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.

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

Mac Tip: Customize Finder Toolbar

In a previous post, I showed you how to skip the Mac’s “Finder Window” altogether and use the built-in Spotlight tool to quickly find and open files, folders, apps, as well as complete a number of tasks.

If you’re one of those stubborn, can’t teach an old dog new tricks type folks people who have grown too accustomed to using your Mac’s Finder window to suddenly change your ways, here’s how you can customize the Finder toolbar to quickly access commonly used functions…and discover new ones.

  1. Access the Finder Window one of two ways:
    • Accessing the Finder Window “App” in your Mac’s toolbar
    • pressing the “command” + “F” keys (make sure your desktop is the current window)
  2. Right-click (or two-finger click if you’re using a track pad) In any blank space in the current Finder toolbar to reveal the finder options dropdown and select “Customize Toolbar”
  3. right_click_finder_toolbar

  4. Drag desired “buttons” to empty spaces in toolbar menu

Extra Tip: You can use this method to customize any window toolbar (apps, folders, etc).

I’ll be honest, customizing the Finder toolbar isn’t some “power user” tip, but in my travels as a Mac IT professional, I’ve come across many users who use their Mac as-is without any sort of tweaking or customization. So a little insight on something as simple as adding more buttons to the Finder toolbar may just uncover functions that could increase your productivity and overall Mac knowledge.

…And as expensive as these Mac’s are, I would think you’d want to squeeze as much functionality out of these jawns as possible.

You’re welcome

Speed up your Mac with CleanMyMac 2!

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

Speed Up Your MacBook Finder Window By Removing Cache

Speed Up Your MacBook Finder Window By Removing Cache via brothatechIf used right, MacBook Finder can be a quick and efficient tool to find your files. If not taken care of, using Finder can be a downright pain, especially if the contents of a folder take forever to display, or just scrolling through your files is slow and choppy.

If you find that looking for files on your computer takes forever, don’t just chalk it up to an old computer, it could just be that your Finder cache is clogged and needs to be cleared out.

Without getting too geeky, all the applications on your Mac store commonly used information in cache files for quick retrieval. Guess what? That little two-toned, smiley face that you frequently click on to find your files is an application, and the more you use Finder, the more stuff gets stored in its cache. Since spring is right around the corner, here are two ways to clear out your Finder cache.

1. Delete the MacBook Finder Cache

Similar to how we deleted unused application cache folders in a previous post on recovering storage space on your Mac, you’re going to find and delete the folder.

1. Click Finder and in the menu bar click Go > Go to Folder
2. Type ~/Library/Caches and click Go
3. Locate the folder and delete it

Delete MacBook Finder window cache via BrothaTech

Don’t worry, you aren’t deleting any important files, you’re just forcing your Mac to rebuild the folder brand-new after a restart.

2. Safe Boot Your Mac

Probably the easier way to force your Mac to clear your Finder’s cache is by starting your Mac in Safe Mode. Safe Mode is your Mac’s way of doing a system check, and dumping some stuff (like certain application caches).

To do this, restart your Mac and hold down the Shift Key during startup (as SOON as you hear the “Bong” sound or see any lights on your screen). Don’t worry, that weird thing your computer screen is doing is normal.

You will know if your Mac is in Safe Mode is by looking up in the right-corner of your Mac at the login screen. Now you can ogin in normally and when your computer desktop, icons and other stuff shows up, you can shut down and restart your computer normally.

MacBook Finder window - Boot in Safe Mode

Your MacBook’s Finder window should now be much smoother and more tolerable. So don’t get rid of her yet, use that money to add more RAM (memory) or upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD) to speed up your Mac even more.

For tech tips delivered to your inbox, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter. If you need an Apple Certified Support Professional to give your Mac a good Spring Cleaning once over, you know where to find me.

Speed up your Mac with CleanMyMac 2!

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

Recover Storage Space On Your Mac

“But I hardly have anything on my computer” is usually the first thing people tell me after their Mac spits out that (paraphrasing) “Yo, I’m too full! You might wanna ditch some of this old junk you’re keeping a hold of before I won’t even startup”

Technically, you didn’t deliberately cram your Mac to the lid with files, but a quick peek at your storage space in “About This Mac” tells a different story. A full Hard Drive may not even be your fault. Even if you take steps to keep your computer “clean” by frequently clearing out the “trash” and “downloads” folders on you Mac, there could be some files you can’t see or didn’t know that are taking up space on your Mac.

So I’ve compiled a task list of things you can do to recover storage space on your Mac.

