Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

Pick an apple! 
 
 

While all the articles in each mailed edition of TidBITS are available as individual articles, we also archive each edition in three forms (substitute an issue number for number):

Next 25 issues
 

TidBITS #1339 on 2016-09-26

Apple was quick to deliver iOS 10.0.1 and 10.0.2 last week to address some early bugs, most notably problems that prevented headphone audio controls from working reliably. The company also released macOS 10.12 Sierra, and Michael Cohen offers highlights of the new operating system. That said, if you use a ScanSnap scanner, Adam Engst explains why you should hold off on the upgrade. The developer beta of iOS 10.1 enhances the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus with the promised Portrait mode, which offers a professional-looking bokeh effect — Glenn Fleishman provides an explanation of the feature and a preview of how it works. Finally, macOS Sierra brought with it an avalanche of app updates, so the long list of notable software releases this week includes: Postbox 5.0.2, Sandvox 2.10.8, Tweetbot 2.4.3, TextWrangler 5.5.2, HoudahGeo 5.1, Parallels Desktop 12.0.2, Mailplane 3.6.7, CleanMyMac 3.5.1, Gemini 2.2.2, Safari 10.0, 1Password 6.3.3, Firefox 49.0, OmniFocus 2.7, Capto 1.1, Lightroom CC 2015.7 and Lightroom 6.7, Pages 6.0, Numbers 4.0, and Keynote 7.0 for Mac, SpamSieve 2.9.25, macOS Server 5.2, KeyCue 8.2, iBooks Author 2.5, and BBEdit 11.6.2.

TidBITS #1338 on 2016-09-19

Apple has released iOS 10, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10 — we have highlights and tips for all three operating systems, plus three Take Control titles covering iOS 10 and macOS 10.12 Sierra. Sierra is due to drop tomorrow, and Adam Engst prepares you for its Optimized Storage features, telling you which to enable and which to avoid. Finally, Apple has lowered its screen replacement costs, making AppleCare+ a better deal for those of us who punish our iPhones. Notable software releases this week include Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.10, VMware Fusion 8.5, BusyContacts 1.1.2, SuperDuper 2.9.1, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 8.1, Keyboard Maestro 7.3, Boom 2 v1.5, BusyCal 3.0.6, and iTunes 12.5.1.

TidBITS #1337 on 2016-09-12

We have huge news for you this week, as Apple has announced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as well as the Apple Watch Series 2. But that’s not all: Apple also unveiled the AirPods, new Bluetooth wireless earbuds powered by a proprietary W1 chip. Apple’s September 7th event boasted other surprises as well, including new commitments to education, real-time collaboration features in iWork, and a Super Mario Bros. game for the iPhone. And if that weren’t enough, Apple that day also published the release date for macOS 10.12 Sierra and tweaked its iPad lineup. In other news, Dropbox is removing the capability to host Web pages with its service. Finally, Jeff Porten takes a deep look at how foreign hackers could affect the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Be sure to read ExtraBITS right away for news of a spectacular one-day sale on iTunes Movies! We have no TidBITS Watchlist for you this week, as most developers delayed releases to avoid being overshadowed by Apple’s announcements.

TidBITS #1336 on 2016-09-05

In response to an attack vector discovered by human rights activists, Apple has issued another set of urgent security updates, this time for OS X and Safari. The company has also been slapped with a massive tax bill by the European Commission over its controversial tax deal with Ireland, and neither the Irish nor U.S. government is happy about it. Responding to complaints, T-Mobile has tweaked its T-Mobile ONE “unlimited” data plan — Josh Centers has all the details. Josh also offers a complete guide to the Mac’s startup key combinations, which can be essential when you’re troubleshooting problems. Finally, Glenn Fleishman dives into the topic of Slack privacy to discuss how team admins could access your private messages. Notable software releases this week include Alfred 3.1, Default Folder X 5.0.6, Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.5, DEVONthink 2.9.4, iFinance 4.1, and EagleFiler 1.7.

