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):

Previous 25 issues | Next 25 issues

TidBITS #1142 on 2012-09-17

Apple last week showed off the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, with both slated to appear in the real world this week. In specific, iOS 6 will ship on 19 September 2012, with the iPhone 5 coming on 21 September 2012. We have all the details, along with how to work around Apple’s PO box-related ordering problems, a look at the new iPods that are due in October, Adam Engst’s fix for a wonky Mac App Store update error, and Glenn Fleishman’s explanation of how world travelers can pick the right iPhone 5 model. Jeff Porten wraps up the issue with a report from a security conference where cyber attacks are labeled “the biggest threat we face.” How should we react to such news? Notable software releases this week include DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.4.2, PopChar X 6.0.1, and iTunes 10.7.

TidBITS #1141 on 2012-09-10

This week’s issue is brought to you by the letter A, with articles talking about Amazon, Android, Apple, AT&T, and But in an episode of “Which One of These Is Not Like the Others,” Michael Cohen leads off with a look at TextExpander 4’s new fill-in snippets. Agen Schmitz follows with all the details about Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Paperwhite, and enhanced Kindle lineup. That encourages Glenn Fleishman to ponder whether a statement made by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during the intro was targeted at Apple or Android. Not content to rest there, Glenn also does the math on AT&T’s new Mobile Share plans and looks in depth at, a new social network that has more interesting goals than other such systems. Notable software releases over the past two weeks include ChronoSync 4.3.5 and ChronoAgent 1.3.6, VMware Fusion and Fusion Professional 5.0.1, SpamSieve 2.9.4, Dragon Dictate 3.0, iMovie ’11 9.0.8, Java for OS X 2012-005 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10, Adobe Illustrator CS6 16.0.1, Adobe Photoshop CS6 13.0.1, Toast Titanium 11.1, Parallels Desktop 8.0, Hazel 3.0.12, Fantastical 1.3.3, and Firefox 15.0.

TidBITS #1140 on 2012-08-27

Last week was taken up in part creating video for you to watch, including an informal staff meeting in which Glenn explained and a full TidBITS Presents panel discussion on “Protecting Your Digital Life” with Rich Mogull and Joe Kissell. In other news, Apple shipped OS X 10.8.1 Mountain Lion with a small number of bug fixes, the MacTech Conference 2012 is scheduled for October 17–19, and an update to the Boingo Wi-Finder app can track your wireless data usage to help prevent unnecessary charges. Our feature article this week comes from Steve McCabe, who forced himself to listen to lots of his favorite music while evaluating the online music streaming services Spotify, Pandora, and Notable software releases this week include Transmit 4.2, CloudPull 2.1.3, and VMware Fusion 5 and Fusion 5 Professional. Note that we’re taking next week’s email issue off for Labor Day — look for our next issue on 10 September 2012.

TidBITS #1139 on 2012-08-20

After three weeks of non-stop Mountain Lion content, we’re shifting back to more normal coverage, starting with the announcement of the live TidBITS Presents “Protecting Your Digital Life” event on 22 August 2012. But you don’t have to wait until then to read Adam Engst’s look at how new features in the latest iteration of TweetDeck radically improve the program, or his explanation of how to update Dropbox manually if its automatic update doesn’t work for you. Plus, Michael Cohen shares the story of how an aging cable modem caused his Internet performance to degrade slowly, and he also explains how to set default fonts in Safari 6, which has removed those options from its interface. Notable software releases this week include OmniFocus 1.10.3, ClamXav 2.3.2, and DEVONagent Lite, Express, and Pro 3.3.

TidBITS #1138 on 2012-08-13

As we head into the third week of Mountain Lion’s reign, we look in more depth at aspects of Apple’s latest big cat that are causing confusion. Glenn Fleishman and Jeff Carlson lead off with a look at the Caller ID feature of Messages (in Mountain Lion and iOS), which controls the account to which replies will be directed. Then, very much on the same path, Joe Kissell tries to run down exactly what account Apple Mail will use when creating or replying to messages. Lastly, Matt Neuburg sets his laser sights on the Modern Document Model in Mountain Lion, explaining how it’s different from — and better than — its equivalent in Lion. Notable software releases this week include Nisus Writer Pro 2.0.4 and Express 3.4.3, DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.4, and TextExpander 4.0.1.

