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I swore I was going to wait for the third developer beta to upgrade my Mac to Mojave but I could not resist. After carefully making sure I had back-ups, I downloaded Mojave. I have just started to play with it but I do want to caution you that, unlike me, you should NOT be playing with live ammunition. It is buggy and not yet ready for serious production work. It will get there but things like all the buttons in our accounting system have no labels, all my 32bit applications like 2011 MS Office, 4D and several others all bring up warnings that they will soon not work.

I think you will find Mojave to be a big improvement in the Mac OS. There are many features that I am discovering that know I will be using regularly. Here’s just a sampling of the new features.

Dark Mode

After the installation Mojave defaulted to Dark Mode and while it was unique and different, it was not for me and I changed pretty quickly back to Light Mode. Dark Mode puts the focus on your work while toolbars, menus, and controls recede into the background. It’s integrated throughout macOS so it works with built-in apps—and third-party apps can adopt it too. The desktop picture even changes to match the time of day wherever you are. You can toggle between light and dark modes in the General System Preference.


You only have to remember one key command for your screenshots. Taking, annotating, sending, and saving screenshots is easier than ever. Just press Shift-Command-5 to bring up new onscreen controls, including video-recording tools.


With Stacks, your Mac automatically arranges all the files scattered on your desktop into neat groups based on file type, date, or tag so you can get organized and easily find what you need. My desktop is usually a LOT messier than this example but I think you get the idea. You can toggle Stacks on or off at Finder->View->Use Stacks.

Finder Enhancements

You can now browse files at a glance with the large previews in Gallery View, view full file metadata, and perform Quick Actions like rotate or markup. This is very cool and I have just scratched the surface but the Finder window is much more powerful now. To markup pics for this article, I am able to do it now in Finder.

Quicklook is part of the new Finder, too. Clicking on the Quicklook eye icon will allow you to mark up and sign PDFs, rotate and crop images, and even trim audio and video files right in Quick Look—without launching an app.

Continuity Camera

This another really handy enhancement in Mojave. With Continuity Camera you can open your iOS device’s camera from your Mac, then immediately transfer the photo you took over to a document that you’re working on. For example, if you are working on a Pages document, and you need a photo of your dog, you can activate Continuity Camera, take the photo with your iPhone, then immediately see that photo pop up in the document on your Mac. Magic, right? Here’s how you do it for a photo, using a scanner is the same:

Open an editable document in an app like Pages or Keynote

Control-click, right-click, or two-finger-click on a space within the document where you want your phone to be located

Click Take Photo under the name of the iOS device you’ll use to take that photo

Take the pup’s photo using your iPhone or iPad

Tap Use Photo. Your photo will now appear in your document where you clicked.

Group FaceTime

With Group FaceTime, you can chat with up to 32 people simultaneously—more than ever before. New participants can be added at any time, and a call can include both audio and video callers. And users can join from any Apple device—iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch. I haven’t given this a try yet but sounds pretty handy.

News, Home, Voice Memos and Stocks

iOS apps on the Mac! Oh no! I use all of these except Voice Memos daily on my iPhone or iPad. I especially like Apple News as it is a great way to catch up on what is important to me. Aside from the normal world and national news my news feed is full of Celtics and Cubs news.

We use our iPhones and iPads to turn on and off our lights, adjust our thermostat and lock the doors. It has always been a bit weird that you couldn’t do that from the Mac – well, now you can and it works great!

This is just the start of iOS apps that may find their way onto the Mac and I think that is a good thing.

We will cover more of the new features in Mac OS 10.14 Mojave as we discover them! The public beta is out now but as I said it is not for the squeamish – some things may not work the way you want them to, some things will not work at all and even though you might like being a pioneer you might also regret heading down that path before all the bugs are squashed.

Last week my oldest daughter went on a school trip to Boston, and, on the second day of the trip, I got a frantic call from her. She was in tears and in fear she had lost her cell phone. Between her sobs and hysteria, she was pleading with me to track her phone. After calming her down and assuring her that I would not get angry if the phone was really lost, I went to my find my iPhone app and gave her the location of her phone, and, a sigh of relief was felt when we determined it appeared to simply be left in the hotel room. Crisis averted and she was back to enjoying her trip.

Find my iPhone is a very useful app to find your own devices linked to your iCloud account, but what about your friends? What if you also wanted to maybe keep closer tabs on your child, especially as they become more independent. Find My Friends—has become significantly more useful. Although there are legitimate concerns about sharing your location willy-nilly, Find My Friends gives everyone full control over what they share, making it truly helpful for families and close friends. So if you’ve ever thought it would be useful to know when your child left their soccer game or wanted them to receive an automatic alert when you leave to pick them up, Find My Friends is the app for you. It’s also great for keeping track of aging parents or for housemates looking out for one another.

