Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the TidBITS Content Network for Apple consultants.

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 #1404 on 2018-02-12

Apple’s much-awaited HomePod has finally hit the market, and Adam Engst offers his first impressions of Apple’s entry into the smart speaker race. The Winter Olympics are here again, and Josh Centers has your guide on how to follow them on all your Apple devices. We have sad news this week, as Internet pioneer and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow has died. Finally, we note that online backup company Carbonite has quietly raised its fees, and Andy Affleck joins us to review Rogue Amoeba’s new soundboard app, Farrago. Notable software releases this week include Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0.8, MarsEdit 4.0.7, VLC Media Player 3.0, BBEdit 12.1, ChronoSync 4.8.4, and DEVONagent 3.10.

TidBITS #1403 on 2018-02-05

Despite flatter unit sales numbers, Apple once again broke records with its Q1 2018 revenues and profits. The company has also launched a repair program for iPhone 7 models that report “No Service” even when cellular service is available. Adam Engst explains how to fix the problem of some PDFs rendering as black rectangles in Preview, and Josh Centers shares new ways to control your Apple TV from iOS and iTunes. In his inaugural Bad Apple column, Adam also takes Apple to task for broken behaviors in iCloud Photo Library. Finally, Tonya Engst will be offering a webinar for owners of her “Take Control of Mac Basics” book later this week. Notable software releases this week include Banktivity 6.3, SpamSieve 2.9.30, and Keyboard Maestro 8.0.5.

TidBITS #1402 on 2018-01-29

We have a giant-sized issue of TidBITS for you this week, as we wrap up Jeff Porten’s coverage of CES 2018. But there’s lots more to read as well, since Apple has been showering us with news: an official launch date for the HomePod smart speaker, an announcement deprecating many macOS Server features, updates for all four of the company’s operating systems, and a preview of the upcoming iOS 11.3. Notable software releases this week include BusyCal 3.2.8, Bookends 13.0.5, Logic Pro X 10.4, macOS Server 5.5, iTunes 12.7.3, Safari 11.0.3, and Security Update 2018-001 (Sierra and El Capitan).

TidBITS #1401 on 2018-01-22

If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9, DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5, Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and Typinator 7.4.

TidBITS #1400 on 2018-01-15

This week’s issue of TidBITS focuses on the CES show in Las Vegas. Our roving correspondent Jeff Porten was once again on the floor to bring you his annual assortment of unusual gadgets, gizmos, and services. Outside of CES, Glenn Fleishman shares the details of WPA3, a new security standard for Wi-Fi that promises to make Wi-Fi connections both more secure and easier. Finally, Josh Centers explains what to do when your iOS device gets disabled from too many incorrect passcode entries. Notable software releases this week include Quicken 4.6.8, EagleFiler 1.8.2, and LaunchBar 6.9.4.

TidBITS #1399 on 2018-01-08

Happy New Year! Unfortunately, we’re kicking off our first issue of 2018 with bad news: the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities affect nearly every modern computer CPU, including those in Macs and iOS devices. Apple has released updates to mitigate these flaws, but no one knows if they can be eliminated entirely. Apple has also apologized for an iOS tweak intended to reduce unexpected iPhone shutdowns that was also found to slow down older iPhones, and the company is responding with $29 battery replacements for select devices throughout 2018. Adam Engst explains how he fixed a mysteriously washed-out Mac display, and he reviews the inexpensive Polaroid Flexi LED Light Panel, which can improve your indoor photography or video work. Finally, our roving correspondent Jeff Porten looks at tech trends from CES 2018 — tune in next week to read his coverage from the show floor! Notable software releases this week include Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.8, VMware Fusion 10.1, Default Folder X 5.2, Ulysses 12.2, ScreenFlow 7.2, VLC Media Player 2.2.8, SEE Finance 2.0.2, MoneyWiz 2.7.1, 1Password 6.8.5, and Bookends 13.0.2.

TidBITS #1398 on 2017-12-18

The end of 2017 approaches, and TidBITS is going into a two-week winter hibernation so that we can rest, spend time with kith and kin, and work on our new Internet infrastructure! For this week, though, you can save money on Take Control titles and artisanal Mac software in the upcoming annual WinterFest sale, and you can save 50 percent on BeLight Software’s Swift Publisher 5 after last week’s DealBITS drawing. In other news, iOS 11.2.1 and tvOS 11.2.1 fix a nasty HomeKit vulnerability, and Apple has released the powerful iMac Pro. We close out the issue with Josh Centers’s review of the iPhone Upgrade Program and Jeff Carlson’s in-depth look at Adobe’s new Lightroom CC. Notable software releases this week include Final Cut Pro X 10.4, Compressor 4.4, and Motion 5.4, Logic Pro X 10.3.3, Mellel 4.0.3, Moneydance 2017.6, and AirPort Base Station Firmware Updates 7.6.9 and 7.7.9. See you in 2018!

