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

 

 

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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 #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.

TidBITS #1314 on 2016-03-28

In breaking news, the Department of Justice is withdrawing from the legal action against Apple — see our coverage in ExtraBITS! The iOS 9.3 update added some neat new features, but it has suffered from some problems. Apple has now reissued iOS 9.3 to address activation glitches on older devices, but a Web link bug remains. AT&T has expanded its Wi-Fi calling feature abroad, letting you make calls to or receive calls from the United States for free while outside the country. Speaking of AT&T, Adam Engst explains how to restrict the ways in which both AT&T and other cellular carriers can use your personal data. Apple has updated the fourth-generation Apple TV to tvOS 9.2, which adds numerous requested features like Home screen folders, Bluetooth keyboard support, voice dictation, and more — Josh Centers takes you through the details. We again dive into the power of Preview, demonstrating how you can use OS X’s built-in viewer to crop and resize documents and images. Finally, we have the fourth chapter of Glenn Fleishman’s “Take Control of Slack Basics” for TidBITS members, which covers message formatting, editing, deletion, and linking. Notable software releases this week include Quicken 2016 for Mac 3.2.1, Skype 7.24, LaunchBar 6.6, Tinderbox 6.5, Moneydance 2015.7, Security Update 2016-002 (Mavericks and Yosemite), Safari 9.1, and OS X Server 5.1.

TidBITS #1313 on 2016-03-21

Apple today announced a slew of products, including the new 4-inch iPhone SE, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and a number of new accessories. But perhaps even more importantly, Apple has updated all of its major operating systems with new features and important security fixes. As Adam Engst explains, it all adds up to Apple being more responsive to customer concerns. Our DealBITS drawing for BeLight Software’s Get Backup Pro 3 is over, but if you didn’t win, you can still save 50 percent on this backup utility! Finally, TidBITS members can now read the third chapter of Glenn Fleishman’s “Take Control of Slack Basics,” in which Glenn takes you on a tour of the messaging service’s interface. Notable software releases this week include iTunes 12.3.3 and Lightroom CC 2015.5 and Lightroom 6.5. Remember that today is the last day of the Take Control sale!

TidBITS #1312 on 2016-03-14

This issue kicks off our Take Control spring sale, where you can save 50 percent on all Take Control titles! You can also enter to win a free copy of BeLight Software’s Get Backup Pro (a $19.99 value) in this week’s DealBITS drawing. Michael Cohen has discovered that Google Docs can now generate ebooks in the EPUB format, but the feature isn’t fully baked yet. Julio Ojeda-Zapata wades into the ocean of USB-C accessories, pulling forth some warnings and recommendations. Adam Engst and Josh Centers once again explore the power of Preview, with tips for viewing images and PDFs in OS X’s ubiquitous viewer. Last but not least, we are serializing Glenn Fleishman’s upcoming “Take Control of Slack Basics” book! Slack is a popular group messaging and collaboration service, and we invite everyone to read the first two chapters and join our new public SlackBITS group. Notable software releases this week include BBEdit 11.5.1, Airfoil 5.0.2, and ChronoSync 4.6.6 and ChronoAgent 1.6.0.

TidBITS #1311 on 2016-03-07

If you’ve been suffering with an old version of Quicken for the Mac for years, new hope is on the horizon, as Intuit has sold Quicken to H.I.G. Capital and promises to expand the Mac team. OS X installers downloaded prior to 14 February 2016 are no longer working; Josh Centers explains why and how to fix the problem. Adam Engst takes a trip back to the country with a review of Noizio, which generates relaxing background sounds on Macs and iOS devices. Joe Kissell updates you on the many changes to Dropbox to mark the recent release of his “Take Control of Dropbox, Second Edition.” Finally, Josh discusses a pair of services that will negotiate your telecom bills, and offers his own tips for securing the best price. Notable software releases this week include Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.4, OmniOutliner 4.5, Default Folder X 5.0.2, 1Password 6.1, SpamSieve 2.9.24, and Retrospect 13.

TidBITS #1310 on 2016-02-29

Welcome to the first leap day edition of TidBITS in our 26-year history! Over the weekend, Apple released an automatic update to OS X 10.11 El Capitan that disabled the Ethernet ports of many Macs — we explain how to fix Apple’s snafu. Preview is one of the Mac’s hidden gems, and this week we’re pleased to bring you an explanation of all the ways to bring images and PDFs into the app — some of which may surprise you! Last week, we asked for your opinions about Mac personal finance apps, and we can now share the results from nearly 700 readers. Finally, we have a slew of updates on the ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI. Notable software releases this week include Banktivity 5.6.6 and Simon 4.2.