TidBITS #1137 on 2012-08-06

Mountain Lion continues to monopolize our coverage this week. First off, for that in-person touch, be sure to watch our TidBITS Presents “Upgrading to and Using Mountain Lion” video. Otherwise, we’re exploring Mountain Lion’s territory in more depth, with Kirk McElhearn sharing tips for successful voice dictation, Shane Stanley explaining how Mountain Lion makes some subtle but important changes for anyone writing AppleScript scripts, Matt Neuburg showing how Mountain Lion fails to fix Lion’s poor interface with regard to Automatic Termination, and Adam Engst looking at how to bring Web Sharing back to Mountain Lion. Notable software releases this week include MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update 1.0, Coda 2.0.2, Airfoil 4.7.2, Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.5, TinkerTool 4.9, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.8.5, and Voila 3.2 and Boom 1.5.

TidBITS #1136 on 2012-07-30

Don’t say we haven’t been warning you! This issue focuses on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, released last week. We have three new Take Control ebooks about upgrading to Mountain Lion, using Mountain Lion, and Apple Mail in Mountain Lion to help you get started, but if you want to read something a little shorter to whet your appetite, Jeff Carlson offers a long list of interesting details about Mountain Lion, Sharon Zardetto contributes a review of the new Safari 6, Adam Engst looks briefly at the OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program for those who purchased Macs recently, and Glenn Fleishman is particularly pleased to share the news that Software Base Station in Mountain Lion finally offers decent security. On the only unrelated note, Michael Cohen runs down Apple’s Q3 2102 financial report. Lastly, Agen Schmitz does yeoman service in covering Apple’s Mountain Lion update to the iWork suite, along with a slew of notable software updates, most of which also relate to Mountain Lion. They include Fantastical 1.3.2, Firefox 14.0.1, Nisus Writer Pro 2.0.3 and Express 3.4.2, SuperDuper 2.7, Yojimbo 3.0.4, LaunchBar 5.3, Scrivener 2.3.1, MacBook Air SMC Updates 1.5 and 1.6, BusyCal 1.6.4, Aperture 3.3.2, iPhoto ’11 9.3.2, and iMovie ’11 9.0.7.

TidBITS #1135 on 2012-07-23

With July fast coming to a close without Mountain Lion having shipped, we continue our push to publish practical articles that aren’t specific to any particular version of Mac OS X. Jeff Carlson shares the story about how he replaced the optical drive in his MacBook Pro with a speedy SSD, leaving the 500 GB hard drive in place for large files. And Glenn Fleishman examines the problem of dealing with low-bandwidth situations while traveling or being tethered to an expensive mobile broadband connection. Also this week, Google buys the Sparrow email client, and Michael Cohen points to some nagging problems with iCloud as indication that Apple needs to improve the reliability of the cloud-based service. Notable software releases this week include Quicksilver β69, GraphicConverter 8.2, Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5, ChronoSync 4.3.4 and ChronoAgent 1.3.4, SpamSieve 2.9.3, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 1.0, Alfred 1.3, CloudPull 2.1.2, Mellel 3.0, and SOHO Organizer 9.2.8.

TidBITS #1134 on 2012-07-16

While we all wait for Apple to release Mountain Lion, we have a slew of practical articles for you this week. Adam Engst explains how you can control your Apple TV with the same remote you use for your TV, and how to make sure you’re getting the bandwidth from your ISP that you’re paying for. Also, Agen Schmitz delves into the dark world of MPAA ratings and iTunes metadata to figure out how to apply them to videos he would prefer his five-year-old didn’t run across on the iPad. Plus, Adam covers the story about how Dropbox’s Public folder will be going away (but can be re-enabled) for new accounts, and we’re looking to find out which day of the week would be best for our upcoming TidBITS Presents: “Upgrading to and Using Mountain Lion.” Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.2.3, iPhoto ’11 9.3.1, and Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.4.

TidBITS #1133 on 2012-07-09

We were heads-down last week, working to release Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion” and the pre-order version of Matt Neuburg’s “Take Control of Using Mountain Lion,” so those announcements feature prominently in this issue. Also this week, Glenn Fleishman proposes a simple tweak to the iOS Camera app that could put QR Codes into the mainstream, and Adam Engst looks in depth at the fascinating collaboration tool Trello, which has become a core part of how we run TidBITS and Take Control. Notable software releases this week include Keyboard Maestro 5.3.1, SpamSieve 2.9.2, Hazel 3.0.9, and ClamXav 2.3.1.

