How can you help another computer user from a distance? I am going to show you a super easy way to help another Mac user using software that came with your computer.
Sometimes we get questions about computer problems from friends and family. It would be so easy if we were in the same room and could see and interact with their screen. But if they are far away, or in 2020, staying isolated because of Coronavirus, how do you help them?
If you and the other person both have Macs, and you can send and receive messages using the Messages app, then the answer is just a click away.
To connect to your friend’s computer, we are going to use the Messages App (formerly known as iMessage). This application comes with every Macintosh. It isn’t obvious, but the humble Messages app has a superpower. It can remote control a computer screen.
It might be good to first verify that you can send and receive messages to and from the remote computer. You must be connecting to your friend via their email address, which should be associated with their Apple ID.
If you see the blue text bubble(s) when messaging your friend, the next steps should go smoothly. If you see green text bubbles, or can’t send and receive messages at all, see the Difficulties section below.
To begin screen sharing, make sure that the correct friend’s conversation is highlighted in the Messages window. Then, select Ask to Share Screen from Messages’ Buddies menu.
This will cause a message to appear in the upper right of your friend’s screen asking them to allow screen sharing:
When they click Accept, they will get one more message:
For troubleshooting with a trusted friend, it is usually easier if the recipient allows you to control their screen as well as observe it. Control is the default.
Once they click Accept, screen sharing will begin.
Either party can end screen sharing. Remember that if the computer restarts, or if you quit the Messages app, screen sharing will end and need to be restarted.
I have successfully talked some very inexperienced computer users through this process on the phone. They only have to be able to see when they receive a text message, and then click Accept twice. After that, you will be able to help them.
You’ll probably be talking to your friend on the phone to get this started. When screen sharing starts, it also starts an on-line voice conversation. You should be prepared to end the phone call when this happens to prevent echo, feedback and confusion. You will still be able to speak to each other via the computer (if both computers have microphones and speakers — most do).
If this is not working as expected, check the following:
Both computers must be running MacOS
Both computers must be connected to the Internet
Both parties must have an Apple ID
Check that the email addresses being used for communication are listed in System Preferences/Apple ID under Name, Phone, Email in the Reachable at section. If not, they can be added there.
These are the Keynote slides from MacMAD’s February 2020 meeting on using Gestures on iOS and Macintosh. Note: this presentation contains some short videos so is rather large (~160 MB). The link is to a Keynote presentation file shared in iCloud.
No, no weapons here. Unless you count our individual capable minds when it comes to solving problems. Computer problems. More succinctly, hardware that gives our operating system problems. First, a little back-ground.
I use my iMac Pro and MacBook Pro mainly for creating and editing video. FCPX and DaVinci Resolve Studio are my software tools of choice. Anyone involved in editing video knows it requires serious computing power and external hardware in the form of external RAID storage (48TB LaCie Big Disk). And to get the color perfect, a calibrated high end monitor (Flanders CM250) which requires an I/O interface (AJA Io 4K Plus). For great audio, 2 Focal monitors are controlled by a Universal Audio Arrow I/O device via Thunderbolt 3. I also have an external hub for the many ports I need for video and audio (CalDigit TS3 Plus). Sometimes, these pieces of hardware can have hiccups when interfacing with Mac OS. Rarely, but it happens, as it did for a few weeks lately.
The Problem. I leave my iMac Pro on overnight. A few weeks ago, when I would first try to wake the computer from it’s much deserved rest, I noticed that the machine was starting from boot and I got a message that it had shut down because of a problem. They never tell you what the problem is, we long for the day!
Now some would probably look to the OS or poorly written software as the first probable culprit but that line of inquiry would take a lot of time and I could see me on the phone with Apple for hours as my blood pressure peaks to an unhealthy crest. Checking hardware is easier and would most likely, in my mind, expose the problem. First I had to make sure the corresponding software for each piece of hardware was up to date and compatible with my OS. Easy peasy, all was good. So every evening I would disconnect each external device but one, and wake up to see if the machine was sleeping, or dead. If sleeping and fine (they were), I then connected two of the devices in every combination. I wish I could tell you the mystery was solved, but the results were ambiguous at best. With only one of the devices connected at a time, all was well. But when I started to combine hardware in two’s, the results were erratic and showed no clear path to the solution. I had resigned myself to either putting up with the inconvenience or shutting it down each evening in a proper fashion. Then I looked over at my RAID box and saw the little 1TB SSD connected to it on it’s 2nd Thunderbolt port and sitting atop of it, hidden by the box of tissue yet on top of it. I forgot to mention it above just like I forgot about it in the chain of hardware in my workflow. I use it mainly for quick drag ‘N drop backup of individual files as I work through the day. I thought, “That can’t be the problem, can it, this little drive”? Of course it could, and it was. It’s been one full week without a crash since I unmounted the drive (it is still connected though, weird) I’m not sure why, though I think it has to do with the fact that it’s a Thunderbolt 2 device connected via an adapter to the RAID box via Thunderbolt 3.
