More Questions on iCloud Drive

Q: I am not really clear on the iCloud drive. Am I correct with this? First, you need to put items in the icloud drive by dragging them there? Then they should show up on the iPhone but where? Is there supposed to be an icloud drive on the phone? or the pad?  Or would the files just be available, for  example, on pages on the iPhone, since that’s where I worked on them?  This is not totally clear for me.

A: What you say makes perfect sense. Unfortunately that’s not exactly how it works.

The part on the Mac is correct drag things to the iCloud drive icon that’s in your Finder sidebar and that puts them and iCloud Drive. On your Mac you can select iCloud drive and finding those items to open them.

But on the iPhone it’s not that simple, on an iOS device the application has to support iCloud Drive. When it does it creates its own folder on iCloud drive for its specific needs.  Here is a screenshot of my my iCloud Drive.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 4.01.31 PM

Each of the folders with specialized icons is created by an application on the iOS device. Then to access the files in a particular folder, such as pages, you run the pages application on the iOS device. There is no place on the iPhone or iOS platform to look at everything that’s on iCloud drive. You also cannot look for files in other folders. For instance, if you created a home folder on your iCloud drive your iOS apps could not see it.  Each app in iOS only looks in its own folder.

And if that’s not enough, each app from iOS can only look at the root level of that folder.  If on the Mac you create subfolders, iOS cannot see them.

To be quite honest, Apple needs to clean a little of this up before it becomes really useful. For now, I only use it for apps on the phone that I want access to the files on the Mac. Not the other way around.

Hope this clears it up. But it’s not you, it’s confusing by its nature.

Apple has a page on their website that helps clear some of this up.

Dealing with junk mail in iCloud

spamYou don’t get any junk mail do you? Well I sure do. Each mail account that you have deals of junk mail a little differently. You can collect junk, spam, or just a long waste of your time, it all ends up the same, you want to get rid of it.

One of the primary addresses I use is an iCloud account and here is what Apple says about dealing with junk mail in iCloud.

iCloud automatic junk mail filtering

To minimize junk mail, iCloud uses techniques such as trend analysis, dynamic lists, and content filtering to automatically detect and block junk mail before it reaches your Inbox. However, no strategy for managing junk mail is 100% effective, so some junk mail may still reach your Inbox. The information below may help you reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive.

If you think a message may be junk mail, don’t open it

Sometimes the seemingly innocent act of opening a questionable email can alert spammers that their message was received and opened at an active email account. This can encourage more junk mail. To avoid this, you can delete any messages that look like junk mail before you view them.

You can also use the Mail app to mark messages as junk so that later messages from the same sender are automatically marked as junk:

  • In iOS 7 or later, open the message, tap the flag icon at the bottom, then tap “Move to Junk”.
  • In OS X, select the message and click the Junk (thumbs down) icon in the Mail toolbar.
  • At, select the message, then click the flag icon and choose “Move to Junk”. Or just drag the message to the Junk folder in the sidebar.

Spammers can use the email image-loading feature to determine whether your email account is active. Here’s how to keep images from loading automatically:

  • In OS X Mail, choose Mail > Preferences. In the Viewing tab, deselect “Display remote images in HTML messages”.
  • In iCloud Mail, choose Preferences from the Action (gear) pop-up menu in the sidebar. In the General tab, deselect “Load images in HTML messages”.

So those are the basics, but Apple has many other ideas that can assist you in dealing with junk mail problems in your iCloud account. Take a look at their support document for more information.

I’ve lost the predictive text bar in iOS 8

IMG_1375So here’s one that’s kind of easy to miss. People of told me that they can’t find the predictive text bar above the keyboard in iOS 8. They tell me it used to be there but now it’s gone. First I direct them to the settings under keyboard to make sure predictive text is turned on. But typically it is.IMG_1376

What normally happens is your finger accidentally slips when typing on the keyboard and makes the predictive text bar become minimized. If you notice just above the keyboard there may be a small bar at the center of the keyboard area. This bar is a slider that you can click on and drag upward to turn the predictive text bar back on. It’s pretty easy to miss, but once you notice it’s there and turn it back on it’s easy to see how he could accidentally be turned off.


My iCloud password is wrong again

imgresI believe I finally figured out why some people have so much difficulty with their Apple ID for iCloud passwords. And believe it or not I don’t think it’s truly their fault.

So here’s a common scenario I see with people who use iCloud for sending mail. Out of the blue, you try to send an email on your iOS device or even your computer and you get the message that your user ID or password is incorrect. It typically seems kind of odd to you because you may have just sent an email a few seconds before without any difficulty. So what’s a person to do?