TidBITS #1397 on 2017-12-11

Apple once again dominated the news last week with the releases of macOS 10.13.2 High Sierra, watchOS 4.2, and tvOS 11.2. But the big stories that competed for the top spot were the arrival of Amazon Prime Video for the Apple TV and the debut of Apple Pay Cash, which lets you use Apple Pay and iMessage to transfer money between family and friends. Finally, don’t miss your chance to win a copy of Swift Publisher 5 from BeLight Software! Notable software releases this week include MarsEdit 4.0.1, Firefox 57.01, and Slack for Mac 3.0.

TidBITS #1396 on 2017-12-04

They say no news is good news, and we’re sorry to say that this week’s issue of TidBITS is chock full of the bad kind. Apple had to push out two emergency updates to macOS to close a massive security vulnerability, and the company released iOS 11.2 ahead of schedule to eliminate an infinite reboot bug. While Apple had an awful week, the entire Internet may have had a worse one, as Ajit Pai’s FCC is set to eliminate Obama-era net neutrality protections. On top of everything else, Rich Mogull explains how iOS 11 makes your encrypted backups via iTunes less secure, albeit with the silver lining of making it harder to lock yourself out of them. There is one bit of unalloyed good news this week: Amazon says its Prime Video app for the Apple TV will ship this month. Notable software releases this week include Keyboard Maestro 8.0.4, BBEdit 12.0.2, BusyCal 3.2.5 and BusyContacts 1.2.6, LaunchBar 6.9.3, and Default Folder X 5.1.9.

TidBITS #1395 on 2017-11-20

Since we won’t have an email issue of TidBITS next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we have an extra-large one for you this week! Apple released iOS 11.1.2 to address cold-weather and video-distortion issues on the iPhone X, and the company is also making it too easy for unprepared Mac users to upgrade to macOS 10.13 High Sierra. We’re working on an update of our own: a complete infrastructure overhaul for TidBITS that will provide a more attractive, mobile-friendly site among much else. Finally, we wrap up with two feature articles: Glenn Fleishman explains how to take advantage of QR codes, and Julio Ojeda-Zapata details the iPad productivity improvements in iOS 11. Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office 2016 15.40, OmniOutliner Essentials and Pro 5.2, and KeyCue 8.6.

TidBITS #1394 on 2017-11-13

Oops! Apple released a small iOS 11.1.1 update last week to fix an embarrassing bug that could mess up when you typed the letter “i.” Security expert Rich Mogull has been blown away by Face ID on the iPhone X, and he joins us to explain its innovative concept of “continuous authentication” and ponder its possibilities. Also joining us this week is Take Control publisher Joe Kissell, who reviews Panorama X, the long-awaited update to the legendary Mac database. Are you scratching your head for holiday gift ideas? Jeff Porten visited the PEPCOM Holiday Expo to find the freshest gadgets for this holiday season. Notable software releases this week include Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0.4, Bookends 13.0, Retrospect 14.6, SuperDuper 3.0, Tinderbox 7.3, and ChronoSync 4.8.3.

TidBITS #1393 on 2017-11-06

Last week was busy, with Apple pushing out updates to all its operating systems and posting strong Q4 results that once again proved naysayers wrong. Helping those results in a small way was the release of the iPhone X, and we’ve compiled opinions from the best early reviews to help you decide if it will be your next iPhone. Finally, Adam reports from the Jamf Nation User Conference, offering a glimpse of how Apple devices are increasingly making their way into big business. Notable software releases this week include TextExpander 6.2.3, Evernote 6.13, Safari 11.0.1, Security Update 2017-001 (Sierra) and Security Update 2017-004 (El Capitan), and Transmit 5.0.5.

TidBITS #1392 on 2017-10-30

Ever had Dropbox get stuck on a single file? We have an easy solution to Dropbox sync woes. Jeffery Battersby rejoins us this week to review Pastebot for the Mac, which offers user-friendly clipboard management. Mike Matthews is also back with a guide to iOS apps that will make your treadmill time more interesting. Finally, Josh Centers shares a first-hand account of the iBooks Author Conference. Notable software releases this week include Parallels Desktop 13.1.1, BusyCal 3.2.3 and BusyContacts 1.2.4, ChronoAgent 1.8, Quicken 4.6.7, Mactracker 7.7, and Default Folder X 5.1.8.

