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How To Sanitize Your Devices

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The generally accepted ways to stop the contraction and spread of the Cornoavirus is to practice social distancing (stay away from large crowds), and regularly wash your hands. Simply because the virus spreads by human contact, so quit touching people and stuff.

No problem, right? Surprisingly, the media hasn’t really talked about how our devices (that we literally touch all day every day) could be contributing to the spread of #DatRona.

We already know that our phones are as dirty or even dirtier than a toilet, so it isn’t stretch to say that we need to keep our devices as clean as our hands.

In a Business Insider India article, Suranjeet Chatterjee, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine Department of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi stated “Coronavirus and other germs can live on surfaces like glass, metal or plastics and phones are bacteria-ridden. It is necessary that we sanitize our hands frequently and make sure that our hands are clean all the time.”

‘Nuff said. So here are a few ways to can sanitize your devices to stop the spread of germs…and Coronavirus.

Regularly Sanitize Your Devices

We are so trained to touch our phones as much as we are prone to touching our eyes, mouth, or nose. We already know frequently touching our face is a not helping reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, so that’s why it’s advised to wash your hands all the time.

The same can be said for your devices. As often as you wash your hands, you should be cleaning your phone (at least the screen). The best way to sanitize your devices is by using an alcohol-based sanitizer and a clean cloth to wipe the screen any part of the phone that touches other surfaces.

If you use a spray based sanitizer, lightly spray your phone after spraying your hands. for a more in-depth cleaning, I recommend using the WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit ($15 bucks on Amazon).

Go Hands-Free

Again, the best way to not spread the ‘Rona is to limit contact with people and things. Now is good time to get more acquainted with voice assistants like Siri, to complete simple tasks like sending texts, emails, answering calls, checking your calendar, etc. It is also a good idea to invest in Bluetooth headphones/ear buds if you frequently make/receive phone calls – Don’t be that dork annoying people by using the speakerphone all the time.

A study published in 2018 by Insurance2Go stated that one in 20 smartphone users was found to clean their phones less than every six months…YUCK! Don’t be that person that is OD about cleaning their hands and has stockpiled hand sanitizer, but hasn’t taken the time to clean that nasty-ass phone of yours.

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Annual Mac Cleanup Checklist

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

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The holidays are over. You’ve ate too much food, opened (and returned) your gifts, and partied with people you don’t even “like” like that. Now it’s time to get back to work.

For the past year, your Mac has been keeping up with how you get things done. Just like how you regularly need to see the doc (and lie that you’ve been exercising) and get your teeth cleaned (and lie that you’ve been flossing), you need to tend to your Mac regularly…more than once a year if you ask me.

Having said that, now is a better time than any to show you Mac some love and perform a cleanup. Here some things you can do to make sure your Mac will perform like a champ throughout the year.

Uninstall Old Apps

If you haven’t used that app/program more than once this year, you might as well get rid of it to free up space.

Reduce Login Items

One of the reasons why your Mac takes FOREVER to start up is because too many apps are automatically slated to open when you turn on your Mac. Turn off those login items to get to work faster after startup.

Remove Files From Desktop

Your Mac has to render all those little files and folders on your “home screen” repeatedly, which slows down your Mac. Delete, and/or move those files to another location for a clean desktop and faster response time.

Organize “Downloads” Folder

If you clicked on and downloaded any and everything under the sun this past year, those files are taking up space. You can go ahead and delete those files now to free up space.

Choose ONE Cloud Service

Bet money you use a combination of iCloud, Dropbox, GDrive and OneDrive – PICK ONE. All those services save files on your Mac. The more services you use, the more files your computer has to manage. If you’re not careful, you will run out of space, as well as not know where anything is. 

Identify And Archive Old Files

Why do you still have files on your Mac from 2008? Quit hoarding and identify, then delete (or at the very least archive) files older than two years.

Delete old iTunes iPhone/iPad Backup Files

If you’re cheap, I mean…fiscally savvy, you’ve figured out how to backup your iPhone to your Mac to save on iCloud storage costs. If you’ve been doing this for multiple iPhones, you probably need to check iTunes and remove old device backups.

Clear Cache Files

There are files that mysteriously show up on your Mac that you don’t recognize and probably don’t need anymore. User, system, browser, and app ‘cache’ files are mostly temporary and no longer needed. Dig them up and get rid of them. 

Use macOS Storage Manger to free up space

If you have macOS Sierra or later, there is a free app that helps you quickly identify where your files are and how much space they’re taking up. The Storage Management Window offers recommendations and solutions for optimizing your storage

Use 3rd-Party Software

Applications like CleanMyMac (I personally recommend and use it) go above and beyond cleaning unused, unwanted files. It can also provide solutions to speed up your Mac, and keep it free of viruses and malware.

If you take the time to do any of these tasks, I guarantee your Mac will feel faster, in addition to adding longevity to your Mac’s life.