TidBITS #1335 on 2016-08-29

Apple has released iOS 9.3.5, and you should install it immediately — read on for the tale of intrigue behind this update. Adam Engst has a beef with how Apple labels Mac audio outputs and inputs, along with a suggestion for how to fix it. Julio Ojeda-Zapata reviews Google’s new Duo video chat app, which works between iOS and Android, but may be a bit too simple. Finally, Michael Cohen takes a deep dive into all the many ways you can revisit pages in Safari on the Mac. Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office 2016 15.25 and Office 2011 14.6.7, Fantastical 2.2.5, Pixelmator 3.5.1, BBEdit 11.6.1, and Typinator 6.10.

TidBITS #1334 on 2016-08-22

Cellular carriers are tweaking their plans in the lead-up to the next iPhone, with AT&T abandoning data overage charges and Sprint and T-Mobile offering new unlimited data plans. A new version of virtualization app Parallels Desktop is out, and with it comes a new Take Control book from Joe Kissell — Joe explains what’s new in Parallels and why you want “Take Control of Parallels Desktop 12.” If you’ve had trouble transferring a Take Control book or other file to your Kindle, Adam Engst has some solutions. Finally, get ready for new iPhones by learning about Find My iPhone: why you need it, how to turn it on, and when to turn it off. Notable software releases this week include LaunchBar 6.7.2 and OmniFocus 2.6.2.

TidBITS #1333 on 2016-08-15

Good news for owners of Eye-Fi X2 wireless storage cards: the company has released a new utility to set up and sync older Eye-Fi cards after the 15 September 2016 support cutoff date. Accessibility expert Steven Aquino rejoins us this week for a look at the new accessibility features coming to Apple’s ecosystem in the upcoming updates to macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Finally, Julio Ojeda-Zapata reviews the Markdown-focused Ulysses writing app for the Mac and iOS. Notable software releases this week include Parallels Desktop 11.2.1, 1Password 6.3.2, Storyspace 3.2, and DEVONthink 2.9.2.

TidBITS #1332 on 2016-08-08

Apple has released iOS 9.3.4 with just a single security fix, implying that it’s an important one to install. In the ongoing trend toward subscriptions, AgileBits has introduced a 1Password service that bundles software updates and cloud sync. Don’t worry, though, since the service is optional: the standalone 1Password apps remain available for purchase and will still receive development efforts. Apple has overhauled its remote control iOS app for the fourth-generation Apple TV — “Take Control of Apple TV” author Josh Centers has the details. Finally, we have sad news about the venerable digital commerce company Kagi, which is going out of business after nearly 22 years due to fraud. Adam Engst has the exclusive inside story on what went wrong. Notable software releases this week include Quicken 2016 for Mac 3.5.1, SEE Finance 1.0.10, Capto 1.0.3, OmniFocus 2.6.1, and DEVONthink 2.9.1.

TidBITS #1331 on 2016-08-01

Apple recorded $7.8 billion in profits and beat analyst expectations in Q3 2016, but the company is still battling falling sales and revenue, with only two bright spots: its burgeoning Services category, and the high-margin iPad Pro line. Speaking of the iPad Pro, Julio Ojeda-Zapata brings you a thorough comparison of both models, so you can decide which is right for you. Finally, Josh Centers dives into home automation with a detailed look at the Philips Hue smart light bulbs, explaining why they’re interesting and how to set them up correctly. Notable software releases this week include iTunes 12.4.3, Mellel 3.5.1, Lightroom CC 2015.6.1 and Lightroom 6.6.1, GraphicConverter 10.1, and TextWrangler 5.5.

TidBITS #1330 on 2016-07-25

You asked for it, and now you’ve got it: we just released “Take Control of Preview,” significantly expanding on our “Power of Preview” series! In it, Josh Centers and Adam Engst guide you through all the secret powers of the Mac’s built-in image and PDF viewer. Adam also warns that iCloud’s Find My Mac feature can be disabled by just resetting your Mac’s NVRAM, which may be a blessing or a curse. Glenn Fleishman discusses Firefox’s gradual deprecation of Adobe Flash, and Jeff Carlson returns to TidBITS to explain why the Lightroom for iOS 2.4 update is big news for photographers. Notable software releases this week include Alfred 3.0.3, Tinderbox 6.6.2, Evernote 6.8, DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9, BusyCal 3.0.4, PopChar X 7.6, Safari 9.1.2, and Security Update 2016-004 (Mavericks and Yosemite).

