how to

Weak iPhone Signal

Here is a tip for the iPhone that you may already be aware of. If at home, or if you're out-and-about, and you have a weak signal for your mobile phone, here is an article that explains how to use a Wi-Fi network to make a phone call. Most major carriers support this feature. Notice this feature will work whenever you're in an area of a weak mobile signal (and we have a few areas in Prescott like that for AT&T) and have a Wi-Fi signal available that you are able to connect to.

I have had this feature turned on for my iPhone 6 for some time, but have never noticed if I've actually used it. Could be handy sometime, though. If you have an iPhone 5c or newer you might check to see if you have this feature turned on.

Jim Hamm

About Tech & Mac Help

I've mentioned this previously, but the website 'AboutTech" is an excellent source for help with OS X (soon to be macOS) and general Mac questions. Here and here are just two examples. Once on the website, there are more links on the right side one can click for more help. Here's one on Mac Troubleshooting tips. I think the articles are well-written and can be a big help with your Mac questions.

Jim Hamm

TRIM Support for a Mac

If you have the traditional spinning hard drive (HDD) in your Mac, maybe you'd like to upgrade to an SSD. What a difference this makes -- all favorable. If you do install a third-party SSD, then you'll want to activate TRIM. This article explains how to do this, and why. I've done two SSD installs, and it'd not too difficult, even for a techno-klutz like me.

Also, does your Mac seem to be slowing down? This article has some tips on this as well.

Jim Hamm

Disk Utility in El Capitan

If you've upgraded to El Capitan in OS X, apparently Disk Utility has been revised also and is not as robust as previous versions. If you feel the need to revert to the earlier version, here is an article describing how to do so. Be aware, this is not for the faint-hearted. Also, be sure to read all the comments at the end of the article because corrections and permutations of the original instructions follow from readers all around the globe.

Jim Hamm

Tip to keep your computer from going to sleep while performing a function

John Carter shared the following tip. You leave your computer unattended while it is performing an update or downloading a large file or some other activity that will take a long time. When you come back to the computer, you find that the process hasn’t completed, and you’ve been logged out. You have unset the option to let your computer go to sleep, so why does that happen?

Go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> General and then click the Advanced button. Uncheck the box that logs you out after ‘x’ minutes of inactivity.

Problem solved.

Slow Spotlight?

From John Carter If it seems that Spotlight is really slow in giving up a response to a query, it is most likely due to the Mac being clogged up with lots of cache items and other stuff. This can be remedied. There are two ways to get it done.

One way is to download the free tool Onyx for Mac (specific for your version of OS X) and run all the items in the “Cleaning” tab. This is pretty complicated and takes time, but it does one extra thing that is useful and that is to check the status of your internal hard drive before allowing you to do anything else. Well, that can be done with Disk Utilities also, and you should occasionally run the First Aid tab of Disk Utility regardless.

The easier way is to clean up all the caches, launch daemons, launch agents, startup items, and saved application states in your Mac and make Spotlight run like new. To make this really easy, I have created an application that I call (using Automator). All you need to do is download the app from my Dropbox and double-click on it to then clean up your computer to make Spotlight run a lot more efficiently.

Here’s the link to in my Dropbox:

After downloading the app, move it from your Downloads folder to your Applications folder.

When you run that app, Here are the prompts that you will see:


While the application is running, nothing is displayed on the screen. When the operation is complete, you will see this:


If you do nothing, the app will close automatically after one minute.

Just so you know what it does, here are the Terminal command lines that it runs:

rm -rf /library/caches/* rm -rf /library/launchagents/* rm -rf /library/launchdaemons/* rm -rf /library/startupitems/* rm -rf /system/caches/* rm -rf ~/library/caches/* rm -rf ~/library/launchagents/* rm -rf ~/library/saved\ application\ state/*

So if you are curious, you can first look into any one of those folders before and after to convince yourself that it actually did something.

And to put your mind at ease that it is safe to run that app, I got all those instructions from Apple Support when I reported that Spotlight was running extra slow on my computer.

NOTE: This app will ONLY run if your OS X is up to date with El Capitan. Please report any problems to Thanks.

How to make your iPhone run better

If your iPhone becomes slow or seems to 'stutter' a bit as you try to open another app, here are two articles on how to quickly clear the memory on an iPhone and improve performance. Both articles tell the same story -- just in a different manner.

Jim Hamm

El Capitan Spotlight Feature

Searching for a file in El Capitan has gotten a lot easier by using the Natural Language feature in Spotlight. Searching for things like ”Emails from Amazon last month” will bring up all of your order confirmations for items that you bought recently for a quick review.

You can be specific with spotlight and ask it to show you document types such as "Presentations I worked on in December” for any keynote projects.

Can't remember when you created a document? No problem. Simply search for something like “PDFs containing budget" to find documents for specific phrases. -- John R. Carter Sr.

A Quick Guide to a Mac

Some of the people I talk to really are not all that familiar with the Mac. They might not even be all that familiar with Windows even if they came from a Windows background. MakeUseOf has provided a handy reference guide for those who are switching from Windows to a Mac, but this guide is also extremely useful for anyone new - or old - to a Mac. Take a look at it, please. You might be surprised how easy it is to master using a Mac.

John Carter

How to Fix Bad iOS 9 Battery Life

Jim Hamm recently experienced an unusual battery drain on his iPhone, running iOS 9. He read the following article, and made several changes in various settings. He found the culprit for his heavy battery use -- an app "ClockRadio". He does not use this app, and recently turned it on just to see what it was all about. Unknown to him, once opened it started a lot of background activity, which consumes battery power. He shut it down, and hopefully it won't do any more background activity.

The following article gives some helpful tips on improving battery life on your iPad or iPhone.

Zagg Bluetooth Keyboard

        "If there's any 'iPaders' in our azapple group, the following comments are for you," says Jim Hamm.  He continues, " I've owned an iPad for a long time, but had never used a separate keyboard with it previously. Then my wife got a Zagg bluetooth keyboard for her iPad, and really liked it. So, not to be left behind, I bought one from Amazon for my iPad. What a difference this keyboard makes. Really nice.

        "If you've already moved to a  bluetooth keyboard for your iPad, read no further. For the rest of you, I recommend you try one." 
        Jim explains, "I didn't realize how much easier, and nicer, it is to type on a keyboard instead of tapping on the screen with my finger. And the best thing I like about it is no more -- to correct a mistake -- a finger on the screen, with the bubble, trying to move the cursor around. Now I just use the up/down/back/forward arrows on the keyboard to move the cursor and correct a misspelling. I like this.
        "We're presently on an RV caravan tour and I haven't even used my MacBook Air once since we left. I find it so convenient and handy just to use my iPad with the Zagg keyboard. Plus, since I've got a cellular data package for my iPad, I don't have to worry if we don't have wifi in the campground. Like right now -- no wifi but a good LTE signal.
        "There are other brands of keyboards available for the iPad, but the Zagg is the only one I've tried. There were over a thousand reviews on Amazon for the Zagg keyboard for my particular iPad, with most of them favorable."
        And Jim concludes, "I'm not pushing Zagg -- only the use of a bluetooth keyboard for your iPad.  Just a thought for your consideration."