Category: Macs

On Mac OS 10.15–Go For Mac OS 11

I know a lot of you are on Mac OS 10.15.  You have a “late model” Mac and you have held off on upgrading to Mac OS 11 pending my recommendation.  I have had the chance to do some of these installations and while they can take SEVERAL HOURS if you are on an older version of the Mac OS — they are pretty painless if you are already on Mac OS 10.15.

If you have a backup of your Mac already, you can probably do the upgrade yourself by going to the Apple Menu, System Preferences, and Software Update.  Depending on your internet connection the process will take 60 to 90 minutes.

You’ll want to have Mac OS 11 by September, in my opinion.  During the fall, the next Mac OS will come out and I will have you wait a few months again before it is installed.   New OS’es never have to be installed on day 1, but eventually you want them because they provide CRUCIAL security fixes.

Odds and Ends

TV Time:  Blue Bloods

Up until a year ago, I regularly watched four TV shows.  Unfortunately, one of them got cancelled for reasons I’m not going to get into here.  For the last few TV seasons (usually running from Sept to May), Blue Bloods has been my favorite show.  There is just something wholesome about watching Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and his family run integral parts of fictional New York City.  On Friday May 14th, the Season 11 finale aired.   It spanned 2 hours.  I don’t want to spoil it for any of you.   It is available On Demand as Episode 15 (The End) and 16 (Justifies the Means).  It’s a great mini-movie of sorts and it would be perfect for you to jump right in if you haven’t watched Blue Bloods in a while.  To set the table for you, all you need to know is that Frank has a grandson in the NYPD and he has been “missing” for several months.  It was very emotional viewing for me and I loved it.

Additional Thoughts on Car Buying

I just wanted to add a couple more notes to my last newsletter…

-People buy used cars all the time.  Maybe you like the deal or it is a discontinued model.  Please get the car inspected by an independent mechanic.  If the dealer or seller won’t let you get it inspected, move on.

-This might be more for your kids than you — but if you have an unstable income / career prospects, buy rather than lease.  I helped someone last year on a car deal.  She made all of her lease payments, but the rest of her credit got trashed over the 3 years of the lease.  I had to put on my A-Game just to negotiate with the dealer to get an 8.7% loan rate to buy out the lease.  We could have easily been looking at 15%. 

YouTube Premium

I don’t know about you but my family watches way more You Tube than TV.  It is still my sincere goal to be done with traditional cable TV by the end of the year.   If you like You Tube and you like music, you may want to consider You Tube Premium for $12 a month.   It gives you ad-free You Tube viewing and also unlimited music from the You Tube Music app.  You Tube Music is very similar to Apple Music.  You can download your music to the app, listen offline, stream in the house or play in the car.  It’s on my radar to check out.  One thing I have noticed recently is that my ad blockers on the iPhone and computer no longer block You Tube ads. 

New  M1 Macs — Truly Are That Fast

I have finally set up some M1 Macs for clients.   They are night and day better than even recent Intel Macs.    The Mac Book Air starts at $999 and the Mac Book Pro is $1299 (if you need more than 256 GB hard drive you will pay a little more).  Need a desktop?  Apple’s got you covered.  You can select either the Mac Mini or the brand new M1 iMac.  I sent out an update a few weeks ago on these Macs.  I want to mention that the upgrade in price for the iMac is not just the beautiful design but you are also getting a Retina Display.   If it were me, I think I would probably still choose a “business quality” monitor with the Mini but if you want to most pop in the picture, then the iMac is for you.

Mac Is Back–Ordering Macs Correctly

Before I go out and get a cup of coffee that doesn’t make my head spin (lol), I want to report to you that business is brisk in the Mac world.   Macs are selling well.  2016 to 2019 were dark times for Mac users due those terrible keyboards in the Mac laptops.   A comeback started to be made in 2018 with the Mac Mini.   Then Apple brought the old keyboard back with the 16 inch Mac Book pro in late 2019.  (However, my clients were not typically buyers of the 15 / 16 inch laptops.)    Then in 2020, the good keyboard returned to the 13 inch Mac Books. It was a major victory for frustrated Mac buyers.

As we rolled into last fall, Apple came out with Mac Books sporting their new M1 processors.  This will be their infrastructure going forward.  A new mac Mini was also released.    They could very well release M1 iMacs at their event on April 20th.  I know some of you are waiting for those. 

On these new M1 Macs — the hard drives and RAM are an integrated system.  There is no replacing them when things go bad.  Like any solid state drive (SSD), they are limited to a certain # of read write cycles over their lifespan.  I read a report recently that if you order one of the new Macs with a larger hard drive — it actually gives it more room to read and write over time.   

So my advice here is — don’t take the standard 256 GB hard drive.  Upgrade it at the time of ordering to at least the 512 GB model.   Also — I would strongly suggest that you may want to consider the 3 year Apple Care warranty.  This is all new technology.  If one component on that logic board goes bad, the whole computer practically has to be replaced.   I am never opposed to buying Apple Care on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. 