What have I learned? Well, a few times I was sure it was the most expensive item (LaCie Big Disk) in the chain that was causing the problem, and some of the testing seemed to point to it but there was always a morning where the result refuted the conclusion. So watch out for confirmation bias. In the end it was the littlest and most inconsequential item that caused the issue. Also, patience and thoroughness are two prized qualities of the troubleshooter. Without it, well, you may need to stock up on your blood pressure meds.
I am frequently asked if I am going to conduct an iPad/iPhone class. Because of the member interest, and the significant changes in iOS 13, the operating system, I will be conducting iPad/iPhone classes in the new year. All classes will be held at One Senior Place in Viera.
Classes will be held on seven consecutive Mondays, from 6 to 8 pm, starting on 6 January 2020 and concluding on 17 February 2020. As in the past, classes will be free to all MacMAD members who are paid up through 1 March 2020. For all others the fee will be $50 per participant.
Among other things I will be covering are:
Activity views (which replace Share sheets and are for more than just sharing)
Enable Dark Mode on your mobile device
Using the new Find My app
Make the most of improved text editing tools
Use Siri and Shortcuts to do even more than before
Use accessibility improvements, including voice control and mouse support
Discover the capabilities of Apple’s upgraded apps–including Files, Mail, Maps, Messages, Notes, and Reminders
Use Screen Time to make better choices about when and how you use your device
Work with the updated iPad Home screen, Dock, and on- screen keyboard
Learn about the new iPad multitasking capabilities, including more ways to split the screen, use multiple windows, and drag & drop between apps
Browse the web with ease using the desktop-class Safari for iPadOS
Use the significantly updated Camera and Photos apps to take photos and videos, apply camera effects, and organize your media
Make sense of the Lock screen, Home screen, and Control Center and customize them to meet your needs
Search with Spotlight
Switch between apps and use Handoff to transfer your work
Navigate the App Store
Understand Family Sharing
Manage your data–both on your device and in the cloud
Make calls and use FaceTime and Voicemail
Organize your Wallet and use Apple Pay
Protect your privacy
Improve your battery life
Seating will be limited. If you are interested please call (321) 751- 6771 to reserve your place. Dennis Crowley
I want to document the process I went through recently when I sent my iPhone in for repair. That’s a similar process to getting an entirely new phone. There were some unexpected issues you should be aware of. This is going to be pretty long, so here’s some key points first.
While you still have your old phone, whether or not you expect to get a new one soon, make a backup of your phone. If your phone unexpectedly fails, or is lost or stolen, you will have to get a new one. You can backup your phone to your computer or to iCloud. If you specify a password for the backup, you will get a more complete backup than if you do not. I recommend using the password. Write it down.
If you are using two-factor-authentication (2FA) login for any sites, create backup codes to access those sites. Look at your authentication apps (e.g., Google Authenticator, 1Password and Last Pass Authenticator) and make a list of all the sites you are using with those apps. Your 2nd Factor information may not be restored to your new phone. Make sure you know how you will sign on to your sites without it.
If any of your sites use text messages or phone calls as an alternate 2nd factor for login, consider assigning another phone number, such as your spouse’s phone for these, since if you are without your phone, you can’t receive those messages.
Make sure you know your Apple ID username/password, your iPhone’s passcode, and the password to your latest iPhone backup. Write them down. Your Apple ID credentials are the same as you use for iCloud logon.
Your Old Phone
If you are sending your iPhone away, out of your control, for any reason, including repair, or sale or trade, you should follow Apple’s Instructions here. Your phone should then be a blank slate, just as it was when it was brand new, with none of your personal data in it. Be aware, that if you have an Apple Watch, this will render your Apple Watch completely useless until you pair it with another iPhone. (Is this true for cellular model watches also?)
