How to disable Apple’s HEIF and HEVC formats in iOS

Apple introduced two high-efficiency multimedia formats in iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra: HEIF and HEVC. They take up substantially less storage for the same quality of image as comparable JPEG, PNG, and H.264 video. However, they’re not very useful outside the Apple ecosystem of apps.

Right now, these formats get employed exclusively when you take pictures or shoot video in iOS 11. By default, you’re using HEIF for images and HEVC for video. However, whenever you export images or share them from iOS or the Photos app in macOS, they’re converted into a compatible format. It’s only when a non-Apple app (or an older version of Apple’s apps) tries to work directly on the original file as stored that you can run into trouble, as Macworld reader Nik has found.

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What to do when your two-step Apple ID account is locked

I woke up on a Friday morning, groggy with allergies, a mild cold, and a message on my iPhone. I needed to enter my password to proceed. I did so, but only after checking that it wasn’t some kind of phishing message—the message was generated on the home screen and using iOS, not in a browser or an app.

After entering my password, my iPhone said, “This Apple ID has been locked for security reasons.” I needed to go through an unlock process. I presume my account was locked because someone had attempted to lock in and had too many password failures.

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Apple warns you when it’s locked your account.

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What you need to do when you inherit a Mac

The loss of a loved one is devastating. When this gets tied up with a technical support issue? Even worse. Mac 911 recently received several emails from Macworld readers who inherited, purchased, or were given computers or iOS devices by people who have passed away. They have enough password information to use the Macs successfully, sometimes for years. But then an event occurs that requires resetting the machine.

Macworld reader Andrew has a Mac given to him a few years ago by a now-deceased acquaintance. He attempted to disable FileVault after upgrading to High Sierra. After restarting, the Mac presented a lock screen and asked for a code to enter. It that didn’t resemble anything he’d previously used. (It’s unclear from his email whether it was a Find My Mac style lock (which seems unlikely as it would seemingly require someone with that account to mark it as lost) or Continue reading "What you need to do when you inherit a Mac"

How to consolidate all the images on your Mac

The “digital shoebox” was a 2007 coinage of Steve Jobs, who intended the Mac to become a digital media hub in which Apple’s programs would help you organize everything. That’s the notion that makes an analogy to having all your negatives, prints, and slides in shoeboxes in the days of film photography, and never being able to find anything.

The digital shoebox metaphor remains accurate in 2018 for the wrong reason, as it’s very easy to wind up with images, videos, audio, and other kinds of files all over your Mac. If you’re supremely organized and single-app oriented, perhaps you manage to import everything into iPhoto (then Photos) and iTunes. But for the rest of us, we have files all over the place.

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How to keep some full resolution images on your iOS device, and store others in the cloud

With iCloud Photo Library you can take endless photos on an iPhone or iPad, or upload endless images on a Mac or via iCloud.com, as long as you’re paying for the right quantity of iCloud storage. And Apple simply manages it for you.

This trick comes through optimized storage, which is enabled by default in iOS when you turn on iCloud Photo Library. On the Mac, you have to turn it on: In the Photos app, go to Preferences > iCloud, check the iCloud Photo Library option, and then pick either to Download Originals to the Mac or Optimize Mac Storage. (I use full-resolution downloads on one of my Macs, a desktop machine, so I have a local copy that I can also backup elsewhere.)

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What to do when iPhoto and Photos take up too much storage space on a Mac

When Apple released Photos for macOS, the company chose a clever approach to reduce Photos' storage consumption, knowing that most users would be upgrading an iPhoto library. Because iPhoto retains the originally imported images without modification, an upgrade to Photos would require duplicating all of those images, plus importing any modified versions stored in the library.

I and others have explained this before at Macworld, so I won’t go into great depth, but Apple relied on hard links, a special kind of file alias that allows a file to be stored a single time on disk and have multiple pointers to that file. Those pointers act exactly as if they were the original file. You can delete all but the last hard link and the file remains on disk. (This is in contrast to aliases, which are stub files that point to another file or folder. If that Continue reading "What to do when iPhoto and Photos take up too much storage space on a Mac"

How Messages in the Cloud protects SMS (and how it doesn’t)

Apple recently released the long-awaited Messages in the Cloud feature through updates to iOS and macOS, and Macworld provided a how-to guide to enable it on your devices, and some warnings about the time it takes for your devices to upload all the cached messages they maintain.