TidBITS #1329 on 2016-07-18

Apple has updated all of its operating systems with security updates and a few bug fixes, but no new features — we recommend holding off for a bit until early adopters have determined if there are likely to be any problems. Josh Centers took Walmart Pay for a spin and reports that it’s not as bad as you might think. While he was at Walmart, he also captured a Pidgey — if that’s confusing, never fear, since it was all part of his efforts to explain the Pokémon Go phenomenon that’s sweeping the world. Finally, Michael Cohen offers a first look at Scrivener for iOS — does the highly anticipated writing app live up to the hype? Notable software releases this week include iTunes 12.4.2, Microsoft Office 2016 15.24 and Office 2011 14.6.6, Airfoil 5.1.1, ClamXav 2.9, and LaunchBar 6.7.1.

TidBITS #1328 on 2016-07-11

Verizon Wireless is raising its data caps, but also its prices. Josh Centers evaluates the wireless carrier’s new plans, which come with some new features as well. It’s bittersweet news as Adam Engst bids farewell to Apple news site MacNN and legendary reseller Tekserve before wishing happy anniversaries to EveryMac.com and Mactracker. Julio Ojeda-Zapata takes another look at Sling TV, which now boasts an app for the fourth-generation Apple TV. Finally, in our latest installment of OS X Hidden Treasures, Josh and Adam explain how to type emoji, accented letters, and other exotic characters on your Mac. Notable software releases this week include BBEdit 11.6, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 8.0.2, Mellel 3.5, Audio Hijack 3.3.1, and Capto 1.0.2.

TidBITS #1327 on 2016-07-04

Happy Independence Day to our readers in the United States! Celebrate with the new NASA app for the fourth-generation Apple TV, which Julio Ojeda-Zapata covers in this issue. Rumors are swirling that Apple might buy rapper Jay Z’s Tidal music service — the prescient Josh Centers explains why Tidal could be beneficial to Apple’s future. BusyCal has been updated to version 3 on the Mac, and with it, developer BusyMac has introduced an iOS variant of the popular alternative to Apple’s Calendar — Adam Engst evaluates both the Mac and iOS versions. To round out the issue, Julio looks at the Eero Wi-Fi mesh networking system, and Glenn Fleishman joins us to discuss how Eye-Fi is discontinuing support for many of its older Wi-Fi camera cards and what that means for other cloud-dependent hardware products. Notable software releases this week are brought to you by the letters “F” and “K” and include Fantastical 2.2.4, f.lux 37.3, KeyCue 8.1, and Keyboard Maestro 7.2.

TidBITS #1326 on 2016-06-27

The multi-developer SummerFest sale is going on now, offering 25 percent savings on Take Control books and 14 great Mac apps. In sad news, Apple has suddenly discontinued the 27-inch Thunderbolt Display, while failing to announce a replacement. On a happier note, Josh Centers looks at CiderTV, which offers a Notification Center widget to control your Apple TV even when your iPhone’s screen is locked. Michael Cohen explains how Apple’s forthcoming APFS file system will affect you — it’s all good, but not due until late 2017. Finally, Adam and Josh delve into the topic of copy and paste on the Mac, exposing some features that may surprise even Mac veterans. The only notable software release this week is BusyCal 3.0.1.

TidBITS #1325 on 2016-06-20

What’s the best way to share a password with a relative or colleague? Standard email and text messages aren’t safe, so Adam Engst reviews the Web app One-Time Secret, which provides a more secure solution. Adam also addresses reader complaints about macOS Sierra, reminding us that it won’t be available until this fall and that we should maintain optimism for the future. Julio Ojeda-Zapata joins us this week to discuss the state of virtual reality on the iPhone, including the accessories and apps that put your iPhone at the center of a virtual reality experience. Notable software releases this week include Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.9, Microsoft Office 2016 15.23 and Office 2011 14.6.5, and LaunchBar 6.7.

TidBITS #1324 on 2016-06-13

Today was Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, with big announcements about the future of OS X, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, along with the Swift programming language. Adam Engst recaps the WWDC keynote and delves into the new features coming to OS X, now rebranded as macOS. Josh Centers shares what will be new in iOS 10, Julio Ojeda-Zapata covers the changes planned for tvOS 10, and Tonya Engst explores the possibilities in watchOS 3. Finally, Michael Cohen explains what’s cool about Swift Playgrounds, Apple’s first step into app development on iOS. Notable software releases this week include Default Folder X 5.0.5, Lightroom CC 2015.6 and Lightroom 6.6, iTunes 12.4.1, Audio Hijack 3.3, and DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.8.11.