TidBITS #1309 on 2016-02-22

The big news this week is how Apple and the FBI are locked in an important battle over civil liberties; Adam Engst has two articles in this issue that attempt to explain the dustup over the FBI asking Apple to help unlock a terrorist’s iPhone. More prosaically, Apple has issued an update to resolve Error 53, which was disabling iPhones that had been repaired by outside parties. Apple Pay is now available in China, where it’s proving popular, and it may soon be usable at ATMs in the United States. Finally, we’re soliciting your suggestions for the best personal finance apps for the Mac — we’ll publish the results in next week’s issue! Notable software releases this week include Mailplane 3.6.2, Microsoft Office 2016 15.19.1, Evernote 6.5, and Airfoil 5.0.

TidBITS #1308 on 2016-02-15

Many Apple professionals depend on the Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS Accredited Support Professional program, but it appears to be in limbo, without any scheduled events and no word from Microsoft as to its future. Apple users have lately been plagued by a pair of problems: a security vulnerability associated with the popular Sparkle update framework in OS X and the mysterious Error 53 that has locked out iPhone users. Josh Centers and Adam Engst explain what to do about both, before turning their attention to another OS X hidden treasure: Quick Look, which turns out to be far deeper than even they had imagined. Notable software releases this week include PopChar X 7.4, Piezo 1.5, Hazel 3.3.7, and 1Password 6.0.2.

TidBITS #1307 on 2016-02-08

Some readers complained that last week’s HTML email issue was too wide to read easily in Apple Mail. Adam Engst tracked down the bug and suggests a workaround, should such a problem occur again. Separately, Adam explains how to remove words from OS X’s spelling checker if you added them accidentally; his advice also points to how to sync your custom user dictionary with other Macs. Continuing in the vein of practical Mac coverage, Josh Centers explores the world of services, a useful but often overlooked way of accessing an app’s features within another app, and even shows you how you can make your own services. He also explains what to do if your Mac Pro is covered by Apple’s quiet repair program for some 2015 units that suffer from video card-related crashes and more. Finally, Julio Ojeda-Zapata compares three independent keyboard options for the iPad Pro. Notable software releases this week include Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.7, Final Cut Pro X 10.2.3, Motion 5.2.3, Compressor 4.2.2, Banktivity 5.6.5 (formerly iBank), and DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.8.9.

TidBITS #1306 on 2016-02-01

The Super Bowl is coming next Sunday, and Josh Centers explains how to watch the game for free on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Apple has recalled some international wall plug adapters because of the risk of electric shock — we explain how to find out if yours is affected. The dates and locations for the traveling MacTech Pro 2016 series of professional seminars have been announced; see if it’s headed to your city! To wrap up the news, we bid farewell to computing pioneer (and TidBITS reader) Marvin Minsky, offer an update on our ad-removal challenge, and analyze Apple’s rocky (yet record-breaking) Q1 2016. Finally, Joe Kissell shares five great command-line tricks from “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal” and Josh suggests four alternatives to iCloud Photos on the Apple TV. Notable software releases this week include Tweetbot 2.3.3; Little Snitch 3.6.3; Printer Drivers for Gestetner, Lanier, NRG, Savin, and Xerox Printers; Lightroom CC 2015.4 and Lightroom 6.4; Mac App Store Update for OS X Snow Leopard; and BBEdit 11.5.

TidBITS #1305 on 2016-01-25

Apple last week released both OS X 10.11.3 El Capitan and iOS 9.2 with minimal (and mostly unspecified) bug fixes — we explain what’s known and why it may be worth waiting a week before updating. Apple also updated the fourth-generation Apple TV to tvOS 9.1.1, bringing back the Podcasts app, and our Apple TV expert, Josh Centers, offers a guided tour of the new app. Security Editor Rich Mogull joins us to explain why Apple — in the form of CEO Tim Cook — is constantly defending encryption despite government pressure. Finally, Julio Ojeda-Zapata reviews Apple’s CarPlay system for integrating iPhone capabilities into car touchscreens. Notable software releases this week include iMovie 10.1.1, Parallels Desktop 11.1.2, Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.3, ClamXav 2.8.9, and Security Update 2016-001 (Mavericks and Yosemite).

TidBITS #1304 on 2016-01-18

Last week, we asked you to vote for your favorite personal information manager, and the results are in — read on to see what apps TidBITS readers prefer! If you’re a fan of iTunes Radio, we’re sorry to say that it will soon require a paid Apple Music subscription. Speaking of Apple Music, Kirk McElhearn explains how to avoid a nasty auto-download bug that could cost you big money in cell data overage fees. The video app VLC has arrived on the Apple TV, and Josh Centers offers a quick tutorial on how to use it to cache movies instead of streaming them. 1Password 6 has been released, and Joe Kissell looks at its new features, which he covers in depth in the just-published “Take Control of 1Password, Second Edition.” Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office 2016 15.18 and Office 2011 14.6.0, Fantastical 2.1.5, Boom 2 v1.4, and Mailplane 3.6.

