New Year - New Possibilities


Once again we find ourselves at the beginning of a New Year and hopefully we feel excitement at the idea of a fresh start and the potential for wonderful things happening. I also start my New Year with intentions as opposed to resolutions. I took some time over the holiday break to sit and ask myself what I would like my New Year to look and feel like. Then I created intentions of a more general sort, i.e feel stronger (from here I can make decisions on how that will happen). I love moving into the New Year feeling good about the possibilities. 

However for some (especially in this sometimes challenging world we live in!) it can be hard to look forward with a positive mindset. If you are that person, I invite you to look at the New Year from a perspective of curiosity about what is and what might be possible. I learned the technique of curiosity from my friend and colleague Janet Caliri.

On the technical side of things - Apple released several new products in the last half of 2018. 9 to 5 Mac has a great end of year round up article.

This newsletter will be our January and February news since my wonderful Virtual Assistant Nicole is taking herself on an adventure at the end of January. I will be sending out some class reminders and, of course, if there is anything critical I will send an e-blast out right away. 


About two weeks ago, Apple released an update to iTunes (12.8.1) that basically made their own web browser, Safari, unusable, but only if the computer was running in Yosemite (10.10.x). While this was disturbing in the sense that Apple's own update broke their own software it is also a very strong indicator of why I always take a cautious yet proactive approach to software updates and upgrades. I have also been asked several times recently why I am still not recommending Apple's latest macOS Mojave. I hope this article will help explain my thinking and guide you towards understanding the choices you have. 

First, terminology clarification:

Software Updates

These are the updates that are regularly offered when you first open an app (third party updates) or via the MacApp store or Apple Software update (the notifications that show up in the upper right corner of your computer screen or on your iPhone/iPad screen). They are typically patches, bug fixes, or enhancements to existing systems and/or software. Typically these updates are valuable and improve performance however my standing rule is to say 'no thanks' the first time or two this type of update is offered just in case there is a problem. This is the type of update to iTunes that broke Safari - more about that later. Once this type of update is installed you may not even notice any changes. 

Software Upgrades

These are the upgrades that are offered about once a year via MacApp store or Apple Software update (the notifications that show up in the upper right corner of your computer screen or on your iPhone/iPad screen). However this type of upgrade will often say "New macOS." 

The key to look for is the word 'new' in the offering on both Mac or iOS. These are major upgrades that will definitely change the way your computer or iOS devices look and works. It is these upgrades that I am most cautious about because they will affect any third party software you run and they 'may' affect features you use and like in your current OS. 

How and why to 'update' your software (always have a current backup in place!)

Note: The following information is pretty in-depth. If you prefer, here is the short and sweet status of upgrades and updates on both the iOS and macOS:

For updates on the macOS the version should be - macOS Sierra 10.12.6

(NOTE: this is the absolute oldest macOS I recommend!!) OR macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 (Current recommended macOS) or IF you have already updated to Mojave, macOS 10.14.2. So, yes, please install available updates!! 

For updates all iOS devices should be at iOS 12.1.2 OR iOS 12.1.1 if offered, or iOS 11.4.1 on older devices. 

On the macOS, the prompt for updates will look like the image below. Sadly Apple has made it virtually impossible to turn off these notifications so all you can do is say "remind me tomorrow." I recommend doing this for about a week so you don't get caught with a rare but possible bad update. If the update requires a restart be sure to close any open programs before allowing the update to install. Also know that if an update requires a restart it will most likely enhances the security of your macOS or fixes a bug.

IF you want to install these updates on your own - for all macOS's prior to Mojave - simply open the Mac App store and click on the updates icon - you will then see a list of available updates. I usually just click on Update All and follow the prompts. 

In Mojave Apple has moved Software Updates back into System Preferences (under the Apple at the upper left of your screen.) Then click on the Software Update pane. You will see a dialog similar to below and you can click on Update Now. 

NOTE: PLEASE avoid turning on "Automatically Keep My Mac up to date" or 'Turn on Auto Update' - this is truly just asking for problems. 

