Next time you’re flying to visit your Apple-using family or friends, send them your flight number using Messages when you leave. Then they can easily track your flight in the air and see when you’re arriving. Just text them the flight number prefixed with the airline’s abbreviation, like AA for American Airlines, AC for Air Canada, BA for British Air, DL for Delta, or UA for United Airlines. If Messages recognizes the flight number, it will underline it to indicate that tapping or clicking will bring up the current flight information. This feature also helps you extract more information from a texted flight status update that an airline sends to you. If you know a flight number but don’t have it in Messages, you can get the same information on the Mac using Spotlight (press Command-Space). On an iPhone or iPad, use the Search feature (pull down on the Home screen).
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At long last, Apple has plugged one of the most inexplicable holes in its app library—the lack of a Weather app for the iPad and Mac. In iPadOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura, you’ll now find a large-screen version of the iPhone’s iOS 16 Weather app. Locations you enter on one device automatically sync to your other devices, and the feature set is identical across the different platforms. That’s especially welcome now that Apple has integrated all the features of the acquired Dark Sky service, including hyperlocal notifications of incoming weather, next-hour and 12-hour animated forecast maps (tap the map), and time-based graphs of temperature, UV index, wind, precipitation, “feels like” temperature, humidity, visibility, and pressure. Plus, you’ll find cards for air quality and sunrise/sunset times. You no longer need to look elsewhere on the iPad and Mac for a basic weather app!
(Featured image by iStock.com/DNHanlon)
It’s common for one person in a family to handle booking airline tickets and thus to be in charge of checking in for the flight online and downloading boarding passes. If that’s you, what’s the best way to send each iPhone-wielding person in your family their own boarding pass? Rather than tussle with sharing the check-in confirmation email, add all the family boarding passes to Wallet on your iPhone. Then, for each person’s boarding pass, tap the ••• button ➊, tap Pass Details ➋, tap the share icon in the upper-right corner ➌, and share the pass via AirDrop or any other standard method. When the person receives it, they’ll be prompted to add the pass to their Wallet app.
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The iPhone and iPad have long allowed you to share Wi-Fi passwords with other nearby devices and people as long as they were in your Contacts list. But you couldn’t see those passwords, which is handy for sharing with non-Apple users and devices. In iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, you can now view and copy the stored Wi-Fi password for either the current network or any remembered network. In Settings > Wi-Fi, next to a network’s name (tap Edit at the top right to view stored networks), tap the blue information icon, tap Password, and authenticate to reveal the password. If desired, tap Copy to copy to the clipboard for pasting in another app, such as Mail or Messages.
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The iPhone has long been able to play clicking sounds when you tap the keys on the virtual keyboard, but that feedback, while sometimes welcome, can become annoying when you’re trying to be quiet. A new feature in iOS 16 provides haptic feedback—tiny taps you can feel in your fingertips as you tap keys on the keyboard. It’s a subtle but highly effective way of mimicking a real keyboard, and we encourage you to try it. Turn the feature on in Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Keyboard Feedback. (While you’re there, try turning off Sound; it may no longer be necessary.)
(Featured image by iStock.com/Yosi Azwan)
Back in 2017, when Apple added the notch to the iPhone X for Face ID, the resulting loss of usable screen real estate caused the company to remove the battery percentage indicator from the status area. Since then, you’ve only been able to estimate how much battery life you had left from the icon; you had to open Control Center to see the numeric percentage. In iOS 16, however, Apple has revived the battery percentage indicator for Face ID iPhones, building it into the battery icon itself so it doesn’t occupy more of the status bar. Unfortunately, it’s not available on the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, or iPhone 13 mini, perhaps due to a lack of sufficient screen resolution. Everyone else can enable it in Settings > Battery.
