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 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.

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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.

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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 Tips and Tricks

Why You Want Thieves To Login To Your Mac

There are some things we all immediately do after we power up that brand-spankin’ new Mac. Some download and organize new apps, while others customize their desktop/lockscreen images.

Me, myself, personally…I tweak all the settings to get them just right. One of the first settings I mess with is turning off the ‘Guest User’ account – Nobody else is using my baby, so there isn’t any reason to even tempt me to allow a stranger’s germy hands to touch my keyboard.

But after some some studying for my latest Apple certification, I dug up a pretty interesting fact that forced me to immediately turn back on the Guest User account so strangers (particularly a thief) could actually login to my computer and connect to the internet.

If you’re not familiar with ‘Find My Mac’, it’s an iCloud security feature that lets you locate your iOS or Mac devices anywhere. You can login to you iCloud account online and as long as your Mac 1) Is powered on 2) Has the ‘Find My Mac’ feature enabled, and 3) Is connected to the internet, you can locate, track, lock, and even wipe your devices remotely.

Now traditional security procedures for locking down a Mac so nobody can do anything with it would be to use to use a strong password and force it to lock itself after a couple of minutes. The thought process behind that is if your Mac decided to grow legs and walk away, nobody could access your data, or browse the web to do whatever it is folks do on the internet…which is any and everything.

Here’s the hook: If a thief can’t get past the login screen, they are less likely to connect your Mac to a network to establish an internet connection, which would subsequently connect it to Apple’s iCloud servers, which would then let you use the ‘Find My Mac’ feature to locate and possibly retrieve your device (Please call the cops…Don’t try that vigilante crap).

On the flip-side, if the Guest User account on your Mac is enabled (there is no guest user password required to login to your computer), that just might tempt a thief to access the web which will initiate a connection between your Mac and your iCloud account.

I know what you’re thinking and don’t worry, a Guest User account can only do very basic things, and you can restrict a Guest User account even more by turning on and adjusting the Parental Controls, and/or encrypting your computer’s Hard Drive with the built-in (Read: $free.99) FileVault feature.

I know it sounds crazy, but if you want to even try to get your Mac back after it’s been stolen, you actually want the thief to be able to take selfies of themselves or yell at people on Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit using your baby.

…Just wipe off the keys with alcohol and a rag if you do get him/her back.

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

How To: Backup Your Mac With Time Machine

I’m going to keep this short and sweet: If you have a Mac, but you’re not using Apple’s free (and easy) Time Machine to back up your computer, you need to be slapped. Now that I’ve got your attention, I’ve whipped up a tutorial video on how easy it is to set up Time Machine so you can back up your computer because…I said so.

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

#TechTip: How To Use Spotlight To Control Your Mac

I like to consider myself a minimalist when I comes to my tech. I keep stuff simple as possible…probably because I get easily sidetracked.

As a result, I consider myself a pretty heavy Spolight user when I need to find something on my Mac, just so I can keep my desktop super clean and free of a bunch of icons. So let’s just say I was super geeked when I found a dope Mac trick that lets Spotlight fans like me quickly shutdown, restart, logout, or put my computer to sleep.

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

Want To Use Apple’s New Continuity Features? Make Sure Your Mac Is Compatible

When Mac OSX Yosemite was announced, the coolest feature highlighted was Apple’s ‘Continuity’ – All your Apple devices are belong to us! working closer together so you can seamlessly accomplish many of your most common tasks, no matter what device you use. Tasks like answer calls, respond to texts, responding to emails, browsing the web – All of your devices know what you’re doing and where you are in the process, and work together in harmony.

Come to find out, following all the instructions to get full experience of Continuity wasn’t enough to get the job done in my case.

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

How To Find Stores Who Accept Apple Pay Right Now

If you’re like me, you were itching to upgrade to iOS 8.1 so you could load all your credit/debit cards on your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus just to try out Apple’s new NFC-enabled mobile wallet system called Apple Pay.

So you went through the process of upgrading the iOS, adding and verifying your credit cards, and making sure all the contact information was correct. What’s next? Hitting the streets to find a participating merchant. Sure you knew that a gang of banks, merchants, and retailers were on board with Apple Pay at launch. But that didn’t mean you knew exactly where these stores are

Enter the MasterCard Nearby app