For updates on the macOS the version should be - macOS Sierra 10.12.6
(NOTE: this is the absolute oldest macOS I recommend!!) OR macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 (Current recommended macOS) or IF you have already updated to Mojave, macOS 10.14.2. So, yes, please install available updates!! 
On the iOS it can be a little harder to distinguish a simple update vs a major upgrade. First at any prompt say "remind me later" and then "Never." At this point you can open Settings > General > About and make a note of what Version of software your iOS device is running. i.e. 12.1.2. Now touch the word General at the top of the screen to move back one screen and this time choose General > Software Update. IF the first number (11, 12) is the same as what you already have you device needs and 'update' and it's okay to install it. IF however it show a higher number you will be "upgrading" to a major new version of software (see below.) Remember these smaller updates are a good thing - they keep your device running secure and often fix any bugs. You can also read the description in the Software update offering and look for the word new - this is another indicator of a major upgrade that you may or may not want. 

For updates all iOS devices should be at iOS 12.1.2 OR iOS 12.1.1 if offered, or iOS 11.4.1 on older devices. 

What about "Updates Gone Wrong and Upgrade Fear"???

Updates Gone Wrong

First the update that went wrong was an update of Apple's venerable iTunes software to a version fully compatible with their newest offerings. The problem occurred because the update broke Safari in a version of the macOS (Yosemite) that was released in 2014 and that Apple stopped officially supporting in 2017. I have been recommending anyone running Yosemite upgrade immediately and this is just one more reason why. IF you have run into this problem let us know we can help you. 

Upgrade Fears

Often clients will say they don't want to do major upgrades because too  much changes - they are fearful. I understand it can be hard to change the way you work with your computer and have empathy for those feelings. However these days in the world of computers and electronic devices it is actually dangerous to avoid upgrading your software. Apple only supports older operating systems for so long and once they stop releasing security updates you are actually more vulnerable to issues when you are using the Internet and email. Many of the problems we see with malware or supposed hijacks occur on machines running older software. Also the longer you wait to do major upgrades the harder it is for even us to get your system current. It also becomes more expensive because it is more time consuming. Remember we are always here to help you upgrade and navigate a new system. Read on for why I too am cautious about recommending new systems and what my current recommendations are.

I have been asked by a few clients why I am still not recommending upgrading to macOS Mojave. I have a few reasons why I am still not yet ready to recommend the upgrade. The primary one is that we support over a thousand users and my recommendations have to account for a large variety of situations. Right now the biggest issue I have with Mojave is that it absolutely requires the user also upgrade all their third party software - including but not limited to Microsoft Office (to Office 365 or Office 2019), Adobe Creative Cloud - Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Lightroom (to CC 2019 or the absolute latest version if you use the apps standalone), Quicken 2007 (to Banktivity 7 or a more recent version of Quicken - be aware that Quicken 2019 is subscription only now!) and 1Password 6 (to 1Password 7). There are other apps but they are less common. Also Mojave does disable older versions of Apple's Aperture (no longer made or supported by Apple), Pages, Keynote, Numbers (if older than 2013) the new versions are fine.

My current recommendation is macOS is High Sierra and if you haven't upgrade yet please give us a call. IF you have a new computer that came with Mojave OR you accidentally upgraded and there are no issues please don't worry. I expect to be recommending Mojave once Apple release 10.14.3 which is in Beta right now. In the meantime you can start to plan for and/or upgrade any third party software you use.


iOS tips: Keep Your iOS Apps Up To Date

The main article of this newsletter discussed iOS updates. However on your iPhone/iPad you also have a variety of third party apps that also need to be updated. As with the updates to the iOS these apps updates are often bug fixes or app enhancements and should be done regularly. While I don't recommend allowing them to update automatically these step will allow you to update them easily yourself.

On your iPhone / iPad look for the App store icon and see if it has a number in red at the upper right corner.

IF it does touch on it and then touch on Updates at the bottom of the window.

You will now see a list of all apps that need updating. The easiest thing to do is to simply touch on Update All. When there are no more updates you will only see the word "open" next to the name of an app. You are done!!

macOS tips - Spotlight

Spotlight is Apple's handy utility for searching for a file, a movie, converting units of currency, measures, and more. 

Access Spotlight on your Mac by looking for the magnifier icon the upper right corner of your screen and click on it.  

You will now see a window appear with a blinking cursor ready to type - type your inquiry and be amazed at the results!!