All too often people go into their iCloud settings and try to change their password by reentering it. But unfortunately this is the wrong thing to do.

One thing that Apple needs to get a handle on is why iCloud seemingly goes off-line over and over again day after day for short periods of time. I see this myself almost on a daily basis. I tried to send an email and get that dreaded your password is wrong message. But what the message really should say is iCloud is off-line again. Rather than going and trying to change the password,  if you just leave the message in the outbox and trust that eventually when Apple gets iCloud working, probably within the next few seconds that email message will get sent.

What I see happening is people go in to try to change their password and either get it wrong or it still doesn’t work and then resort to trying to reset their password time after time. The whole process of resetting your password in iCloud is not without trouble also. Many times you ask it to send you an email to do the reset and the email never comes through or the email gets caught in a junk mail filter.

The right thing to do during the short iCloud glitches is to just chill out and leave the message alone. When you start down the path of trying to reset your password and you do it very often you typically get things messed up. Either the password reset didn’t take or you’ve changed it so many times and added to your normal password so many times you can’t get it right again.

So here’s my recommendation to those people but text me and tell me their iCloud password is wrong again. Take a chill, have a cup of coffee, or a stronger drink if you feel the need, and wait for at least 30 minutes before you try to do a reset on your password.

If you want to speed up things many times you can go into the outbox open up that email that you tried to send and press send again. Yes, you shouldn’t have to do that but again iCloud mail doesn’t seem to be perfect and trying to fight the iCloud password game typically ends up as a losing proposition.

Print Dialog is missing Features in Chrome

Q: From my laptop, using the Chrome browser. I can not print double sided from.  I can print double-sided from my stand alone computer. I can print double-sided from my laptop using Safari or Word. Is there something fairly simple that I can do to correct that Chrome problem  and be able to print double sided or should I just use Safari?

A: Chrome uses their own dialogue to do printing. When you go print from chrome the dialogue looks like this.Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.29.34 PMIf you click on the area that I have highlighted in red that says print using system dialogue, it changes to this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.30.13 PMThat’s the same dialogue Safari uses so if you can print double-sided in Safari now you can do it in chrome too.  In this case you would need to click on layout and select two-sided printing.

Having a problem with Your Mac? Start it up in Safe Mode to attempt a Fix

imagesStarting up in “safe mode” may help you diagnose problems you’re having with your Mac. In safe mode, the operating system does not load any application or process other than the base system functions.

Safe Mode is a way to start up your Mac that performs certain checks and prevents certain software from automatically loading or opening.

Starting up in Safe Mode does several things:

  • It forces a check of the startup volume, just like the First Aid feature of Disk Utility. You may see a progress bar on the screen during this check, and the computer takes longer than usual to complete its startup.
  • It loads only required kernel extensions.
  • It disables all fonts installed by the user.
  • It moves font caches to the Trash that are stored in /Library/Caches/  – where (uid) is a user ID number such as 501 (Mac OS X v10.4 or later).
  • It disables all startup items and login items in Mac OS X v10.4 or later.
  • In Mac OS X v10.3.9 or earlier, Safe Mode opens only Apple-installed startup items (such items may be installed either in /Library/StartupItems or in /System/Library/StartupItems). These items are different from user-selected account login items.

Taken together, these changes can help resolve or isolate certain issues that exist on the startup volume.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Shut down your Mac and wait 10 seconds.
2. Press the power button.
3. Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold down the Shift key.
You should press the Shift key as soon as possible after you hear the startup tone, but not before.
4. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple logo and progress indicator (spinning gear).
To leave safe mode, restart your Mac normally without holding down any keys during startup.

Safe mode will often allow you to delete or remove something that continues to restart every time you restart the computer. It also allows you to run diagnostics or look to see if an extension to the operating system could be causing your problem. It’s not something you do every day, but it certainly can be helpful.

Get ready for your Trip to Yosemite

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 11.06.37 AMOS X Yosemite is the newest major operating system release for Mac users, versioned as OS X 10.10, and it’s due to be released soon. This release includes many new feature enhancements and refinements. I have been working with the Beta release and it looks to be a great release of OS X and all users that can update their Macs should do so.  But before you run the updater to install it on your Mac, there are a few things you should do just to ensure that your upgrade goes well.

Yosemite is super easy to install, and it’s similar enough to Mavericks and Mountain Lion that it’s unlikely most users will encounter any trouble with the update regarding app compatibility or system support. But any major new operating system releases offer a good time to run through some simple maintenance  to insure compatibility of the Mac itself, your apps, and also to do some general clean up and, the most important thing of all, back up.