TidBITS #1391 on 2017-10-23

The recently revealed KRACK vulnerability that affects most Wi-Fi connections has caused a good deal of concern in the Apple world, but as Glenn Fleishman explains, it’s not all that it’s KRACKed up to be. Jeff Carlson joins us this week to look at iOS 11’s new long exposure feature, which makes it easy for any photographer to take what were once labor-intensive shots. Adam Engst reviews Cardhop, a new Mac contact manager from the creators of Fantastical, and Julio Ojeda-Zapata examines the hardware announcements from Google’s latest event in the context of how they compete with Apple products. Notable software releases this week include GraphicConverter 10.5.1, SEE Finance 1.1.11, Merlin Project 4.3, Fantastical 2.4.3, Delicious Library 3.7, EagleFiler 1.8.1, BBEdit 12.0.1, and DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.16.

TidBITS #1390 on 2017-10-16

Apple is on a roll with its third iOS 11 update in three weeks — iOS 11.0.3 fixes audio and haptic issues with the iPhone 7. Adam Engst offers a preview of the upcoming MacTech Conference, where he and Tonya Engst will be teaching a workshop on content strategies for IT pros. Bare Bones Software has released BBEdit 12, with a modernized code base and exciting new features like columnar data manipulation. Finally, Josh Centers reports on the just-released Movies Anywhere service, which syncs movie purchases from top studios to popular digital platforms, and he examines five new features of the Notes app in iOS 11. Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office 2016 15.39, Live Home 3D 3.3, Coda 2.6.8, SoundSource 3.0.2, 1Password 6.8.3, Parallels Desktop 13.1, PopChar X 8.2, and ChronoSync 4.8.2.

TidBITS #1389 on 2017-10-09

Apple has released minor updates to three of its operating systems, including macOS High Sierra 10.13 Supplemental Update, iOS 11.0.2, and watchOS 4.0.1. They fix a small number of very specific bugs, so read on to see if they’ll improve your Apple experience. Also this week, Adam Engst looks at what’s new in Keyboard Maestro 8 and gets the developer take on PDFKit in High Sierra, Glenn Fleishman explores iOS 11’s new networking states, and Michael Cohen takes you on a tour of the new document management interface in the iWork apps in iOS 11. Notable software releases this week include Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0.3, Pixelmator 3.7, OmniFocus 2.11.1, iFlicks 2.6.1, Default Folder X 5.1.7, Alfred 3.5, Fantastical 2.4.2, and Bookends 12.8.4.

TidBITS #1388 on 2017-10-02

The leaves are turning in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means a new crop of tech devices! Josh Centers has compiled the best reviews of the iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K, and he also looks at Amazon’s new Alexa-powered offerings and updated Fire TV. In other news, Mac audio app maker Rogue Amoeba is celebrating 15 years in business, and Apple has released iOS 11.0.1 to bash a bug that bedeviled users who relied on Microsoft-hosted email accounts. Finally, an iCloud exploit could let an attacker lock your Mac and try to extort a ransom from you — here’s how to prevent it and how to recover if you’re affected. This week brought a vast number of notable software releases, including Interarchy 10.0.7, iFinance 4.3.1, FileMaker Pro 16.0.2, VMware Fusion 10.0.1, BusyCal 3.2.2 and BusyContacts 1.2.2, Piezo 1.5.5, Hazel 4.2, iStat Menus 6.0, Mellel 4.0.1, iBooks Author 2.6, Banktivity 6.2, ScreenFlow 7.1, OmniFocus 2.11, Yojimbo 4.1.1, Airfoil 5.6.4, ChronoSync 4.8.1, macOS Server 5.4, iMovie 10.1.7, and OmniOutliner Essentials and Pro 5.1.2.

TidBITS #1387 on 2017-09-25

This issue of TidBITS is all about Apple’s annual operating system updates. Adam Engst leads off by telling you why you should probably wait a bit before upgrading to macOS 10.13 High Sierra, and he puts watchOS 4 through its paces. Josh Centers, author of both “Take Control of iOS 11” and “Take Control of Apple TV” contributes a pair of articles, one that focuses on 11 things you need to know about iOS 11 and another that reviews tvOS 11. We have more content about iOS 11 on our Web site, but the final article we’re including in this issue is an important warning from Mark Anbinder about a Mail bug in iOS 11 that affects users of Microsoft-provided email services. Notable software releases this week include (deep breath!) Moneydance 2017.5, Microsoft Office 2016 15.38, Quicken 4.6.4, Apple Configurator 2.5, GraphicConverter 10.5, Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0.2, Typinator 7.3, 1Password 6.8.2, Default Folder X 5.1.6, Airfoil 5.6.3, and Pages 6.3, Numbers 4.3, and Keynote 7.3 for Mac.