TidBITS #1132 on 2012-07-02

The big news this week, which indicates it’s a bit of a slow time, was Apple’s release of the new Podcasts app, which lets you subscribe to and listen to podcasts on iOS devices. Podcaster Andy Affleck takes a look. Also this week, Bob Mansfield retires from Apple, we cover the closings of ZangZing and QOOP, the Dropbox-driven Calepin blogging platform goes open source, and Steve McCabe contributes a story of how he got the runaround from Apple both on an international iPhone replacement and on getting technical details about why the replacement wasn’t possible. Notable software releases this week include Aperture 3.3.1, CloudPull 2.1.1, and KeyCue 6.2.

TidBITS #1131 on 2012-06-25

It’s a potpourri of topics this week, anchored by Security Editor Rich Mogull’s extensive Q&A about sandboxing, the Mac App Store, and Gatekeeper. Also timely are Adam Engst’s explanation of how to sync iCloud contacts on pre-Lion Macs using SOHO Organizer, his followup on Apple’s fix to the damaging Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2, and Agen Schmitz’s roundup of reviews of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Tossing timeliness to the winds, Michael Cohen contributes a look back at a 1982 New York Times article summarizing a remarkably prescient NSF-commissioned report on the future of communications and computing. Notable software releases this week include TextExpander 4.0, Skype, and Bento 4.1.1.

TidBITS #1130 on 2012-06-18

Most of this week’s issue takes inspiration from one of two places — Apple’s WWDC announcements and the impending demise of MobileMe. For the former, Glenn Fleishman looks in detail at the IPv6 updates to AirPort Utility and at the revised AirPort Express Base Station. Plus, Adam Engst warns about installing the (now-pulled) Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2, which caused boot failures for many users. On the MobileMe side of things, Joe Kissell and Adam Engst gave a live TidBITS Presents: Adieu MobileMe presentation last week that you can now watch for free. Adam also looks at Sandvox 2.6, which extracts content from iWeb-generated Web sites so you can more easily move away from the obsolete iWeb. Rounding out the issue, we have guest articles from Andrew Laurence about how Mac OS X 10.7.4 radically improves WebDAV performance and from Steve McCabe on PDF support in current Web browsers. Notable software releases this week include iMovie ’11 9.0.6, MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Software Update 1.0, MacBook Air (Mid 2012) Software Update 1.0, MacBook Pro (Retina) Trackpad Update 1.0, Java for OS X Lion 2012-004 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 9, Aperture 3.3, iPhoto ’11 9.3, and iTunes 10.6.3.

TidBITS #1129 on 2012-06-11

Kudos to the TidBITS staff for their dedicated work covering (and providing color commentary on) Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today. We have articles about OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion shipping in July with a few previously unannounced features, the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models (including the MacBook Pro with Retina Display), the minimal speed bump to the Mac Pro, and Apple’s extensive preview of iOS 6. We’re also pleased to announce “Take Control of Apple Mail in Lion” (with a free upgrade to “Take Control of Apple Mail in Mountain Lion”) and an upcoming live online presentation on what to do when MobileMe is shut off in a few weeks. Also, don’t miss the news about LinkedIn passwords being stolen and the latest shot in the DRM wars. Notable software releases this week include CloudPull 2.1, Script Debugger 5.0, Coda 2.0.1, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.8.3, and Firefox 13.0.

TidBITS #1128 on 2012-06-04

We didn’t plan to have two articles with “Zombie” in their titles this week, but that’s just how it worked out, as Matt Neuburg explains how you can prevent unwanted documents being reopened by Lion’s Resume feature, and Glenn Fleishman shares our experience dealing with server-crushing Web traffic generated by compromised computers. Also this week, Glenn looks at the Let’s Sing iOS app, Jeff Carlson reviews the Hammerhead Capo Case for the iPad, and Steve McCabe shares what it’s like to be able to test Facebook’s new “Highlight” feature in New Zealand. We also have two new Take Control ebooks: “Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Network, Third Edition” and “Take Control of iBooks Author.” Notable software releases during the last two weeks include QuarkXPress 9.3, OmniFocus 1.10.2, App Tamer 1.3, Fantastical 1.3, Typinator 5.1, Aperture 3.2.4, Coda 2.0, Cobook 1.0, Screenflow 3.0.6, and Keyboard Maestro 5.3.

