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

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 #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.

TidBITS #1293 on 2015-10-12

In this issue of TidBITS, we welcome Julio Ojeda-Zapata as our newest contributing editor, and he commemorates the occasion with a summary of Google’s latest hardware announcements, which are eerily similar to Apple’s. Moving on to a pair of musically themed articles, Josh Centers reviews the Beats Solo2 headphones and Adam Engst explains why he’s quitting Apple Music to return to Rdio. Notable software releases this week include Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.2, Lightroom CC 2015.2.1 and Lightroom 6.2.1, ChronoSync 4.6.4, Microsoft Office 2011 14.5.6, Tweetbot 2.1, Typinator 6.7, and iBooks Author 2.4.

TidBITS #1292 on 2015-10-05

Last week brought two more Apple updates: the major release of OS X 10.11 El Capitan and a small update to iOS 9.0.2 — we answer all your questions about both. Podcasters were aghast when they discovered that the abandoned audio tool The Levelator didn’t work in El Capitan, but Adam Engst has discovered an easy fix. The new News app in iOS 9 marks a notable change in Apple’s approach to publishers; Josh Centers looks at what’s different and explains how you can start using News for your daily info fix. Finally, don’t miss the Mail Capitan sale from indie Mac developers, which offers deep discounts on Apple Mail plug-ins, as well as Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Apple Mail.” Notable software releases this week include Coda 2.5.12, Microsoft OneNote 15.14.2, Skype 7.13, Mellel 3.4.3, CleanMyMac 3.1, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 7.3.1, BBEdit 11.1.3, TextWrangler 5.0, Safari 9.0, and SuperDuper 2.8.

TidBITS #1291 on 2015-09-28

In this week’s issue of TidBITS, Adam Engst explains what’s really behind the record-breaking iPhone 6s sales, Josh Centers shares what’s new in iOS 9.0.1 (with help from some readers), and Jeff Carlson points out some easily missed details from watchOS 2. If you’re one of the 13 million people who bought a new iPhone, you may be wondering how to migrate your Apple Watch without losing data — Michael Cohen has the solution. XcodeGhost’s days of haunting iOS apps are waning, now that Apple has now warned developers about downloading Xcode from unofficial sources. Josh also offers detailed notes about the new Notes app in iOS 9, and tells you why it now may be the only note-taking app you need. Finally, we’ve announced the winners in our Swift Publisher 4 DealBITS drawing, but everyone wins because we have an exclusive 50 percent discount for all TidBITS readers. Notable software releases this week include ClamXav 2.8.5, GraphicConverter 9.7.2, Postbox 4.0.5, LaunchBar 6.5, Fantastical 2.1, and Airfoil 4.9, Nicecast 1.11.6, and Piezo 1.2.9.

TidBITS #1290 on 2015-09-21

In this news-packed edition of TidBITS, our FAQ answers many of your iOS 9 questions, and for even more in-depth coverage, we have “iOS 9: A Take Control Crash Course,” by our own Josh Centers. Apple also just released watchOS 2, and we have the high points of this first major update for the Apple Watch. In other news, Apple is reportedly dropping its One to One training program, Amazon has updated its Fire tablet and Fire TV line of hardware, Michael Cohen explains how search works in iOS 9, and Adam Engst and Rich Mogull dig into why the XcodeGhost App Store exploit is interesting. Finally, we explain how to fix garbled text on Apple’s support pages and throw back the curtains on a DealBITS drawing you can enter to win a copy of Swift Publisher 4 from BeLight Software. Notable software releases this week include BusyCal 2.6.7 and BusyContacts 1.0.6, Fission 2.2.5, Boom 2 v1.3, and iTunes 12.3.

TidBITS #1289 on 2015-09-14

This week, TidBITS has all the details on Apple’s big announcements: better iCloud storage pricing, new Apple Watch models, the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the iPad Pro with optional Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories, and the upcoming fourth-generation Apple TV. But if you’re planning on buying one of the new iPhones, you may find that the experience is completely different this time around — Josh Centers and Adam Engst dig into the details so that you can figure out the best purchase method and data plan for you and your family. Finally, Josh admonishes Apple for what he calls the Mac’s Achilles heel: its fragile and flaky headphone port. Notable software releases this week include Final Cut Pro X 10.2.2, Compressor 4.2.1, Motion 5.2.2, and ChronoSync 4.6.3.