Disconnect cloud sync accounts

If you think you’re doing your computer a favor by storing all your files in Dropbox, Google Drive, or some other cloud storage service, think again. Technically speaking, they should be called Cloud Synchronization services because all they do is make sure the files in the cloud and the files ON YOUR COMPUTER are in sync. Yeah, you read that right, with cloud sync services, you have multiple copies of your files in multiple places.

So a quick fix to temporarily recover some storage space would be to:

1 Unlink those cloud sync services
2 Delete the copies from your computer.

…Don’t worry, as long as you DISCONNECT/UNLINK BEFORE YOU DELETE, a copy of all your files will be saved in the cloud. Now would be a good time to clean out all those unwanted files and consolidate cloud sync services before you link computer back to your cloud accounts.

Free 15-day trial of BackBlaze Cloud Backup Service (Affiliate Link)

Delete unused Apps and delete app cache

You know good and well you don’t need all those applications you’ve only used twice. Truth of the matter is, everything (including applications) are moving to the cloud, so what you really need can in most cases be accessed via the web. So go ahead and delete those apps, because they too are clogging up your storage.

To completely delete any trails of the application(s) you just deleted, you probably need to delete the application cache (files that store application preferences)…Just pay close attention to what application cache folders you want to delete or will have to redo some application settings if you delete to wrong ones.

If I had a choice of applications you need to keep on your computer, one tool I frequently use and suggest would select Disk Doctor. To make a long story short, after launch, Disk Doctor searches your Mac and reveals multiple types of files, including files in the trash/downloads folder, application logs/caches, mail downloads, and other files you can safely remove without damaging your computer.

Disk Doctor Scan via brothatech

Delete iTunes device backups

If you backup your iPhone, iPad, or other iDevice to your Mac via iTunes, chances are, all those backup files are being stored on computer. They are kept there even if you no longer use, or have switched phones. If left unchecked, the list of devices, more importantly, the amount of data in the form of backups stored on your is counting against your available space.

Going into iTunes Preferences > Devices will show you all the device backups. From there, you can decide which backups are old enough to be deleted.

Side Note: If you want to change where iTunes saves iDevice backups, check out this tutorial, or skip iTunes altogether and use iCloud for device backup.

So I’ve given you the lowdown on how to recover storage space on your Mac. You have two choices, take some time to work through these steps, or call me in a panic when you see that “Your startup disk is almost full” message.

You know where to find me

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Mac Heads News

Your iPhone Data Is Safe With Apple…For Now

On Apple’s website yesterday, CEO Tim Cook posted a letter reassuring its customers that the encrypted iPhone data will not be compromised…even at the request of the government.

“February 16, 2016

A Message to Our Customers

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake…”


What Tim Cook is responding to is in the Aftermath of the San Bernradino California shooting back in December, the FBI requested Apple’s help in recovering password-protected iPhone data that belonged to the shooters.

The FBI went as far as obtaining a court order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of California to force Apple to “supply highly specialized software the FBI can load onto the county-owned work iPhone to bypass a self-destruct feature, which erases the phone’s data after too many unsuccessful attempts to unlock it. The FBI wants to be able to try different combinations in rapid sequence until it finds the right one.”

Reading deeper into the letter on Apple’s website, Tim Cook expands on the need for encryption and why weakening said encryption for whatever reason is a slippery slope:

“…The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.

The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.

We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them…”

This is not a new argument as Silicon Valley and the U.S. government have frequently been on the opposite ends of the privacy versus safety debate. Tech companies have been very vocal about the dangers of allowing the government to access private data trusted to tech companies (via their devices) by its customers. Conversely, the government has argued that there are certain instances like terror attacks where accessing specific data from specific individuals could help the government learn more about past attacks and even prevent future threats.

For now, Apple has decided to take a stand and resist any requests by the government, court ordered or not, to keep our iPhone data password-protected, encrypted data, well…password-protected and encrypted. We will have to see how far this debate goes.

Where Do You Stand?

Since it’s OUR data that tech companies want to protect and it’s OUR data that the government wants to access in order to protect us, do you think it was right for Apple to “Just Say No” to the FBI in the name of keeping our data secure from even the government? Or do you feel that the government should have some type of access to specific, court-ordered consumer data in the name of possibly preventing future attacks that could jeopardize our safety?

What say you?

