Mac and iOS Tips

If you use a Mac or iPad or iPhone, you may find the following tips to be quite useful. The first link lists 33 of the best tips for the Mac. The second link lists 41 great tips for the iPad and iPhone. One can spend a fair amount of time browsing and trying the various tips. 

As one example, I found that outside air quality can be found by opening the 'Weather' app on the iPhone and scrolling to the bottom. I hadn't tried this previously. Unfortunately, the air quality where I live in Scottsdale showed "Very Unhealthy". Yuck! Air quality is an issue we often face in the wintertime due to thermal inversions.

Anyway, I hope you find these tips to be helpful.

Jim Hamm

Eliminating Notifications on your iPhone and iPad

Maybe you are wondering where all those notifications are coming from on your iPhone or iPad. You know, those annoying banners that pop up and then disappear quickly. If you look in Settings->Notifications and then scroll through the apps there, you see something like this (your app name may differ):


These settings are default. Every time you add a new app, these are the settings. The Badges, by the way, are those numbers you sometimes see in a red circle in the upper right corner of an app icon in the Home screen.

To avoid seeing the pop-up banners, you need to disable them here. In fact, for some of your apps, you might not care to see any kind of notification. You can disable all of them by tapping on the control for “Allow Notifications.”

You might want to look through all of the apps here and decide which ones you want to see notifications, banners, and/or badges.

When you open an app that has notifications disabled, you might see a pop-up notice letting you know that notifications are disabled for that app. You can choose to then tap on “Settings” in that notice to then enable notifications - or just tap on “Cancel” to ignore the notice.

For detailed information on Notifications and how to manage alerts, see this link:

John R Carter, Sr.

File Formats for Music

Have you ever wondered about the different file formats for music? Here’s a short primer.

AIFF files are encoded at 1411 Kbps. It is uncompressed but unlike WAV, it supports album artwork and more tags. With artwork and tags, AIFF can require more storage than WAV. A 3:30 minute recording without artwork is 36.9MB.

WAV files are lossless, no compression, and therefore have very high storage requirements. The recording is encoded at 44,100 Hz, and the sample size can be either 16-bits (standard for CDs), 24-bits, or 32-bits, the latter being twice as large at the standard. A 3:30 minute recording at 16-bits is 36.9MB. The same recording at 32-bits is 73.8MB.

MP3 files are encoded at 320 Kbps. It is compressed with decent quality. MP3 is the most popular format. A 3:30 minute recording at standard compression (170-210kbps) is 3.4MB. A 3:30 minute recording at low compression (320kbps) is 8.4MB.

AAC (aka M4A) is similar to MP3 but is a bit more efficient (files are slightly smaller than the lowest compression MP3). Apple iTunes has made this a popular format. A 3:30 minute recording is 7.2MB.

To complicate things, WAV files can be compressed with the MP3 format.

Other file formats are OGG (Vorbis), FLAC, WMA, WMA Lossless, and Opus. The FLAC format can compress from 50% to 70% and quickly decompress back to the original. It is becoming a popular option as it is considered to be a lossless format with high compression.

All file sizes above were derived by using Audacity to export from an AIFF file to the other formats. The AIFF file was copied directly from a CD.

Regardless of the file format, when a file is included in iTunes, iTunes can add artwork and more tags to the file.

John R Carter, Sr.

Ask My Buddy

If you have Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Microsoft Cortana in your house, here is a personal alert service that could be very helpful someday: "Ask My Buddy". 

Lets say you have "Ask My Buddy" set up, have Alexa, and you fall in your house and need assistance. You simply call out "Alexa, Ask My Buddy for help". It will send a text message or phone call to people that you've set up to be alerted.

Here are a couple of links with more information:

This service would be especially helpful for the elderly or those w live alone, or perhaps need assistance when they are temporarily alone. We just did a demo in our house and it worked great.

Jim Hamm

Find My Phone

Perhaps you find it easy to misplace your iPhone -- as I frequently do. One way of quickly locating the iPhone is to have your spouse or someone call your phone number. You'll soon hear a ringing and now can find your iPhone -- unless, of course, you've misplaced it 20 miles away. Then, hopefully, some honest person will answer and tell you where your phone is.

This article points out another way -- ask Siri where is your iPhone? The article explains how. If you have an Apple watch, you can also use your watch to track down the missing iPhone.

Jim Hamm

RSS Bot Can Notify You of New Additions to the PMUG BLOG

In the App Store, look for RSS Bot. This is a free app for the Mac that can be quickly set up to notify you of any new additions to the PMUG blog.

After installing the app on your Mac, go ahead and open it. You should set the Preferences for the app to open at login. While the app window is open, do the following:

  1. In the home page, scroll the page up and left click on the link "PMUG Blog RSS."

  2. In the new pop-up menu, you will see, “Do you want to allow this page to open “RSS Bot”? Select “Allow."

  3. RSS Bot will show a small window with the URL for the PMUG blog. Just click “Next.”

  4. In the next window, click “Save.”

  5. You should now close the RSS Bot window.


From this point on, you will receive notifications from RSS Bot if there are any new posts added to the PMUG blog. Like this one.

