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 #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.

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.

Next 25 issues