Remove the case from your iPhone if it has one. Remove the screen protector, if any.
Remove the SIM card from your old phone. Save it. You will need it for the new/repaired phone.
Received the New/Repaired Phone
I had backed up my iPhone to my Mac. When I got the phone back, although it was the same phone (I recognized minor scratches on the back), it had a new serial number from Apple, and for all practical purposes, it was a different phone.
The process below will be different if you are restoring from iCloud, or if you make any of several choices differently than I did, but this will give you an idea.
This process was longer and more complex than I would have liked. I had to enter multiple passwords multiple times, and deal with confusing dialogs, but I got done eventually.
Begin by installing the SIM card into the phone.
Next, power on the phone. Enter your language and country when prompted.
I chose “Set up Manually” since I had no other iOS device present.
Enter your WiFi password.
You’ll see a message “…It may take a few minutes to activate your phone”.
You’ll click through the Data and Privacy notification screen.
Next, setup touch ID or face ID, depending on your phone model.
You must create a passcode. You can re-use the passcode you had before. I chose “custom alphanumeric code” for greater security.
Enter the passcode twice. (To prove you really know it, and entered it correctly.)
Restoring Apps and Data
The phone presents you with the following options:
Restore from iCloud Backup
Restore from iTunes Backup
Move Data from Android
Don’t Transfer Apps & Data
I selected Restore from iTunes Backup, and connected my phone by USB to my Mac.
An irrelevant and distracting dialog pops up on the Mac.
Cancel that to see the meaningful dialog behind it. As of MacOS Mojave, the actions below take place in iTunes. In MacOS Catalina, it is expected to take place directly in the Finder.
I selected my most recent backup to restore, and had to enter the password. Even though I had saved the password to my keychain when I created it, I still had to enter it manually here. Don’t forget your backup password, or remember where you saved it.
The phone restarts automatically after the restore, and you are presented with multiple popups.
On the iPhone, press Home to upgrade, and enter your passcode on the phone (your iPhone passcode).
This was the one place where things actually went wrong in this process for me. After a progress bar, the Apple logo appeared on the iPhone. After a long wait, iTunes said Syncing TV Shows to “Jamie Cox’s iPhone” (Step 4 of 4), and Waiting for items to copy. I was looking at a 100% progress bar for many minutes. (I only had a couple TV episodes on my phone.)
I gave up waiting and clicked Done in iTunes. The phone wouldn’t power down with a long press on the side power button. (This was an iPhone 7) This proved to me that it really was hung, and would never have finished no matter how long I waited. I held Power and Volume Down for a reset. I then unplugged the phone from USB. When the phone started up, I had to enter my iPhone passcode. I was then at the Update Completed screen on the phone.
Things are back on track now where you should be if the phone doesn’t hang.
General New iPhone Setup
At this point, you will be prompted to enter your Apple ID password. You may also receive this security prompt on the Mac:
After clicking Allow, on the Mac, you then get a 6-digit code which you need to enter on the iPhone. (If you have two-Factor Authentication enabled on your iCloud account.)
Then agree to the Terms and Conditions screen.
Then you see the Location Services screen. (I chose Enable Location Services.)
Now, you will see the Welcome to iPhone Screen. Choose Get Started.
Now, finally, you are at the iPhone home screen, with icons loading.
On the Mac, you may get a couple more popups. First, asking if you want to add your phone number to iMessage and FaceTime. (I clicked Yes.) Second, notifying you that “Your Apple ID and phone number are now being used for iMessage and FaceTime on a new iPhone.”
At this point, I put the case back on my phone.
Re-Pairing the Apple Watch
Initiate pairing by moving your phone close to the watch. Let the phone’s camera see the pattern on the watch face.
I selected Restore from Backup, to get my watch back to where it was previously.
You’ll have to agree to the Apple Watch Terms and Conditions screen on the iPhone.
Then enter your Apple ID password on the iPhone. (For me, the steps in this sections failed the first three times. I then restarted both the iPhone and the watch. After that, it worked.)
After your Apple ID is verified, you will get to the Shared Settings screen. Tap OK.