Add and Remove Friends

Although you can add friends in the Find My Friends app by tapping Add and selecting their contact card, it’s easier to work from Messages, assuming you want to share your location with someone with whom you regularly text anyway. In their conversation, tap the i button, tap Share My Location, and in the popover that appears, tap Share Indefinitely. (Share for One Hour and Share Until End of Day are useful for temporarily sharing your location while traveling, say, to visit colleagues with whom permanent sharing would be inappropriate.)

However you initiate the sharing, the other person receives a notification and can accept and choose to share their location as well. (If they don’t do so right away, you can tap their name in your Find My Friends list and tap Ask to Follow.) That said, uni-directional sharing is all right, though in families and, particularly for children, b-idirectional sharing can be more helpful.

Should you ever wish to stop sharing your location with someone, you can either swipe left on their entry in Find My Friends and tap the red Trash button, or go into their conversation details in Messages and tap Stop Sharing My Location.

Work with Locations

Once you have someone in the Find My Friends app, you’ll see their entry in the list and their location on the map. That may be all you need if, for example, your goal is to see where your spouse is on their way home so you can figure out when to start dinner. A tip: for a quick location check, ask Siri something like, “Where is Luke?”

But Find My Friends has other features that make it even more useful. To access these features, tap a friend in the list or on the map to focus on them.

Contact: Tap Contact to view your friend’s contact card. From it, you can start a Messages conversation, phone call, FaceTime call, email message, or money transfer via Apple Pay. You can also edit their details from here.

Notify Me: With the Notify Me feature, Find My Friends can tell you when your friend leaves or arrives at a particular location. Two locations—their current location and your current location—are always available for quick selection. Or tap Other, and then either search for a location or press and hold on the map to drop a pin at that spot. You can even expand the orange dropped-pin circle to make the location less precise (and thus less likely to miss, if the person doesn’t quite go where you expect).

Notify Friend: On the flip side, Notify Friend (tap More to access this feature) lets you tell your friend of your location right now, or when you leave or arrive at a location. A welcome addition here is a Repeat Every Time switch, so you could, for instance, have Find My Friends alert your mother in advance whenever you decide to stop over at the last minute.

Get Directions: Also in the More screen is a car icon; tap it to display directions to your friend’s current location in Maps. It’s a great way to avoid those awkward conversations when you need to pick up your kid after a party and they can’t tell you precisely where they are.

It’s easy to be cynical about the privacy implications of location sharing. Obviously, you want to share locations only with people you trust, especially when talking about children and even aging adults. However, this kind of technology can be not only convenient but also an incredible safety tool. Naturally, all of these features require good cell coverage and it won’t work everywhere. Regardless, it’s comforting and handy to know that whether it’s coming home from a school event, or trying to find someone in an unfamiliar city, our phones are amazing tools that can help reduce the stress of knowing where to find someone.

Sneak Preview of What’s Coming from Apple This Fall

At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote on June 4th, the company unveiled the first developer versions of all four of its operating systems: macOS 10.14 Mojave, iOS 12, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12. They won’t be available until this fall, likely in September or October, but here is a glimpse of what you can expect.

macOS 10.14 Mojave Adds Dark Mode, Enhances the Finder, and Gains Four iOS Apps

With the update to macOS, which Apple is calling “Mojave” after the southern California desert, the company is beefing up the Finder, adding visual enhancements, and bringing some familiar iOS apps to the Mac. Apple is dropping support for some older Macs, so you’ll need a Mac introduced since 2012 to run Mojave.

Productivity mavens with messy desktops will appreciate a new Finder feature, which, when turned on, automatically gathers all the files on the Desktop into “stacks,” sorting them by file type, date, tag, or other criteria. Click a stack to expand it, much like a Dock stack today.

Apple has replaced Cover Flow view, which combined a large preview area and a file list, with the new Gallery view. Aimed at helping you browse in a folder of images, Gallery view displays a large preview of the selected file above a row of thumbnails for other items in the folder. A right-hand sidebar in Gallery view shows more information about the current file and lets you edit or mark up the file with Quick Actions (which you can create with Automator) without opening the file in an app. Press the space bar to preview a file with Quick Look, and you can apply appropriate Quick Actions to the file as well, all from the Finder.

If you find the white backgrounds in the Mac’s windows too bright, you’ll like Mojave’s new Dark Mode (shown above), which intelligently reverses things to display white text in a largely black interface. Additional eye candy comes from Dynamic Desktops, which can change the appearance of new Apple-provided desktop backgrounds based on the time of day.