TidBITS #1127 on 2012-05-21

We’re taking the next email issue off for the Memorial Day holiday, but we have an excellent slate of articles for you this week, including coverage of Apple’s security-related updates for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and the forthcoming demise of Perian, which provides QuickTime Player with support for many more video formats. Feature articles this week include Glenn Fleishman’s explanation of how you can use the free OpenDNS service to help protect your Mac from malware like Flashback, Tonya Engst’s look at how to deal with overly cluttered iOS Home screens, and Steve McCabe’s review of FileMaker Pro 12. Notable software releases this week include GraphicConverter 8.0 and TextWrangler 4.0.1.

TidBITS #1126 on 2012-05-14

Security news continues this week, with Apple releasing Mac OS X 10.7.4, Safari 5.1.7, and Security Update 2012-002, all largely to address security-related issues. Plus, Adobe fixes a security vulnerability in Photoshop, initially requiring a paid upgrade to Photoshop CS6 but later announcing that the fix would also be made available to users of Photoshop CS5.x. Moving to the practical, Joe Kissell explains how you can keep your MobileMe email address without upgrading to iCloud, and Adam Engst looks into what can happen if zooming is turned on accidentally in iOS and Mac OS X. Finally, Andy Affleck joins us with coverage of the genealogical program Reunion 10, and Joe shines a harsh light on Apple’s abundance of alerts. Notable software releases this week include Security Update 2012-002 (Snow Leopard), EasyFind 4.9, BBEdit 10.1.2, CloudPull 2.0.3 and 1.5.7, Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.2 and 2008 12.3.3, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.8.1, and Evernote 3.1.

TidBITS #1125 on 2012-05-07

What would you do if your Apple ID-backed accounts became inaccessible? That’s what Chris Owen ran into when Apple seemingly corrupted his account — read on for his entire story and think about how you’d work around such a problem. Also this week, Jeff Carlson covers iOS 5.1.1’s fixes quickly, and Glenn Fleishman looks at both Amazon’s weak Cloud Drive desktop app and the new connection between Tweetbot and Storify. Finally, Adam points to a new worldwide photography project that everyone can contribute to and describes a new internal tool that’s possible only because of Mac OS X’s inter-application communication. Notable software releases this week include Alfred 1.2, Transmit 4.1.9, SpamSieve 2.9.1, and Hazel 3.0.5.

TidBITS #1124 on 2012-04-30

We have a wide-ranging issue for you once again, starting with Apple’s stunning (if not surprising) $11.6 billion profit for Q2 2012 — Jeff Carlson runs down the details of where it all comes from. Continuing with Apple news, Adam covers the recent iTunes account security enhancement, which has caused no end of consternation for users. Glenn Fleishman looks the release of Airfoil Speakers Touch 3, which turns any iOS device into an AirPlay receiver, and the near-tandem releases of Google Drive and a major update to Microsoft’s SkyDrive, both of which are aiming at Dropbox. Lastly, Kirk McElhearn shares the story of French telecom provider Free, which has radically reduced the price of cell phone, Internet, TV, and landline connectivity in France. Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.2.1, Pear Note 3.0, Carbon Copy Cloner 3.4.5, Send to Kindle for Mac 1.0, Firefox 12.0, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.8, and Bookle 1.0.5.

TidBITS #1123 on 2012-04-23

Security continues to weigh heavily on our minds, as Mark Anbinder encourages Java and Word updates to protect against the SabPub malware, and Glenn Fleishman explains how to report text message spam to AT&T. Glenn also reviews DropKey 1.0, a new utility for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion that simplifies exchanging encrypted files. In other news, Jeff Carlson notes Adobe’s just-announced Creative Suite 6 and the new Creative Cloud, a subscription service for using Adobe applications. And Instagram may be happy about being acquired by Facebook for $1 billion, but not all Instagram users are as excited, so Agen Schmitz looks at how you can back up your Instagram photo portfolio, in case you decide to jump ship. Lastly, Adam Engst delves deeply into Android to share the best ways — Amazon doesn’t make it easy! — to download and read EPUB and PDF ebooks on a Kindle Fire. Notable software releases this week include Quicksilver ß67, LaunchBar 5.2, and Suitcase Fusion 4.