For most consumers that I deal with I think that the Mac Book Air would be a fine choice over the 13 inch Mac Book Pro.  You can save a couple hundred $$ there.

Mac OS 11 (Big Sur)–Sooner or Later

I do keep getting asked by my Mac clients — should I allow my Mac to upgrade to OS version 11 aka Big Sur?   As you know I’ve told you to delay and stick with Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina) up until now.

If you have  a 2015 or later Mac laptop or one of the newer iMacs or Mac Minis — sooner or later you are just going to have to do it.   I am not giving a 100% endorsement but I am saying that it is going to be the Mac operating system you want to have before the Fall.   If you wait too long — then we are going to go through this all over again when Mac OS 11.1 (or 12 or whatever it’s called) comes out.  I will probably have you delay that one for a few months as well. 

So here is what I am saying — if you have a newer Mac that is problem free — go ahead and do the upgrade with the understanding that a few out of a hundred may have a problem or require a follow up visit from me.  If you have an old slow Mac — even if it’s Big Sur compatible — I have probably told you that you are looking at buying a new Mac within the year so don’t bother.    Generally speaking this Mac OS 11 is compatible with Macs 2013-14 and newer.  2012 and older Mac laptops are not compatible. 

If you have a specific concern about your Mac, please ask.  If you would like to make an appointment for an “assisted upgrade”  we can do that.

It is a good time to be a Mac owner — in general.

Alternate Methods

You may need to do something right away and can’t get the help you need that hour or even that day.  I’ll try to get there as soon as I can.  However, we all have situations where it just can’t wait.  I want to let you know that there isn’t only one way to surf the Internet, check your email, or type a document on your computer.  You must understand — and perhaps this is new learning territory for you than we can cover in depth in our next session — that there are at least 2 ways to skin a cat.  Exploring the options can get you out of a jam and open mental pathways.    Here are just a few scenarios……

– Comcast or Gmail e-mail:  Your account can be set up in the Mail app (or Outlook) but you can also visit Gmail.com or My.xfinity.com to access a fully functional mail system in your web browser.

-You prefer to go on the Internet with Safari or Chrome:  What do you do when they don’t work or become corrupted?  You need a second browser at your disposal!! This could be Firefox, Edge, Vivaldi, or Brave.  Chances are that the second browser is going to work.  Get familiar with it.

-Time to type a document — Oh no!  Microsoft Word is not working.  Did you know that you can type and save basic documents in Text Edit (Mac) and Word Pad (Windows).  For letters and basic writing with paragraphs they are just fine.

Mac OS 10.15.7–Supplemental Update 2

I told you that I would keep you informed if there are supplemental updates for Mac OS 10.15 (aka Catalina).   Of course, you are still holding off on the big upgrade to Mac OS 11 — Big Sur.   Unfortunately, Apple is not going to notify you when updates are released for those staying with 10.15.

One came out last week.  Please download and install it.  Depending on the speed of your internet connection, I would expect this process to take 30 to 45 minutes (but could be less).

https://support.apple.com/kb/DL2071?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

Mac OS 11-Big Sur–Hold Off Just A While Longer

We are getting closer to a point where I think it would be OK to install Mac OS Big Sur — version 11.  I have told you to avoid it since it came out in the Fall of 2020.  There is no reason to install a brand new operating system on day one or even in the first few months.   Therefore I have told you to stick with Mac OS 10.15 for a while.  This means however that you have to install the incremental patches or minor updates yourselves.  I have pledged to notify you whenever one comes out.  The last of these updates came out on Dec. 16, 2020. 

(Of course, some of you have older Macs which cannot update beyond OS 10.13, 10.14 or 10.15.  This message is not for you.)

Two days ago, Apple released Mac OS 11.2 which is the second significant update to the new operating system.   At the point when they release Mac OS 11.3 I think it would be fine — though no need to rush — to proceed with the “Big Sur” installation.  

At that point I think Big Sur would be fine if you are the “Joe and Jane Consumer” type that browses the internet, checks email, and uses Microsoft Office.  (Big Bold Print Emphasis) DO NOT INSTALL A MAJOR UPGRADE OF YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM WITHOUT HAVING A BACKUP OF YOUR COMPUTER.  MOST OF YOU SHOULD HAVE AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE PLUGGED IN MAKING REGULAR TIME MACHINE BACKUPS.  ALSO DO NOT INSTALL MAC OS 11 BIG SUR IF YOU ARE USING SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE INCLUDING WORK SOFTWARE THAT IS NOT YET COMPATIBLE. 


If you have specific questions about 3rd party software and its Big Sur compatibility ask me, ask your job, or check with the developer. 

The bottom line is — Mac OS Big Sur / mac OS 11 is going to be a fine compatible operating system for newer compatible Macs.   Just give it a little more time and you won’t have to avoid it any longer.   It will be ready for prime time.