(Featured image by Adam Engst)
Until watchOS 9, Low Power Mode on the Apple Watch turned the smartwatch into a dumb watch that only told the time. With watchOS 9 on an Apple Watch Series 4 or later, however, a new Low Power Mode reduces the watch’s capabilities while keeping it largely functional. It turns off the Always-On display, heart rate notifications, background heart rate and blood oxygen measurements, and the automatic start workout reminder. When your iPhone isn’t nearby, it disables Wi-Fi and cellular connections and incoming phone calls and notifications. Other features will be slower: making a phone call, refreshing background apps and complications, Siri requests, and some interface interactions. (You can still use the Workout app in Low Power Mode and record metrics like heart rate and pace. Go to Settings > Workout on the Apple Watch to turn Low Power Mode on automatically whenever you start a workout.) watchOS 9 prompts you to turn on Low Power Mode when your battery drops to 10%, or you can enable it manually by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center, tapping the battery percentage button, and enabling the option.
(Featured image by Adam Engst)
We’ve recently worked with a few clients who were paying too much for their Internet or cellular service. Internet service providers (ISPs) and cellular carriers occasionally adjust their service plans to account for new technologies, economies of scale, changing competitive landscapes, and marketing efforts. Sometimes they’ll increase speeds or capabilities across the board, but more often, when they debut new plans, current customers are grandfathered into their existing plans, often without notification. Upgrading to a new, better plan is usually simple—first, check the plan details on your ISP’s or cellular carrier’s website. Then, if they look better or cheaper—or if you don’t remember what service levels you should be getting—call the company’s support line and ask if switching plans would be beneficial. Beware that they may try to upsell you on a more expensive plan, so agree to switch only if you’ll end up paying less or getting significantly more. Remember, more speed isn’t necessarily worthwhile—most people won’t notice the difference between 250 Mbps and 1 Gbps, for instance.
(Featured image by Adam Engst)
The Photos app is usually a solid performer, but it does rely on a database behind the scenes, and corruption is a possibility. If you find that your Photos library is showing blank thumbnails or otherwise acting oddly, see if the Photos Repair Library tool can fix it. First, if Photos is open, quit it. Then launch Photos again while holding down the Command and Option keys at the same time. In the window that appears, click Repair. The tool might ask for your account password, and depending on the size of your library, the repair could take some time, so don’t interrupt it. If that doesn’t fix the problem, contact us—if all else fails, we can help you recover your original photos from within the Photos Library file.
(Featured image by iStock.com/fizkes)
Adobe says that Pantone Color Books will be phased out of Adobe Creative Cloud apps, starting with updates to Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop released after August 16, 2022. After November 2022, only three Pantone Color Books will remain: Pantone + CMYK Coated, Pantone + CMYK Uncoated, and Pantone + Metallics Coated. To access all other Pantone Color Libraries, Creative Cloud users will need to purchase a Pantone Connect license and access the libraries through the Pantone Connect plug-in. Pantone Connect costs $59.99 per year or $7.99 per month. For the most part, existing files should continue to work as before, although Adobe offers details of how files in Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop may be affected.
(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/Kanizphoto)
In iOS 14, Apple overhauled widgets, allowing you to add them to your Home screen in addition to the Today View accessible by swiping right on the Home screen. App developers responded with a slew of new widgets, but old-style widgets that are limited to Today View remain available. If you no longer want these older widgets cluttering the bottom of your Today View, here’s how to remove them. Swipe right on the Home screen to enter Today View. At the bottom of Today View, tap the Edit button, and at the bottom of the collection of old-style widgets (new-style widgets wiggle), tap Customize. In the Add Widgets screen, tap the red ⊖ button next to each widget you want to delete and confirm by tapping Remove.
(Featured image by Adam Engst)
Most of the time, having your iPhone know precisely where you are is good. You want Maps to tell you exactly when to turn, not after you’ve passed an intersection. But too many apps abuse their users’ privacy. We strongly encourage you to stop using such apps entirely, but we acknowledge that it can be hard to give up apps that seem necessary for modern life. Barring that, you could prevent such apps from seeing your location at all, but even that isn’t always feasible. Since iOS 14, Apple has provided another compromise—you can prevent an app from seeing your precise location while still giving it your approximate whereabouts. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, scroll down and tap the app in question, and disable Precise Location.
(Featured image by iStock.com/Melpomenem)