Macworld reader Lowell had a few questions that aren’t on the how-to front and which Apple doesn’t fully address in its FAQ on the subject.

Lowell wonders about regular text and multimedia messages (SMS/MMS) being encrypted, and how much storage is freed up in iCloud (not just on devices) by pushing everything to the cloud.

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1Password 7 for Mac review: Password manager with small improvements that add up

1Password 7 for Mac has a variety of small improvements and a fresher design that add up to a nice bump justifying the version number. But because its maker, AgileBits, switched to a subscription model as its dominant method of offering software, the company is clearly less obsessed with including the kitchen sink, as it tries to offer ongoing updates and new features between major releases to justify the cost to current subscribers. And that’s fine: a rush to cram features—some half-baked—into new versions of software where developers rely heavily on upgrade fees as part of their revenue cycle doesn’t benefit users.

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Apple and Google harden its smartphones against hackers and governments

Google and Apple regularly make changes to Android and iOS to improve the integrity of the hardware running those operating systems, making it less likely that an unauthorized party could gain access to data stored on them. Two changes, one in beta and one in a shipping device, up the ante for criminals, companies, and governments who have found ways or might force ways of bypassing protections.

Google stops trusting itself

Apple and Google both use secure components within their devices to store critical data in a manner that prevents extraction and deters physical tampering. For Apple, that’s all modern iOS devices; for Google, that’s currently only its Pixel 2 models, though Android P will allow other device makers to built this in. The secure module stores elements like credit-card numbers for payment, and the characteristics derived from fingerprints that are used to validate access to a device. Apple calls Continue reading "Apple and Google harden its smartphones against hackers and governments"

Apple and Google harden their smartphones against hackers and governments

Google and Apple regularly make changes to Android and iOS to improve the integrity of the hardware running those operating systems, making it less likely that an unauthorized party could gain access to data stored on them. Two changes, one in beta and one in a shipping device, up the ante for criminals, companies, and governments who have found ways or might force ways of bypassing protections.

Google stops trusting itself

Apple and Google both use secure components within their devices to store critical data in a manner that prevents extraction and deters physical tampering. For Apple, that’s all modern iOS devices; for Google, that’s currently only its Pixel 2 models, though Android P will allow other device makers to built this in. The secure module stores elements like credit-card numbers for payment, and the characteristics derived from fingerprints that are used to validate access to a device. Apple calls Continue reading "Apple and Google harden their smartphones against hackers and governments"

What to do when you can’t use Photos to post pictures to Facebook

Photos for macOS has several built-in options to link into photo sharing and social networking sites, including Flickr and Facebook. There’s a plug-in architecture that allows third parties to add more. However, when the built-in ones fail, it’s hard to know who to point to for help.

Macworld reader J.M. wrote in with a problem that just started happened at the end of May. When trying to upload a picture via macOS Photos to Facebook, an error notification appears:

Facebook Password Required. Enter your password for “account name” in Internet Accounts.

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A new account validation bug seems to prevent Mac users from uploading images to Facebook via Photos.

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Apple puts privacy and security foremost in iOS 12, macOS Mojave

As news stories show nearly every day, there’s a never-ending barrage of attempts to break into our online accounts, steal identities and cash, and hijack computers and mobile devices to use as bots in vast online armies. In the just-announced updates to iOS and macOS, Apple has tightened the security screws but also makes it easier for its users to engage in the best behavior with less pain.

Apple also attacked some privacy exploits and reduced the ability of third parties to track people even further than in previous releases.

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How to properly download your iCloud Photo Library

There’s no macOS issue I hear about more than iCloud Photo Library. It's a service that answers many users’ needs, but there are some not-quite-outlying demands that fall through the cracks. This often revolves around being able to get a full set of your images and movies in iCloud Photo Library if you don’t have enough storage on your Mac startup volume.

Macworld reader Shai wrote in with such a concern recently. They have a 300GB media library synced with iCloud Photo Library and a modest disk drive on their MacBook Pro, so Photos for macOS is set to optimize media. The full-resolution versions of images and video are thus only held in iCloud.