TidBITS #1323 on 2016-06-06

We’re back from our Memorial Day hiatus with news of a re-released iOS 9.3.2 update for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Meanwhile, Twitter has announced some upcoming rule changes that will make conversations easier. To round out the issue, Josh Centers looks at two entertainment apps: TuneIn Radio for iOS and the Web, which lets you listen to radio stations around the world, and BitTorrent Live for the Apple TV, which brings an odd assortment of live content for free. Notable software releases over the past two weeks include Alfred 3.0.1, Slack for Mac 2.0.3, Evernote 6.7, Pixelmator 3.5, Cyberduck 5.0, Tinderbox 6.6 and Storyspace 3.1.2, CrashPlan 4.7, GraphicConverter 10, RapidWeaver 7.0.1, Mailplane 3.6.3, Capto 1.0.1, PopChar X 7.5, TextExpander 6.0.5, 1Password 6.3.1, AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.6.7 and 7.7.7, and Airfoil 5.1.

TidBITS #1322 on 2016-05-23

First things first: there will be no email issue of TidBITS next Monday, as we’ll be celebrating the Memorial Day holiday here in the United States. Look for our next issue on 6 June 2016. Apple has been increasing its focus on Asia, with Tim Cook’s tour of the continent, new investments in both India and China, and… a Chinese-themed GarageBand update? Google and Apple may compete in many ways, but as Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s rundown of Google I/O conference announcements shows, the search giant continues to support Apple users in a big way. Farther out in the year, MacTech has announced that the November MacTech Conference in Los Angeles will feature a Home Automation Showcase. Last, but far from least, we wrap up our Power of Preview series with a look at saving, exporting, and converting images and PDFs. Notable software releases this week include Skype 7.28, OmniOutliner 4.5.3, Parallels Desktop 11.2, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 8.0.1, Security Update 2016-003 (Mavericks and Yosemite), and Safari 9.1.1.

TidBITS #1321 on 2016-05-16

Apple has updated all of its operating systems — OS X, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS — and Josh Centers explains what’s new (not much). Also this week, Josh reviews Google’s new Gboard iOS keyboard, which integrates Google search and other neat features. Our resident “bad cartoonist” Michael Cohen examines using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil with the Procreate drawing app, and Julio Ojeda-Zapata compares the new iPhone SE to the larger iPhone 6s. Finally, Glenn Fleishman wraps up the serialized “Take Control of Slack Basics” this week, with a chapter for TidBITS members on being productive in Slack and another free chapter for everyone on starting your own Slack team! Notable software releases this week include iTunes 12.4, Microsoft Office 2016 15.22, Fantastical 2.2.2, Default Folder X 5.0.4, Art Text 3.0, Pages 5.6.2, Numbers 3.6.2, and Keynote 6.6.2 for Mac, and Gemini 2.

TidBITS #1320 on 2016-05-09

After Apple saw its first financial turmoil in over a decade, CEO Tim Cook sat down for a TV interview with CNBC’s boisterous Jim Cramer, seeking to reassure investors and customers. Netflix feels the pain of your mobile data cap and has begun throttling bandwidth usage on cellular connections. Glenn Fleishman explains why Netflix is trying to save you from network overage fees, and how to disable the throttle if you wish. Adam Engst returns from the road to review Google Flights, a slick travel-planning tool. “Take Control of Apple TV” author Josh Centers takes a hard look at the Apple TV App Store six months after launch, talking with developers to find out where the apps are. Finally, for TidBITS members, Chapter 10 of Glenn Fleishman’s “Take Control of Slack Basics” covers Slack integrations, including the built-in Slackbot virtual assistant. Notable software releases this week include iFlicks 2.4, Hazel 4.0.1, Quicken 2016 for Mac 3.3.1, and Capto 1.0.