TidBITS #1303 on 2016-01-11

Circus Ponies has ceased development on its long-standing NoteBook app, and we need your assistance to help other TidBITS readers find a replacement among the many alternatives. Rate your favorite personal information managers on our Web site this week, and we’ll report on the results next week. Adam Engst has confirmed that Apple’s latest Mac and iOS versions of Mail fail to support named anchors in HTML email, and he reviews Chimani’s iOS apps, which help you plan national park visits and provide information while you’re vacationing. Glenn Fleishman joins us to explain how you can use the tvOS app Channels to bring live TV to your Apple TV with the help of a SiliconDust HDHomeRun tuner. Finally, we’ve compiled a list of 32 conferences in the upcoming year for those whose livelihoods revolve around Apple’s platforms — there’s bound to be one near you! Notable software releases this week include Default Folder X 5.0 and ScreenFlow 5.0.4.

TidBITS #1302 on 2016-01-04

In this first TidBITS issue of 2016, the Rdio streaming music service has closed up shop, but Josh Centers explains how to move your collection to Spotify and other services. Adam Engst shares details about the free Momentum browser extension, which displays spectacular photos in otherwise empty new browser tabs. For those pondering an iPad Pro, Julio Ojeda-Zapata has a full review, and if you’re looking to update your Wi-Fi network, Glenn Fleishman suggests a pair of alternatives to Apple’s aging AirPort base stations. Finally, we have an update on our membership challenge to remove banner ads from the TidBITS Web site. Notable software releases since our last issue include Quicken 2016 for Mac 3.0.3, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 7.3.4, DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.8.8, Pixelmator 3.4.2, Tweetbot 2.3, Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.6, ChronoSync 4.6.5, Dropbox 3.12.6, Evernote 6.3, and Typinator 6.8.

TidBITS #1301 on 2015-12-14

Welcome to the final mega-issue of TidBITS for 2015! We’ll be on hiatus until 4 January 2016, but we’ll continue publishing new articles on our Web site in the meantime. Apple is prepping for vacation too, updating all of its major platforms last week with OS X 10.11.2 El Capitan, iOS 9.2, tvOS 9.1, and watchOS 2.1. The Apple TV App Store is seeing explosive growth, but the statistics indicate that developers may not be giving users what they want. Continuing in our effort to focus on practical Mac stories, Adam Engst penned helpful articles on dealing with inexplicable Apple error messages and sending a MacBook in to Apple for repair. Glenn Fleishman contributes an overview of natural-language math utilities, including Soulver, Spotlight, Google, and Wolfram Alpha. Finally, in the WinterFest 2015 sale, you can save big money on 10 top-tier writing tools and all our Take Control books! Notable software releases this week include ClamXav 2.8.8, OmniFocus 2.4, OmniOutliner 4.4.1, Pixelmator 3.4.1, PopChar X 7.3.1, SpamSieve 2.9.23, Airfoil 4.9.2, Safari 9.0.2, and Security Update 2015-008 (Mavericks) and 2015-006 (Yosemite).

TidBITS #1300 on 2015-12-07

This is our 1300th issue, and we need your help to keep TidBITS coming! If enough people join the TidBITS membership program, we’ll eliminate banner ads and put more resources into redesigning our Web site. The results of our 2015 reader survey are in, and we hear you loud and clear: more practical articles about the Mac and iOS, and less coverage of games, the Apple Watch, and non-Apple platforms. Happy news for podcasters, as The Levelator has been updated to work with El Capitan. Long-time Mac users will also appreciate Adam Engst’s explanation of how to bring Save As back to the File menu. Owners of Ford vehicles from model year 2011 onward can download a free update to add Siri Eyes Free to their cars, and last but not least, Julio Ojeda-Zapata reviews Apple’s new Magic peripherals. Notable software releases this week include Little Snitch 3.6.1, Mellel 3.4.4, and Tinderbox 6.4.

TidBITS #1299 on 2015-11-23

We’re taking a hiatus for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States next week, so our next email issue of TidBITS will be published on 7 December 2015. In the meantime, could you please fill out our 2015 reader survey so we know what you want from TidBITS? In sad news, music-streaming service Rdio is shutting down, with its remains being purchased by Pandora. Dave Kitabjian joins us to look at the recently discontinued Logitech K760, a solar-powered Mac keyboard that can pair to three different devices. Finally, Josh Centers takes another hard look at the Apple TV, this time evaluating the Siri Remote as a game controller. Notable software releases this week include Transmit 4.4.10, Tweetbot 2.2.2, Fantastical 2.1.3, Microsoft Office 2011 14.5.8, and Lightroom CC 2015.3 and Lightroom 6.3.