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How to transfer all your data from an old iPhone to a new iPhone

How do you effectively transfer the contents of an older iPhone to a new one? It's not too difficult to do, whether you're setting up a brand new iPhone fresh out of the box, or your new iPhone is already set up and running, just not with your data.

Here are the steps using iOS 11.3.1 or later.

1. Back up the old iOS device

First, make sure you have a fresh backup of the older device. There are two ways to create a backup.

Apple Family Sharing: Remember, in-app purchases can’t be shared

With Apple's Family Sharing program, you can share iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases, an Apple Music family plan, and an iCloud storage plan with up to five people. I am not a fan of Apple’s Family Sharing option, and I’m not alone among technology writers. Family Sharing remains poorly implemented for most users years after its introduction, seemingly because Apple’s back-end systems that manage iTunes, the App Store, and other purchases and ownership is so woefully out of date. (For instance, you can’t migrate purchases among accounts you control or merge multiple accounts.)

This bites users on a regular basis, because seemingly intuitive and obvious behavior isn’t supported with Family Sharing. The most galling one is that if one person purchases an app that supports Family Sharing—not all apps do—then you’d think anyone else in the Family Sharing group would simply go to the App Store Continue reading "Apple Family Sharing: Remember, in-app purchases can’t be shared"

How to make hard-to-read email legible

My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, and a recent visit to the optometrist revealed I needed a slightly different prescription for reading on a computer screen. (What a relief!) But like a couple billion people in the world, it’s harder for me to read small text and lightly tinted text. That’s the complaint of Macworld reader Margaret, who asks:

How do I change the blue font found in many emails (especially Macworld articles) to another color? I have difficulty seeing the blue font. I don’t want to switch back to a PC, but I am visually impaired and Windows 10 seems to have more accessibility features.

Messages with rich text, which allows setting text color and other formatting, relies on HTML and can’t be overridden directly in the Mail app. The Mail app uses the same rendering engine as Safari, but it lacks a feature Continue reading "How to make hard-to-read email legible"

How to use make hard-to-read email legible

My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, and a recent visit to the optometrist revealed I needed a slightly different prescription for reading on a computer screen. (What a relief!) But like a couple billion people in the world, it’s harder for me to read small text and lightly tinted text. That’s the complaint of Macworld reader Margaret, who asks:

How do I change the blue font found in many emails (especially Macworld articles) to another color? I have difficulty seeing the blue font. I don’t want to switch back to a PC, but I am visually impaired and Windows 10 seems to have more accessibility features.

Messages with rich text, which allows setting text color and other formatting, relies on HTML and can’t be overridden directly in the Mail app. The Mail app uses the same rendering engine as Safari, but it lacks a feature Continue reading "How to use make hard-to-read email legible"

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac review: A performance jump makes it far more reliable

If you look at the lab ratings for Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, you could easily assume that the software package nails its focus on malware protection. It received the highest possible detection scores from AV-TEST and AV Comparatives: 100 percent from AV-TEST for detection of macOS potentially unwanted applications (PUA), and above 99 percent for identifying Windows malware.

But those scores don’t tell the whole story. When I tested version 6.1 of this software, Bitdefender fared poorly against downloaded and decompressed macOS malware. However, after that review, Bitdefender released version 6.2, which adds 200MB of free VPN service as part of the subscription price. An update fixes one of the bugs we found, the company says, and I confirmed that. Accordingly, we've opted to review this updated version due to timing and the fix for a bug we found significant.

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Understanding how iCloud stores data

Contrary to what you might think, Apple's iCloud isn’t a central storage system. Rather, it’s a synchronization system that requires data remain on the end points, such as your Macs and iOS devices. Deleting data off end points manually typically deletes it from iCloud’s central servers, used to manage sync, and from every other connected device.

Macworld reader Tom wrote in asking about this topic, which is extremely confusing, as some iCloud services can reduce storage required in varying ways, but you have to use their interfaces to let them manage it automatically. If you delete items manually, they’re just removed.

Tom asks:

Is there any way to create folders (or an album) in iCloud, store files in that space, but delete the files from the general Photos group?

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