If you need any help with these tasks, you can hit me up to schedule a Mac Cleanup booking session…

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iPhone Tip: Enable Mail Smart Folders

I have been forcing myself to use the default Mail App to make sure I take advantage of all the features and functionality before I label the app wack, and adopt a 3rd-Party iPhone mail app.

So late last week, I flagged several emails in my inbox to quickly access those messages later. So when the time came to find those emails, I could not find the ‘Flagged’ email folder. So after to trial and error (and when I say trial and error, I mean searching Google), I was able to figure out how to enable additional iOS Mail smart folder options.

What Are iOS Mail Smart Folders

The short version – Instead of digging through your entire mailbox on your iPhone or iPad, you can enable Smart Folders to only see certain emails that match certain criteria. Smart Folders enabled, you can quickly view certain types of folders like (you guessed it) messages that you have flagged “important”. Additional handy smart folders include unread messages and messages with attachments.

Enabling Smart Folders

Of course, not all Smart Folders are enabled by default, which was the case of the Flagged folder that held the messages I was saving for later. To see and enable all available smart folders:

  1. Open Mail
  2. Make sure you can see all the Mailboxes you’ve currently signed in to
  3. Click “Edit” in the upper right corner of the screen

From there, you will be able to see all the available mailboxes that you can hide/unhide, in addition to the ‘Smart Folders’ you can toggle including:

  • VIP
  • Flagged
  • To or CC
  • Attachements
  • Thread Notifications
  • Today
  • All Drafts
  • All Archive
  • All Sent All Trash

Once you decide which Smart Folders to enable that makes sense for you and how you triage email, those folders will now be available right from the Mailboxes section of the Mail app. The Whole Point of this exercise is to quickly access the emails you need to see, instead of digging through your inboxes.

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4 Reasons To Use iCloud Keychain

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 I was working with a client a couple weeks ago, and she inquired about utilizing a password manager for her team. She needed some sharing features, so I recommended my go-to LastPass.

She also asked about her mother adopting a password manager as well – Her mother is currently storing passwords in a physical notebook and in locked notes in the iPhone-native Notes app.

For her mother, I recommended she look into using the native iCloud Keychain to manager her passwords. Here’s 4 reasons why iCloud Keychain may be a better fit over fancier 3rd-Party password manager services:

iCloud Keychain is Apple

The only requirements to start using iCloud Keychain is you need an Apple ID, an Apple device and…That’s it. Just turn on iCloud Keychain in iCloud settings, you it will automatically start remembering your passwords. No matter if you’re on an Mac, iPhone, or iPad, it just works with no fuss.

iCloud Keychain is Simple

No worrying about software updates, compatibility issues or complex features, configurations, or functionality. If you open a website or app, iCloud Keychain will prompt you to enter a stored password. Enter a new password for the first time, it will ask to save the password. That’s it. 

iCloud Keychain is Secure

Apple is serious about your data security, so naturally one of its services that focuses on keeping your passwords secure, will require a level of security in and of itself. So in order to use iCloud Keychain, you do have to turn on 2-Factor Authentication. Doing so will lock down your data with end-to-end encryption that will keep your passwords on lock down.

iCloud Keychain is Free

Apple’s hardware costs a pretty penny. The software/services that come with adopting the Apple ecosystem…not so much. iCloud Keychain is free to use across all your devices. No per user/computer/year subscription costs like other 3rd-Party services. So save as many passwords as you want, free of charge. 

All that to say, if you don’t need a super-sophisticated password management tool that can sync across different hardware/software brands, or need to share data with multiple users across your team, you might want to adopt iCloud Keychain as your main password manager.

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iPhone Tip – Use Mobile-Friendly Sites

The 2 top items currently sucking up all the space on your phone are pictures and apps. While you can’t fathom offloading all those never-to-be-seen selfies, there may be some room to get rid of a ton of those apps you use maybe once a quarter.

But you really don’t have to stop using those services on your phone because I bet money those same apps have a mobile-friendly version that you can access via the mobile browser that I bet money have the same features and functionality as a full-blown mobile app.

That wasn’t the case 3-5 years ago, but now companies are building entire websites and web applications with mobile in mind because…folks can’t pry themselves from their phones if they wanted to. So companies want to be where the people are – Which is currently 12 inches from your face.

Taking this into account, I’m positive you can go through most of your phone’s app inventory and replace it with a bookmark, better yet, a home screen icon of the mobile-friendly web version. 

So I challenge you – See how many apps you can delete off your phone AFTER you’ve signed in and bookmarked the mobile-friendly website. Bonus: Hit me in the comments with number of apps you successfully deleted.


Why You Need Multiple Backups

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I STAY preaching the importance of having multiple backups. Today my advice came in handy FOR ME. I was cleaning up my “Final Cut Pro” external Hard Drive (that’s not synced with Dropbox by the way…too big) and accidentally deleted some video files…and emptied the trash.