TidBITS #1319 on 2016-05-02

We kick off TidBITS this week with some rocky news for Apple, as the company saw year-over-year revenues decline for the first time in 13 years (but still recorded over $10 billion in profits). Michael Cohen provides the details on what’s new in Smile’s PDFpen 8, which adds support for attachments, digital signatures, and more. Julio Ojeda-Zapata discovers that the MacBook’s 29-watt adapter is the perfect accessory for the power-hungry 12.9-inch iPad Pro, charging it almost twice as fast as the included charger. Glenn Fleishman discusses what Comcast’s new 1 TB data cap means for Comcast subscribers and the industry as a whole. Joe Kissell has an intriguing new book out, a collection of essays about technology titled “Are Your Bits Flipped?”, and he joins us to talk about why it’s important to understand how various aspects of computers work. Finally, we have the latest chapter of Glenn Fleishman’s serialized “Take Control of Slack Basics” for TidBITS members, in which he explains how to make the most out of Slack’s search feature. Notable software releases this week include Lightroom CC 2015.5.1 and Lightroom 6.5.1, OmniOutliner 4.5.2, HoudahGeo 5.0, and iMovie 10.1.2.

TidBITS #1318 on 2016-04-25

In this week’s issue of TidBITS, we share the dates of this year’s WWDC, which should feature exciting announcements about the future of OS X, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Apple has updated the 12-inch MacBook, but if you’re expecting major changes, prepare to be disappointed. Michael Cohen explains how to use your iPhone to make and receive calls on your Mac, and we once again delve into the power of Preview, this time exploring advanced and overlooked editing features. Finally, Chapter 8 of Glenn Fleishman’s “Take Control of Slack Basics” is available for TidBITS members, in which Glenn explains everything you need to know to tame Slack notifications. Notable software releases this week include VMware Fusion 8.1.1, OmniFocus 2.5.1, BBEdit 11.5.2, Typinator 6.9, and Mellel 3.4.5.

TidBITS #1317 on 2016-04-18

We’re celebrating our 26th anniversary in this issue of TidBITS, and Adam Engst marks the occasion by reflecting on how Apple has changed in the Tim Cook era. Smile has altered course on its plans for a subscription-based TextExpander, lowering pricing and promising to continue developing the standalone version. The Siri Remote included with the fourth-generation Apple TV is an impressive piece of tech, but it’s also fragile and hard to hold; “Take Control of Apple TV” author Josh Centers lists some products and tips that will make your Siri Remote more manageable. For guitarists, recording musician Geoff Duncan joins us this week to review IK Multimedia’s iRig Acoustic, which lets you connect your acoustic guitar to an iOS device — be sure to check out the audio version of his article! Finally, for TidBITS members, we have the latest chapter of Glenn Fleishman’s “Take Control of Slack Basics,” which focuses on direct message conversations. Notable software releases this week include Fantastical 2.2.1, Retrospect 13.01, LaunchBar 6.6.2, and Delicious Library 3.5.1.

TidBITS #1316 on 2016-04-11

This week in TidBITS, we have another installment in our Power of Preview series that teaches you how to use Preview to annotate PDFs and images. The single USB-C port of the MacBook can be limiting, but Acer has released a monitor that connects via USB-C, provides additional USB-A ports, and can even charge the MacBook — Julio Ojeda-Zapata offers his impressions. For those interested in a standing desk but perturbed by the prices, Julio also rounds up some affordable options for your home office. Finally, we have the latest chapter of Glenn Fleishman’s “Take Control of Slack Basics,” in which Glenn explains all you need to know about channels. Notable software releases this week include GarageBand 10.1.1, Pixelmator 3.4.4, and 1Password 6.2.1.

TidBITS #1315 on 2016-04-04

Apple has released iOS 9.3.1 to address a bug that could cause app crashes and hangs when tapping links. Google is giving away its professional-grade Nik Collection photo-editing apps away for free — Julio Ojeda-Zapata tells you where to get them. Adam Engst explains how to keep your Mac’s security data up to date, Michael Cohen documents the troubles he’s had with the new iCloud Drive-enabled iBooks apps, and Joe Kissell examines the differences between 1Password and iCloud Keychain in his latest FlippedBITS column. Notable software releases this week include Banktivity 5.6.7, Parallels Desktop 11.1.3, Fantastical 2.2, Evernote 6.6, OmniFocus 2.5, OmniOutliner 4.5.1, MoneyWell 2.3.10, iBooks Author 2.4.1, KeyCue 8.0, Default Folder X 5.0.3, and DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.8.10.

Next 25 issues