You will be asked to create a passcode for your watch. (I used the same code I had before.) You must enter it twice.
You may see the Heart Health screen on the iPhone. Tap continue.
You may see the Apple Pay screen on iPhone. Tap Continue. Then you will have a chance to enter credit cards or set them up later in the Apple Watch App. (I chose to set them up later.)
You’ll see the SOS and Fall Detection screen. Pay attention, this could be important later. I enabled Fall Detection. It can save your life later.
What Wasn’t Restored
All my credit cards were missing from the Apple Wallet after the restoration, both on iPhone and Apple Watch. However, my loyalty cards and passes were still present in Wallet. Apparently Credit Cards are not stored in the Apple Watch or iPhone backups, even when the encrypted backup option is selected. This is probably a security measure by Apple.
As I mentioned before, my Two-Factor Authentication information was not restored in Google Authenticator or Last Pass Authenticator Apps. So, I could no longer generate codes for those sites I had been using with those apps. The 1Password app still had all my passwords as well as 2nd factor codes for those sites which used those. Your mileage may vary depending on your version of 1Password and how you sync it.
My Home Kit devices remained set up in iPhone as before, no problem.
If you had installed a configuration profile, such as the Spectrum WiFi access profile, it isn’t restored, and you will have to follow the instructions from the provider to get it installed on your new phone.
Your WiFi credentials are not restored. You will have to re-login to your favorite WiFi networks.
You will have to re-pair your Bluetooth devices, such as headphones, speakers, and car stereos.
During the restore process, you will have to enter passwords or passcodes at least 10 times, assuming you don’t make any mistakes, and everything goes perfectly.
iPhone Backup Password 1 time
WiFi Password 1 time
iPhone Passcode 4 times
Apple ID 2 times
Watch Passcode 2 times
Before you start, make sure you know your existing passwords, or what you want them to be, and write them down in a safe place.
So, I hope this overview of the process of getting a new iPhone was helpful to you. This process seems like it is longer and more difficult than it should be, but knowing it in advance should help. Please leave a comment if this was useful, or if you see anything wrong or anything I left out.
In their quest for help with their Apple gadgets, many users overlook the free resources provided by the Apple mothership.
Apple provides a number of helpful text and video tutorials on their support page. Either select your device or topic there, or use the search on that page to find what you are looking for. Most common tasks and questions are covered.
Apple also has a series of free eBooks covering many of their hardware and software products. To find these, open the Books app that came with your device. You will have to sign in with your Apple ID. (Your Apple ID is the same as your iCloud credentials, and is the one ID and password you use for all Apple services.)
You may find that you already have a User Guide for your devices in your Books library. There’s more available, though. If you click the Book Store icon, you can find more books to download. Any book which says Get instead of a price will be free. You can search for “Apple”, or “iPhone”, for example, to find applicable books. Note that there are often different versions of the same book for newer and older versions. Choose a version that matches what you have.
Here are links to some of these useful (free!) books. Enjoy.
“My photo appears correct on my computer, but when I uploaded it to [website], it is sideways. How can I make my image upload in the correct orientation?”
This problem is surprisingly universal, it affects many different web sites and users of Windows, Macintosh, tablets and smartphones are all affected. It most often affects photos that were taken in portrait orientation.
The problem is caused by the varying interpretations of the image rotation tags in the EXIF data accompanying digital photos. This problem is not likely to go away anytime soon because the meaning of the rotation tags is somewhat ambiguous, and there is disagreement about what the correct way to handle them ought to be. Some software thinks it should apply the tags, other programs or sites think they should ignore the tags or remove the tags.
There is an easy solution for users: Edit the photo in your photo editor of choice (with the possible exception of Windows Picture Viewer). Rotate it to be right-side-up if necessary. Then make some other change that affects the image. Tweak the contrast or the color. Crop the image slightly. Almost any change will work. Then, save it.
The saved image will have its pixels oriented properly and have no Orientation tag, or have the default Horizontal tag. Everybody agrees on how to display an image like that. When you upload it, it will display the same as you saw it on your computer.
If you edit an image, but only rotate it, your editor will probably just change the Orientation tag without changing the image pixels. Unfortunately, not every program or site will interpret the Orientation tag the same way as your image editor.
If you make a change to the actual image, it forces the program to completely re-write the image from scratch, which results in an image with the default orientation.