John R. Carter, Sr.

@iCloud Email Address

If you have an Apple ID that does not end in @icloud.comand you want an email that does end in, you have to create a NEW Apple ID in "Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Add Account > iCloud > Create a new Apple ID". Just don’t ever use it to purchase anything. It is just for email.

You do not have to have an email address, but it is recommended to have at least two different email accounts where one is the recovery email for the other and vice-versa. If you already have two different email addresses, you don’t have to create an email address.

John R Carter Sr

New Tricks for Your AirPods

If you have an iOS device and a pair of Apple's AirPods, and might be a bit hard of hearing, read this article. Especially look at the first tip about using the AirPods and the iOS device (lets say it's an iPhone). You can use these devices as a hearing aid. Zee just tried it, and it really works (although she's not hard of hearing -- she wanted to try it out for her sister who is very hard of hearing).

If, say, you're watching TV, turn on your iPhone (or iPad), put the AirPods in, and the iPhone picks up the sound from the TV and transmits it via Bluetooth to the AirPods. Sounds come through great, Zee says. She was trying it out with our TV, walked to the front bedroom (where I was) and said she could still hear the TV clearly. I could hear a faint sound from the TV, but couldn't make out words. I didn't have AirPods on, though.

Lets say you go to lunch with friends. The restaurant is noisy, you can't hear conversations very well. Turn the iPhone on, place it on the table, put on your AirPods, and, voila!, you can hear.

I think this combo will be great news for people who are hearing-impaired, and much cheaper than hearing aids. I've got to say -- I'm impressed.

Jim Hamm

Find My iPhone

If you've misplaced your iPhone or iPad, you might want to verify that you can locate it by following the instructions below -- which have been graciously provided by Small Dog Electronics. Even if you haven't lost it, you can still do a test. I just confirmed that I could find my iPhone remotely, even though it is sitting by my side. And every time I logged into iCloud my iPhone would 'ding' with a message that someone was logging into my iCloud account.

Jim Hamm

You can use Find My iPhone to find your device, take additional actions to help you recover it, and keep your information safe.

  • Sign in to on a Mac or PC, or use the Find My iPhone app on another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  • Find your device. Open Find My iPhone, and select a device to view its location on a map. If the device is nearby, you can have it play a sound to help you or someone nearby find it.

  • Turn on Lost Mode. Using Lost Mode, you can remotely lock your device with a passcode, display a custom message with your phone number on your missing device’s Lock screen, and keep track of your device’s location. If you added credit, debit, or prepaid cards to Apple Pay, the ability to make payments using Apple Pay on the device is suspended when you put your device in Lost Mode.

  • Erase your device. To prevent anyone else from accessing the data on your missing device, you can erase it remotely. When you erase your device, all of your information (including credit, debit, or prepaid cards for Apple Pay) is deleted from the device, and you won’t be able to find it using Find My iPhone. After you erase a device, you can’t track it. If you remove the device from your account after you erase it, Activation Lock will be turned off. This allows another person to turn on and use your device. This really works, I have tested it!

Find My iPhone is one of the handiest safety features of Apple devices. While some other cell phones have a similar feature, none are as complete or as useful as Apple’s Find My iPhone!

David Pogue: Three New iPhones Reviewed

As Pogue points out in this article, if you already have the iPhone X, there’s no reason to consider upgrading. I’m reading this because Pogue has a knack for pointing out the differences in the upcoming models. Maybe you’ll enjoy the article also.

Jim Hamm


David Pogue published the following article today:

Three new iPhones reviewed: Faster, bigger, cheaper

The iPhone X is dead. Long live the iPhone X! What I mean by that, of course, is that the new 2018 iPhones are named (and designed) to be tuned-up versions of last year’s iPhone X. There are three of them: one faster, one bigger, and one …

Source: Yahoo! News

iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad

My wife and I updated our iPhone X’s and iPads to iOS 12 this morning. It took quite a while

to do the download, and we have a fast internet connection. Neither of us could make a

phone call after the update, so shut down our iPhones, restarted, and all was well.

Haven’t really checked other changes out, but am looking forward to trying out the new (old?) 

way to close Running apps. The following article by David Pogue has more detail.

Jim Hamm


iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad: 50 tweaks, 6 home runs

Wait, is this September? Why, yes—yes it is! And you know what that means: Time for another free, annual release of iOS 12, Apple’s operating system for iPhones and iPads. Phone OS upgrades these days rarely introduce blockbuster, routine-changing …

Source: Yahoo! News

Adware Doctor in Mac App Store Warning

Adware Doctor, a Top Seller on the Mac App Store, Was Grabbing User’s Web History.

The Mac App Store is supposed to be a safe way to download software, but a prominent malware scanner sold there until recently was grabbing users’ browsing history.

The application, called Adware Doctor, was a top grossing app on the store. It also wiggled its way around the macOS sandbox restrictions to grab personal information. Patrick Wardle, writing for Objective-See, broke down how this all works, so check that out for all the details.

Frank Croft