TidBITS #1122 on 2012-04-16

One thousand one hundred and twenty-two issues of TidBITS can mean only one thing: it’s our 22nd birthday! To help us celebrate, would you consider becoming a TidBITS member so we can continue to do what we’ve done weekly for a score and two years: bring you important, interesting Mac and Apple news? The Flashback malware infestation tops our coverage this week: Glenn Fleishman and Rich Mogull dig into Apple’s critical Java updates that remove the Flashback malware, and Glenn works around an annoying related problem in Firefox. Also prompted by the Flashback problem, Jeff Carlson tells how he uses Dropbox to troubleshoot family members’ Macs. In non-malware news, Michael Cohen examines issues with making notes and using quotes in ebooks, and Steve McCabe gives in to Hype, a Mac utility for generating code for HTML5 animations and interactivity. Notable software releases this week include Acrobat X Pro and Adobe Reader X 10.1.3, Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.2.0, Final Cut Pro X 10.0.4, KeyCue 6.1, and TextWrangler 4.0.

TidBITS #1121 on 2012-04-09

In the news this week, we report on Dropbox doubling their referral bonuses — even retroactively! — and the notable release of FileMaker 12. Also, Adam looks in depth at the fast-moving Flashback malware, which has reportedly infected 600,000 Mac users, and he describes how to determine if you’re infected and how to avoid falling prey to Flashback. Continuing on the security kick, Rich Mogull explains just how the security of cloud-based services works and how you can tell if employees of your cloud provider can read your data. Notable software releases this week include TinkerTool 4.8, Hazel 3.0.4, SpamSieve 2.9, and App Tamer 1.2.1.

TidBITS #1120 on 2012-04-02

No April Fools issue this year, sorry! But we do share some of our favorite April Fools jokes, products, and services in case you were offline on Sunday. On the serious side, Adam explains how you can get up to 3 GB more storage space on Dropbox by beta testing the new Camera Upload feature, Jeff Carlson discusses how to use the PhotoSync app to transfer images back and forth between Macs and iOS devices, and Glenn Fleishman explains just why Apple’s strategy of making incremental changes to its products is confounding the rest of the technology industry. We’re also pleased to announce our latest ebook by Joe Kissell, “Take Control of CrashPlan Backups,” and, if you’re near New York City on 18 April 2012, invite you to come hear Adam and other industry figures talk about the Apple media world at MacTech Boot Camp New York. Notable software releases this week include Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.3, iPhoto ’11 9.2.3, Logic Pro 9.1.7 and Logic Express 9.1.7, iTunes 10.6.1, Airfoil 4.7, and Safari 5.1.5.

TidBITS #1119 on 2012-03-26

Apple’s third-generation iPad features strongly this week, as Adam reports on its impressive first-weekend sales, Sharon Zardetto explores selling her old iPad 2 to Amazon, and Matt Neuburg solves the mystery of why his books failed to transfer to iBooks on his new iPad. Matt also explains how you should hold your iPhone 4 or 4S for best performance with different types of calls, based on which of the phone’s two microphones will be used. For those who wish it were possible to sketch on paper and have the drawing automatically transferred to the Mac, Steve McCabe contributes a review of Wacom’s Inkling, an interesting device that is neither a graphics tablet nor a digital note-taker. And if you’re looking for an app to store your Inkling sketches, consider DEVONthink, coupled with Joe Kissell’s just-updated “Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2, Second Edition.” Notable software releases this week include CrashPlan and CrashPlan PRO 3.2, Skype, Keyboard Maestro 5.1, Fantastical 1.2.2, and Apple Software Installer Update 1.0.

TidBITS #1118 on 2012-03-19

We don’t focus on financial news much, but Adam found some fascinating details in Apple’s announcement that it would start using some of its cash to pay quarterly dividends and to repurchase stock. Other articles in this wide-ranging issue include Jeff Carlson’s explanation of how to use iTunes Match to get higher-quality, DRM-free copies of your music; Adam’s review of the CloudPull utility for backing up your Google Docs, Gmail, and other Google data locally; and Glenn Fleishman’s analysis of a recent Elcomsoft white paper criticizing the security of iOS password-keeping apps. Finally, we’re pleased to welcome as a long-term sponsor Fujitsu, makers of the ScanSnap family of document scanners. Notable software releases this week include Aperture 3.2.3, Sandvox 2.5.3, and Firefox 11.0.

Previous 25 issues | Next 25 issues