So here are a few things you might want to consider before upgrading your computer to Yosemite

1: Check Mac System Compatibility

At it’s core, updating to OS X Yosemite requires the following:

  • 64-bit Intel CPU
  • 8GB of free disk space
  • OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion, or Mavericks
  • Internet connection so that it can be downloaded from the Mac App Store

If some of that sounds like jargon gibberish, but basically, if your machine runs Mavericks, it will run Yosemite. Apple is not published a list of machines but Yosemite will run on, but here’s the list for Mavericks.

  • iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Perhaps the biggest requirement for many users will be having at least 8GB free on the Mac hard disk.  Don’t skimp here. Make sure you have enough free space for the updates before you start. Running the installer puts all of the new software on your computer and then removes the old. So additional free space is needed at the time of install to make it work well. Running out of space would not be a good thing.

2: Install General System Updates & Update Mac Apps

Keeping system updates and apps up to date is good policy for stability and security, but you’ll often get new features too. This can be particularly true when apps have been updated to support new major OS X releases, where a potential new feature built into the operating system may need to be independently included within the apps themselves.

Updating OS X and your apps through the Mac App Store is remarkably simple:

  • Launch the “App Store” from the Applications folder
  • Go to the “Updates” tab and choose “Update All”

3: Do Some General System Clean Up

Major OS X updates are a great time to perform some general system maintenance and clean up to help insure things are running well. Much of this is optional, but if you have the time it’s a good idea to perform some cleaning on the Mac:

  • Delete old apps you no longer use, usually tossing them into the Trash is enough but you can do a more thorough uninstall if desired
  • Trash useless old files from the ~/Downloads/ folder
  • Delete unnecessary caches from user folders and old apps
  • Clean up files from the desktop, either throw them all into a ‘cleanup’ folder or individually into their appropriate places in your home directory – this is an easy task that helps to speed up older Macs

Now go to the utilities folder inside the applications folder and run Disk Utility.  Select the Macintosh HD in the left pane and press the Repair Disk Permissions button.  Apple doesn’t say this is necessary, but I’ve seen far too many times but not doing this causes you problems down the line.

4: Back Up with Time Machine

Last but certainly not least, back up the Mac. Having back ups of your important data and files is very important, and Apple’s Time Machine makes it so easy to backup everything that there is little reason not to do it. Always, always, back up your Mac before installing a major system update. It’s unlikely something will go wrong, but if something does go haywire you can quickly recover if you have a fresh backup handy.

[stextbox id=”info”]For most general users, it is often good to wait a few days after the new OS is available to make sure there are no issues with it.[/stextbox]

That’s about it,  Now go ahead and download and enjoy OS X Yosemite, free is a great price for a great operating system update!

Once the install is complete I typically run the system updates again. This ensures that if Apple has patched the system beyond the release version you get those updates too. It also ensures that any Apple applications or vendor applications that have been updated for the new operating system get installed on your computer


Beware of the “tech support pass off”

imageRecently, I installed a new computer for an individual. I migrated all of the files over to their new computer from their old one and they were up and running. Unfortunately, their old computer had been around for a long time and so had the printer that was being used with it. While I was able to get the printer installed, it certainly was not very compatible with the new version of Windows, Windows 8.  I recommended that they purchase a new printer and give me a call if they needed help installing it.

Fast forward about two weeks. I get a call from the individual telling me that they are having more computer problems. They told me they installed the new printer, and had a few questions about its operation. The main question has to do with being able to print black print only rather than  color print on every print out. Since this was a seemingly minor question, they called the printer vendor for assistance. Once the printer vendor determined that this was not a functional problem with the printer, the vendor forwarded their call to a third-party support firm that could “help them with all their computer issues. ” Up to this point the owner did everything correctly. But the next step was a big mistake.

Somehow in the process of asking a question, the third-party company asked to connect to their computer. They made the connection, downloaded some software to do some testing, looked around on the machine, did some installs, and finally told them they were infected and full of viruses. Keep in mind, this is a brand-new computer installation and it would be very unlikely to have viruses infected already. But nonetheless, they showed the owner things on the computer that they said were problems and needed to be fixed. Then they told them that it would cost them $225 for some special software to be downloaded that would take care of all their problems. Keep in mind here, the initial question had to do with printing in black instead of color. Unfortunately, this unscrupulous third-party, never got around to that problem. They told them that the viruses were preventing the computer from printing in black.