I panicked for a hot second because I can’t remember the last time I backed up my external Hard Drive locally. But I remembered that my AUTOMATIC cloud backup not only backs up my MacBook but also any non-Time Machine drives connected to it. So logged in, selected the files on my drive and was able to restore with no problem.

PLEASE don’t sleep on backups. Holla at me if you want me to help create a backup strategy for you.

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Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

iPhone Hack – Create PDF Documents

I haven’t done any research or fact checking on this hot-take, but I know the PDF file format is a universal document standard that can be opened by pretty much any device.

So it blows my mind when people send me native Word (.doc) documents that I don’t need to edit. What really grinds my gears more than people who go on social media and complain about a brand that did something grimey, but ain’t thinking about boycotting, is when somebody sends me a Word document I need to sign.

If the sender would have taken the two extra seconds to create a PDF before sending the doc, I could quickly open, sign and send using my iPhone. I am NOT the one to print, sign, scan, and send a document #SaveTheTrees, so here’s little hack I use when I need to create PDF documents from Word/Pages documents, web pages and more using my iPhone – No extra PDF creator app needed.

Mac Heads

How To Completely Uninstall Apps From Your Mac

I’m a little anal-retentive so I keep my MacBook Pro as clean as possible, inside and out. One of the things I do regularly to maintain a healthy Mac is uninstall apps I no longer use.

I would suggest anybody who wants to keep their Mac running as fast and as long as possible to routinely get rid of “old and busted” apps. I’m not really sure everybody knows how to completely uninstall apps from their Mac, so I put together a quick how-to video.

Yes, I know what you Macsplainers (I just made that up) are thinking: “Well actually, some apps leave hidden files and folders on your Mac even after you uninstall apps the regular way”.

If you want to dive deeper into cleaning up your Mac, check out services like Clean My Mac that will defintely dig into all the hidden and layered crud and crust on your Mac.

Mac Heads

iOS Security: 3 Steps You Can Take Right Now

If hackers can break into Pippa Middleton’s iCloud account (sister to Kate Middleton, who is married to Prince William…Real talk, I had to look her up to find out who she was), you better believe they can get into yours. Sure, you may not think you’re important enough to hack, but sucks to be you if you’re hacked because you chose not to take these 3 simple steps for better iOS security.

Add a longer device Passcode

While it takes a ton of effort on a hacker’s part, it is now possible to crack the default 4-digit long passcode most of us use on our devices. To make it even harder for hackers, you can opt to use a 6-digit (or longer) passcode for added security:

Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Change Passcode

Update Your Apple ID Password

I’m almost positive that the company you work for requires you to change your system password every 90 days or so. If it doesn’t, the entire IT department needs to be fired. If you’re a small biz owner and you are your IT department, fire yourself.

Apple does not require you to change your Apple ID Password. So a good habit to pick up would be to change your Apple ID password when you’re required to change your work password:

Settings > iCloud > Click your account > Password & Security > Change Password

Add 2-Factor Authentication

The final and possibly best way to protect your Apple ID account would be to add 2-Factor Authentication. That way, if somebody gets your Apple ID and password, then tries to log in to your account from a device not already recognized by your account, they will also need access to your phone in order to enter the special code Apple sends via text message or iCloud message.

Settings > iCloud > Click your account > Password & Security > Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
Device sequences may vary depending on iOS version installed

All that to say It’s best to take the extra precaution now, versus trying to figure out why you’re spread eagle all over the interwebz.

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

Recovery Mode To The Rescue

During the day, I’m a Mobile Device System Administrator. Every once in a while, I have to schedule the repair of damaged devices or resell/recycle old devices. I try and try…and try to remind my users that they need to remove their data and restore their devices back to factory settings before sending them back to me.

Most comply, but more often than I would like, I get a device from somebody who just packed them up and shipped them off. Since our mobile device policy forces users to add a passcode to their devices, well…let’s just say there’s a good chance that I will get a little surprise (read: do extra work) every time I power up a returned device.

Since I know some of you are the Mobile Device Managers for your friends/family/household, and may have “forgetful users” of your own to support, you can use this little trick to remove the passcode on your device by putting it in Recovery Mode:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer (PC or Mac. If you have a Chromebook, you just lost one) and connect your device.
  2. Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons until you see the “Connect to iTunes” symbol on your device.
  3. Follow the instructions on how to Restore your device in iTunes.

iPad in Recovery Mode

BE AWARE, going through the restore procedure WILL wipe all your data off the device, so be sure to have a back up #BackDatAssetUp. The positive is that doing this will keep certain settings intact…Like your Apple ID, so if your device is lost/stolen, it can’t just be completely reset and reused using this method.

Tip: Do not follow this procedure if you are trying to sell/recycle/donate your devices. Check out this Apple support link on the necessary steps to remove the Apple activation lock from your device.

Most importantly, you will now have access to you device. Recovery mode also works if you think you have completely messed up your device while doing things like installing iOS 10 Public beta, or attempting to jailbreak your device.