TidBITS #1298 on 2015-11-16

Please join us in welcoming Lauri Reinhardt, who becomes our fourth employee this week, in charge of customer service. Comcast is subjecting more areas to its data caps — Josh Centers tells you what you can do about it. Is Apple slipping in design? A pair of Apple user experience veterans think so, as Adam Engst explains. NetNewsWire was once king of the Apple newsreader apps, and while it’s now back on all of Apple’s platforms, former fan Julio Ojeda-Zapata isn’t impressed. Finally, as the release date for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” approaches, Josh lists all the ways you can geek out on Star Wars with your Apple devices. Notable software releases this week include OmniOutliner 4.4, Type2Phone 3.0, Mactracker 7.5, DEVONagent Lite, Express, and Pro 3.9.3, Quicken 2015 for Mac 2.8, BBEdit 11.1.4, and Pages 5.6.1, Numbers 3.6.1, and Keynote 6.6.1 for Mac.

TidBITS #1297 on 2015-11-09

Publisher Adam Engst is back from the annual MacTech Conference, and he has highlights to share from his week in Los Angeles. You’ve likely never read the iTunes Terms and Conditions, but Michael Cohen offers a reason why you might want to: a graphic novel that co-opts the legalese into an adventure story starring Steve Jobs. Rich Mogull joins us this week to discuss the million-dollar iOS exploit and the shady world of cyber arms dealers. Live Photos are one of the coolest things about the iPhone 6s, but they’re hard to share in their full glory. Julio Ojeda-Zapata explains how to convert Live Photos into more common formats. Finally, “Take Control of Apple TV” author Josh Centers examines some of the most interesting Apple TV apps to see where the new tvOS platform is heading. Notable software releases this week include ClamXav 2.8.7, OmniFocus 2.3.1, Postbox 4.0.8, Voila 3.9.2, Evernote 6.2, and TextExpander 5.1.3.

TidBITS #1296 on 2015-11-02

Apple yet again narrowly avoided pundit-predicted doom in its final fiscal quarter of 2015, wrapping up another record-breaking year for the company. The fourth-generation Apple TV is now available, and “Take Control of Apple TV” author Josh Centers has answers to all your questions! Apple has flooded the market with new products this year, but Take Control has been keeping up, and we have a roundup of our latest titles that provide the technical assistance you need. Back in the entertainment world, one of the main problems with digital movie downloads is how they’re locked into a single service. However, Disney has found a way to break its movies out of the usual walled gardens, as Josh explains. Finally, Glenn Fleishman joins us to discuss Wi-Fi Calling in iOS 9 and how to take advantage of it. Notable software releases this week include Parallels Desktop 11.0.2, ScreenFlow 5.0.3, OmniFocus 2.3, and OS X Server 5.0.15.

TidBITS #1295 on 2015-10-26

Apple unleashed an update avalanche last week, with OS X 10.11.1, iOS 9.1, and watchOS 2.0.1 — we have the details on each. Also, the fourth-generation Apple TV is now available for sale and will start shipping later this week. Elsewhere in this issue, Julio Ojeda-Zapata evaluates the Android Wear smartwatch platform for iOS users, Josh Centers explains Siri content reminders in iOS 9, and Adam Engst assigns blame for the Internet’s content woes. Notable software releases this week include Tinderbox 6.3.2, Postbox 4.0.7, SpamSieve 2.9.22, Safari 9.0.1, Mac EFI Security Update 2015-002, and Security Update 2015-007 (Mavericks) and 2015-004 (Yosemite).

TidBITS #1294 on 2015-10-19

Hardware takes center stage in this week’s issue of TidBITS, as Adam Engst examines the new iMacs, including a 21-inch 4K Retina model, and Apple’s new lineup of Magic accessories: mouse, keyboard, and trackpad. Continuing our look at Apple’s competition, Julio Ojeda-Zapata surveys the new hardware from Microsoft, including the Surface Pro 4 and the intriguing new Surface Book. On the software side, Apple Music seems to confuse everyone, and Josh Centers describes some unusual steps Apple is taking to help befuddled Apple Music users. Finally, Michael Cohen reviews the iBooks-exclusive “enhanced editions” of the Harry Potter series — are the enhancements worth buying new copies? Notable software releases this week include Tweetbot 2.1.1, Quicken 2015 for Mac 2.6.2, Audio Hijack 3.2.1 and Airfoil 4.9.1, DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.8.7, Sandvox 2.10.3, Fantastical 2.1.1, iMovie 10.1, Dropbox 3.10.8, Pixelmator 3.4, 1Password 5.4, and Pages 5.6, Numbers 3.6, and Keynote 6.6 for Mac.

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