TidBITS #1386 on 2017-09-18

Last week’s Apple event in the new Steve Jobs Theater marked notable changes to the Apple ecosystem: cellular Apple Watches, 4K Apple TVs, new iPhone 8 models with wireless charging, and the upcoming iPhone X, which rethinks some of the iPhone’s fundamentals. We have full coverage of all the new gear. Last week also brought Mac users iTunes 12.7, the first release to remove major features, so we brought in iTunes expert Kirk McElhearn to explain what’s missing and how you can fill the void. Finally, Security Editor Rich Mogull chimes in on the Equifax breach and explains why there’s not much you can do about it. Notable software releases this week include iFlicks 2.4.8, BBEdit 11.6.8, Fission 2.4.1, ChronoSync 4.8, and SuperDuper 2.9.2.

TidBITS #1385 on 2017-09-11

On the eve of Apple’s September 2017 special event, Adam Engst discusses significant changes in macOS 10.13 High Sierra that consultants, IT admins, and those who care about the behind-the-scenes details need to know. Jefferey Battersby joins us this week to review the Yoink drag-and-drop utility for the Mac, and Josh Centers returns to the Touch Bar to reveal some interesting uses for it. And we’re pleased, in the wake of CrashPlan’s withdrawal from consumer backup, to welcome Backblaze as our latest long-term sponsor. Finally, Julio Ojeda-Zapata takes a look at HomeKit devices that you can use to secure your home. The only notable software release this week was Retrospect 14.5.

TidBITS #1384 on 2017-09-04

It’s official: Apple will be holding a special event on 12 September 2017. Expect the announcement of the next iPhone and perhaps a few surprises. We also anticipate announcements about the availability of macOS 10.13 High Sierra and iOS 11 — Take Control Books has three titles that will help you prepare for the next year of Apple operating systems. Dropbox is eliminating support for older operating systems, including Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard through 10.8 Mountain Lion. As the water in Houston recedes, we take a look at the tech community’s response to the flooding. Finally, Adam Engst explains the surprising restriction that caused him to leave Spotify for Apple Music. Notable software releases this week include Evernote 6.12, Tinderbox 7.2, BusyCal 3.2 and BusyContacts 1.2.1, TextExpander 6.2.2, and Boom 3D 1.1.

TidBITS #1383 on 2017-08-28

Microsoft is ending support for Office for Mac 2011 and, to make matters worse, those 32-bit apps may not work on macOS much longer — Josh Centers outlines your options. Glenn Fleishman dives into the arcana of USB-C cables to explain how the wrong combination of a USB 3.1 drive and a Thunderbolt 3 cable can result in pokey USB 2.0 speeds. Finally, Joe Kissell breaks some bad news: CrashPlan is pulling out of the consumer backup business. Although we’re depressed about this development, Joe has identified some alternatives that might work for you. Notable software releases this week include Parallels Desktop 13.0, Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0, Mellel 4.0, DEVONagent 3.9.8, DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.15, SpamSieve 2.9.29, 1Password 6.8.1, and Mailplane 3.7.

TidBITS #1382 on 2017-08-21

One of the best new features of iOS 11 will be the potentially life-saving Do Not Disturb While Driving — Josh Centers explains how it works. Also this week, Security Editor Rich Mogull helps us think about how facial recognition might replace Touch ID on the iPhone, and Marc Zeedar reviews the CZUR M3000 book scanner, which is designed to help you create digital versions of your print books. Notable software releases this week include CleanMyMac 3.8.6, Alfred 3.4.1, Mactracker 7.6.6, Bookends 12.8.3, and Microsoft Office 2016 15.37.

TidBITS #1381 on 2017-08-14

If you’re 55 or older, T-Mobile wants your business — the mobile carrier is offering steep monthly service discounts for older Americans. Adam and Tonya Engst are holding a TidBITS meetup in Ithaca for parents of Cornell students this weekend — read on to find out how you can participate! The popular Ulysses writing app has switched to a subscription model, which is causing consternation for those who prefer to own their software. Finally, Julio Ojeda-Zapata has a detailed review of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which tries to hit the sweet spot between the previous 9.7-inch and current 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. The only notable software release this week is Banktivity 6.1.2.

TidBITS #1380 on 2017-08-07

Apple posted billions of dollars in profit once again in Q3 2017, and the iPad saw its first year-over-year sales growth in some time. Adam Engst shares a quick tip about the SSD sizes of different iMac Fusion Drives (avoid the 1 TB version!), and Josh Centers offers a critique of the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. Finally, Glenn Fleishman delivers a comprehensive overview of fax apps for iOS. Notable software releases this week include ScreenFlow 7.0, OmniOutliner Essentials and Pro 5.1.1, Fission 2.3.2, and Airfoil 5.6.2.

Next 25 issues