Source: Apple | MSN News

Mac Heads News

Error 53 Will Brick Your iPhone If Just Anybody Repairs It

“What’s your best price?” Is a question I get all the time as an Apple repair guy…ALL THE TIME. I understand, folks work hard for their money and want to make sure they are getting the best deal. So I always have to pitch my value as a certified repair guy and it goes something like “I understand that there could be cheaper prices out there, but I’m certified and I only use OEM parts and they are backed by a lifetime warranty…(“womp womp womp womp” is what I assume they hear after I give them the price).
Not trying to scare the hell out of you, Well…maybe I am, but if you’ve busted up your phone and it needs repair, be careful who you let fix it. There is a new iOS 9 update that affects all iDevices with Touch ID “fingerprint” home buttons that your el cheapo average repair guy on craigslist or Yelp with a super low repair price may not know, or care about and could result in rendering your entire phone useless.


There is an “Error 53” message making its way around the web that’s reported to brick iPhones. Based on all “the world’s ending” tech articles published on the subject, Error 53 has been traced to devices where the ORIGINAL Touch ID home button has been replaced. Not a common procedure, but if your home button has been damaged beyond repair OR if you customize your device with pretty colors, there are situations where the original home button could have been replaced.
If the original Touch ID home button is replaced, that could also threaten the integrity of Apple’s security features. So what I’m assuming was a stop gap measure by Apple, it has released and confirmed a recent iOS 9 update that will cause major issues if your Touch ID-enabled device detects a foreign home button:

“We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device’s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.”

How can you avoid Error 53

The simple answer is “Don’t replace your home button”. Now here’s where repair guys like me come in. MOST if not all of my repairs are cracked screens. I’ve been in the game for quite sometime and already knew that putting in a foreign home button on a Touch ID-enabled device would render it useless. So when I get a Touch ID-enabled home button repair request I tell my clients “You will have to holla at Apple to get that fixed (paraphrasing)”.
Additionally, I test all devices before and after the repair and I’ve been CRAZY CAREFUL to not damage the home button during screen repair. MOST if not all iPhone repairs are of the cracked screen variety. Inside Baseball: During a cracked screen repair, the home button must be transplanted from one screen to another. So even if the home button is working fine there’s still a chance it can get damaged during an otherwise routine screen repair.
Not tooting my own horn (Can grown men use the word “toot?”), but my skill, experience and professionalism is why I command a higher price. But there are some folks who don’t care and opt to go with the “lowest bidder”, which boggles my mind – Why pay so much for an Apple device to only go the cheap route when something goes wrong? But I digress.
As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for”. There are some repair shops who will buy the cheapest parts, and do shoddy work, INCLUDING damage your Touch ID-enabled home button during repair and try to replace it on the sly. Before now it wasn’t a huge deal. Now Apple is forcing repair shops to step up their game in order to maintain its security features and protect your data.
So when (it’s not a matter of if) you crack the screen on your iPhone, you might want to rethink your repair budget and do a little more research before you let just anybody repair it. A cheap or half-ass repair could result in your entire phone getting bricked.
….You know my number

Mac Heads

Money On My Wrist: Square Cash Adds Apple Watch Support

All the time Every once in a while, my family and friends reach out and ask to borrow money. Now I don’t mind sending them the loot, my only requirement is that it has to be as simple as possible for me to send it. You know what that means – Tech to the rescue!

Nowadays, sending money electronically is pretty simple. The simplest way I’ve sent money is via Square Cash. The same folks who make it easy for small businesses to accept credit card transactions via their smartphone or tablet, are the same people making it easy to send money to friends and family via their mobile device.

The reason why I like Square cash over similar services is because all you have to do is download the app, link your debit card and the money goes right from your bank account and into the recipient’s bank account (provided they are using the app and linked their debit card) within seconds…Yeah, you read that right.

I have written about Cash before, but with the latest update, they have added Apple Watch functionality, making it even easier to money (and receive money, even though I don’t sweat people for my money…or sucker punch them).

Opening the Square Cash on my Apple Watch shows my recent transactions or I can search my contacts for other Square Cash users to quickly send money to their bank account. Once you find the recipient, You’re presented with dollar denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $100. So If I wanted to send $47 dollars (my family and friends are weird like that), I just tap the $20×2, $5 & $2.

If I don’t even want to do all that, I can tell them to use the Square Cash app to request money from me. The notification will hit my Apple Watch and I can quickly view and approve money request right from my wrist…And I didn’t leave my couch, or dig in between my seat cushions looking for my phone.

Don’t believe me? Use my invite code and get $5 free bucks to try it out and let me know what you think.

While you’re at it, Lemme hold $5 until Friday?