Some of you may think this sounds ridiculous, but this is what we deal with in today’s world. Calling hardware technical support is certainly a reasonable thing to do. But allowing any technical support to pass you off to a third-party company that wants to connect and install software on your computer is a big mistake. My experience tells me that I’ve seen this much more often from printer vendors than any other.  Obviously, if there are viruses or spyware on this machine, it was this third-party companies software that installed them.

I know some of you will find this hard to believe, but the Internet is full of unscrupulous people trying to make a buck off of you.  How sad it is that this printer vendor is hooked up with one of these, but it’s easy to find many instances of the exact same issue.

One time when I was in a fun loving mood, I went to one of these websites that tells you they can scan your computer for problems and tell you whether you have any.  I ran their web-based software on my machine and it came back with hundreds of viruses and spyware issues on my computer. They then offered for $29, to sell me software that would fix all the problems. The funny thing about this was, the computer I ran the scan on the Macintosh.  Many of the viruses they told me I had, or PC only viruses.  Now obviously, I wouldn’t pay for their software, but this just goes to show there’s a sucker born every minute.  In an attempt to save a little money from hiring a reputable hardware and software support individual, people do this every day.

Unless you are an enterprise user Microsoft does not provide support for windows. The vendor you purchase the computer from must provide support for the windows software,  I have also seen other situations when people have searched the web looking for Microsoft support.  The links you find will all be these third-party support companies.  Never use any of these as often times they will get you into the same situation

The moral of the story is fairly simple. If someone you don’t know wants to connect to your computer and install or run any program, back away and hang up. I can  tell you that there are times when reputable vendors need to do this process, but in today’s world, more times than not, the problems only begin when you let these vendors work on your machine.

It is entirely reasonable to call a hardware or software vendor about their product. It is completely unreasonable to accept a handoff to a new third-party company, that has nothing to do with the original vendor, in these situations.  Contact someone you know. Someone you trust. Someone who can look at your computer and determine if there really are problems before you spend money on an Internet solution.

It is much easier, and less expensive for you to have a professional look at your machine, or answer your question, than it is to try to fix problems after the fact that are caused by one of these Internet solution providers.

Set Windows 8 to always launch desktop Internet Explorer

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 4.38.12 PMOne of the minor annoyances in Windows 8 is the fact that Microsoft is chosen to provide two versions of Internet Explorer. The windows 8 tile version of Internet Explorer is launched from the tile on the windows 8 start screen, While the desktop version of Internet Explorer is launched whenever you’re in the desktop. This is quite confusing for a lot of people. But there is a way to set Internet Explorer to always launch the desktop version regardless of whether you click on the tile on the start menu or run it from the desktop.

From the windows start screen open desktop. Now open the charms menu on the right side and click settings. Select control panels. This brings up the normal Windows Control Panel display. From the control panel change the view to large icons so that you can see the individual panels. Select Internet options. Next select the programs tab and change the opening Internet Explorer settings.Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 4.42.07 PM

The settings I use are for choose how to open links is set to always in Internet Explorer on the desktop. I also checked the box that says open Internet Explorer tile on the desktop version. Now click apply and then ok.

Now, no matter how you open a link, or run Internet Explorer, it always opens the desktop version that you’re more familiar with.

When I try to eject my USB drive, why does my Mac think files are in use?

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 1.42.26 PMHere’s one that I bet has happened to most of us. You insert a USB thumb drive in your Mac to copy some files off. You copy those files off to the Mac and then immediately try to eject your USB drive.  Your Mac tries to reject the drive but finally comes back and tells you that the drive and use or some files on the drive are in use.

The situation has driven me crazy for years. But the reasoning behind what’s happening perfect sense. One of the great features of a Mac is that all your data is indexed to give you the ability to find things quickly. The software on the Mac that does this index is called Spotlight. Spotlight, being very efficient, immediately begins to index any new drive it finds plugged into your computer. USB drives, particularly solid-state drives like thumb drives are often very slow.  It takes a while to read and write files to these drives. What often happens is that Spotlight has begun indexing that drive and when you try to eject it the Mac sees files on the drive in use and refuses to eject the USB drive.

The solution to this is actually fairly simple particularly on a machine that you often Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 1.42.12 PMplug the same drive into. All you need to do is go to system preferences and select spotlight. At the top of the Spotlight dialog is a privacy tab. Click on the privacy tab. Now you can press the plus icon near the bottom of the dialog and add your USB drive to the list of drives you don’t want spotlight to index. Even easier, you can simply drag the drive over-the-top of the Spotlight privacy tab and drop it. This adds your drive to the do not index list.

Now when you insert the USB drive, you can just drive copy files and then eject it.  Spotlight will not have started trying to index it and the drive will eject quickly and easily.