TidBITS #1288 on 2015-09-07

Here at TidBITS, we’re getting ready for this week’s kickoff to the Apple upgrade season, and now you can too, with Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan” and Scholle McFarland’s “El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course.” Grumpy about the annual upgrade cycle? Adam Engst feels your pain, but explains why you really should keep pace with upgrades. If you’re overwhelmed by unwanted digital chatter, Josh Centers spells out how to clean up your Twitter timeline using the Tweetbot client. Turning to the digital detritus that collects on all our computers, Joe Kissell shows you how use CleanMyMac 3 to freshen up your Mac. Glenn Fleishman takes a look at the early reviews for Google’s OnHub router, and they’re not pretty. Looking for an alternative to a pricey Apple Watch? Julio Ojeda-Zapata joins us to review the affordable Pebble Time smartwatch. Notable software releases this week include TextExpander 5.1.1, Alfred 2.7.2, and Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.4.

TidBITS #1287 on 2015-08-31

In this extra-helpful issue of TidBITS, we tackle three common problems. First, if you’re troubled by auto-play videos on social networks showing you offensive acts, Josh Centers has the advice you need to disable them. Second, if you anticipate migrating to a new Mac from a Time Machine backup, Michael Cohen offers solutions to many of the potential pitfalls that you might encounter, based on his own recent migration to a new iMac. Third, if your Wi-Fi network is dropping out or suffering from slow throughput, Glenn Fleishman explains how you can use a pair of Mac utilities to optimize its range and performance. Finally, Josh goes retro with a review of Pac-Man 256 in FunBITS. Notable software releases this week include VMware Fusion 8.0 and Fusion 8.0 Pro and PopChar X 7.2.

TidBITS #1286 on 2015-08-24

In this feature-packed issue, Adam Engst explains why Apple is replacing some iPhone 6 Plus iSight cameras — is yours due for a replacement? Wi-Fi authority Glenn Fleishman has the details on Google’s new premium OnHub router, while Julio Ojeda-Zapata identifies six Windows 10 features that Apple should steal. Finally, reader Dave Kitabjian joins us to talk about iPhoto features that are missing from Photos. Notable software releases this week include Simon 4.1, Evernote 6.1, and Parallels Desktop 11.

TidBITS #1285 on 2015-08-17

Today kicks off Take Control’s 2015 Back to School Sale: save 50 percent on all Take Control titles through 24 August 2015! Meanwhile, Adam Engst has the details on the OS X 10.10.5 and iOS 8.4.1 updates, which address numerous security vulnerabilities. Josh Centers reveals a secret method to see your iPhone’s precise signal strength, and in a lengthy editorial, he sums up the problems with Twitter and offers some potential solutions. Notable software releases this week include Safari 8.0.8, 7.1.8, and 6.2.8; PDFpen and PDFpenPro 7.3; BBEdit 11.1.2; Security Update 2015-006; and iTunes 12.2.2.

TidBITS #1284 on 2015-08-10

Thunderstrike 2 has been described as a scary new worm that could infect your Mac’s firmware, but Rich Mogull explains why you needn’t worry. Julio Ojeda-Zapata joins us to look at eight Apple Watch stands that are worth your attention, while Adam Engst reviews Dark Sky 5, a hyperlocal weather app that can warn you when rain is imminent in your exact location. Finally, in FunBITS, Josh Centers writes about Google’s DeepDream, software that’s designed to visualize how neural networks think and that can be used to create bizarre art out of any photo. Notable software releases this week include OmniOutliner 4.3 and Postbox 4.0.3.

TidBITS #1283 on 2015-08-03

This week in TidBITS, Adam Engst details what’s new in Keyboard Maestro 7, a major upgrade to the longstanding macro utility. Tonya Engst tells you about Kirk McElhearn’s new “Take Control of Audio Hijack,” which explains everything you need to know about recording with Rogue Ameoba’s recently updated audio app. Many people have had issues with the latest iTunes update, and some have cited the 80-20 rule for redesigning it. But what does that mean? Michael Cohen looks at the origins of the 80-20 rule to explain why it won’t really help in fixing iTunes’ woes. Finally, Adam offers tips on avoiding cellular data overages when taking short trips from the U.S. to Canada. Notable software releases this week include Audio Hijack 3.2, Tinderbox 6.3.1, OmniFocus 2.2.3, DEVONagent Lite, Express, and Pro 3.9.2, and Piezo 1.2.8.

Next 25 issues