Erasing Product Mistakes

Don’t you just hate it when technology companies remove features or services that we like?  It is so frustrating.  There may be some hope.   The 2015 Mac Book Pro and Mac Book Air had such a solid design.  These were reliable machines.  They were a joy to type on.   However, when the Mac Book Pro was updated in 2016 (and the Air in 2018), there were only two to four ports to plug things into (one used for charging) and the keyboards were flat as a pancake.  On the higher end Pro models, they added a stupid Touch Bar with animated keys instead of the traditional Esc, F1, F2, etc, etc.   Awful!!

As I have previously shared, they corrected the keyboard with the 2020 laptops.  Rumors are swirling now that Apple will remove the Touch Bar in the 2021 models and (drum roll please) bring back a Mag Safe charger.   If you recall that pre-2016 charger, it would easily disconnect if you walked into the cord — saving your laptop from damage and flying off the desk.    Apple is going back to the old paths.  I like the old paths. 

Apple also reverted to old design cues and features with the iPhone 12 models.  You should strongly consider one for your 2021 iPhone purchase.   Remember the flat edges (sharp in a good way) of the iPhone 5, 5s and iPhone SE (2016)?   Apple went back to that design with the 12’s that came out last fall.   Furthermore, they are using only Qualcomm modems once again after using inferior Intel modems for a few years. Customers are reporting better signal performance in many instances. 

Finally, not everyone likes using the Face ID on the iPhone 10 and later models.  It can be a royal pain with a mask on.   On the most recent iPad Air (the middle model), Apple re-introduced a Touch ID sensor.   We can only hope they offer this on the 2021 iPhone models as well.

Mac OS 10.11 Big Sur–Do Not Install Now

It’s been a while since I did one of these.  As with many technology concerns, I want to achieve a balance between hyping something new and ignoring it completely.  With that said, I don’t want clients to be taken by surprise. 

Facts:  A new version of the Mac operating system was released a few days ago.  It is known as “Big Sur” — aka mac OS 11.  Make no mistake about the numbering.  if you recall the versions of mac OS for about 20 years have been called 10.x.   Most recently we’ve had 10.15 that came out last year (Catalina).  By calling Big Sur version 11 and not 10.16, Apple is signifying the future is here.  They are as committed to the Mac as ever, but they have built the platform for the next generation.  If you are just using Mail and Safari (or Chrome) you won’t notice major changes.  There could be little quirks that trip you up, however.

Starting anytime now you are going to be bothered / prompted to install Big Sur (mac OS 11).   As it just came out a few days ago, I’m still considering this experimental software even though Apple would beg to differ with my assessment.  Big Sur is compatible with most Macs 2013-14 and later, depending on the model.   DO NOT INSTALL MAC OS 11 / BIG SUR RIGHT NOW. 

Once we get to version 11.1 or 11.2 or even later — a couple ++ months from now, then it probably will be safe to install.   It was a good 6 months or more when I finally urged clients to install Mac OS 10.15.   As always, I am available to assist with these major upgrade jobs. 


Last year and into this year — I was able to program your Macs to ignore the last big upgrade until it was an appropriate time to install it.   With a small update earlier this year — Apple took away your ability to do that.   (There are some Business utilities that could be installed to do the blocking but most consumers are not going to go that far. )   So sadly, the Mac has gotten a little less friendly to use.  It seems like they are forcing you to take software that is not ready for prime time. 

Just remember — no need to travel to Big Sur today.  I’ll let you know when you should get your boarding passes ready. 

Mac-Not Going Anywhere

Happy Veterans Day.  Thank you to all who served.


Fruit of the Week

I think I have found my new favorite fruit, but you’ll be hard pressed to find it in a conventional grocery store. I am talking about the Japanese pomelo.  I have to confess I am a bit of a grapefruit snob.  The Japanese pomelo has a lime green outer skin and is about the size of a large grapefruit.  It’s color gives a false impression that it’s very sour but my taste buds would put it somewhere in between a pink grapefruit and an orange.  I’m glad I bought 6 when I could.


New Macs Are Out — To Be Delivered Soon

Apple did it again.  They had their third major product unveiling in as many months.  As I mentioned last week, they are in the process of releasing Macs with CPUs (and GPUs — graphics processing units) that are created totally in-house.  Apple has done this for years with the iPhones and iPads.  Since 2006, Apple has sold Macs with Intel CPUs.   Welcome to the new era of “Macs with M1 chips”.   New Mac Book Airs, Mac Book Pros, and Mac Minis are available for pre order.  They will run Intel Mac software without a major performance hit.  Apple seems to be as committed to the Mac as ever.  Pricing starts at $699 for the Mini (a desktop),  $999 for the Mac Book Air, and $1299 for the Pro.  These represent the same pricing on the 2 laptops and $100 less on the Mac Mini.  Born in 1984, Macs are not going anywhere.