For those who take a lot of screenshots, Apple has given the Mac’s long-standing screenshot capabilities a visible interface that simplifies taking still screenshots or recording a movie of your actions. Plus, you can preview, edit, share, or delete a screenshot or movie immediately after creating it.

A new feature called Continuity Camera lets you use your iPhone’s camera in Mac apps, either taking a photo directly into a Mac app or scanning a document as a PDF.

Lastly, although Apple was emphatic that it won’t be replacing macOS with iOS, or merging the two, the company is working to make it easier for developers to create apps that work on both platforms. Independent developers won’t be able to do that until 2019, but Apple is testing the waters by bringing four familiar apps from iOS to the Mac: News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home. They look and work very much like their iPad counterparts, but rely on the mouse or trackpad, and use normal Mac interface elements like resizable windows.

iOS 12 Improves Performance, Provides Time Management Tools, and More

In the WWDC keynote, Apple emphasized that one of its main goals for iOS 12 is to improve performance, especially for older devices. Unlike Mojave, iOS 12 will support all the same devices as iOS 11, so those with an iPhone 5s or original iPad Air may benefit the most from this effort.

To address increasing concerns about how much we, and our kids, are using smartphones, Apple has made some important changes. Perhaps most important is the new Screen Time feature, which shows how often you use your iOS devices and how much time you spend in different apps. It also lets you set daily time limits for specific apps, so you can make sure you don’t spend too much time in Facebook, for instance. Even better, you can set such limits for your children’s devices via Family Sharing.

Do Not Disturb has become a more appealing feature, because you don’t need to worry about accidentally leaving it on for too long—it can now be set to turn off automatically after some time or when you leave a location, such as at the end of a class or when you leave your doctor’s office. (This feature also comes to the Apple Watch with watchOS 5.) Also new is Do Not Disturb During Bedtime, which ensures you won’t see enticing notifications on the Lock screen if you check the time on your iPhone in the middle of the night.

Getting too many notifications? Notification grouping gathers all the notifications from each app together on the Lock screen so it doesn’t fill up, but you can see them all at once when you’re ready. Plus, a new feature called Instant Tuning helps you reduce the number of notifications you see, right from the Lock screen.

If you’ve always wanted to automate repetitive actions in iOS, you’ll love the new Siri Shortcuts feature. You can use it to string together actions in different apps—send a message to your spouse that you’re leaving work, show the traffic conditions on your commute home, and start playing a podcast app—and then invoke them all via Siri with a custom phrase.

Other interesting changes in iOS 12 include these:

Apple has renovated the interfaces of several bundled apps, including iBooks (now called Apple Books), News, Stocks, and Voice Memos (which can now sync recordings with the Mac).

FaceTime is no longer limited to one-on-one conversations and can now include up to 32 people in a single FaceTime conversation. The Mac version of FaceTime gains this capability too.

Photos boasts improved searching, can unearth photos from your library in a new For You tab, and prompts you to share photos with friends who it recognizes in your photos.

Apple is working with colleges and universities to add Wallet support for contactless student ID cards so students can use an iPhone (or Apple Watch) for unlocking doors, paying for meals, and more.

CarPlay allows apps from non-Apple developers to take over the car’s screen so that you can use alternative mapping apps like Google Maps and Waze in a CarPlay-enabled car.

watchOS 5 Improves Workouts, and Adds Walkie-Talkie and Podcasts Apps

Apple has realized that the Apple Watch is popular primarily for fitness and communication, so the company focused on those areas for watchOS 5. Alas, watchOS 5 isn’t available on the original Apple Watch.

On the fitness side, the Apple Watch can now start many workout types automatically when it detects that you’re exercising, and end a workout automatically when it sees that you’ve stopped. It even provides retroactive credit for what you did before the workout was detected. Apple has added new Yoga and Hiking workouts, each with their own metrics, and the running and walking workouts now measure cadence (steps per minute).

For those running outside, the Workout app can also display the rolling mile pace—the pace for the last mile—and can sound an alarm if you’re going slower or faster than a specified pace. And for those who do better with social motivation, watchOS 5 provides 7-day activity competitions.

In terms of communication, watchOS 5’s marquee feature is the new Walkie-Talkie app. Once you and a friend have set it up, you can tap a big yellow button to talk to your friend—and they can reply—just as though you were using old-school walkie-talkies. It works over both Wi-Fi and cellular.

Apple is bringing the Podcasts app to watchOS 5, so you’ll be able to listen to podcasts from your wrist, assuming you have AirPods or a Bluetooth headset. Plus, watchOS 5 makes it possible for other audio apps to store audio on the watch, so it should get easier to listen to audiobooks and the like even when you don’t have your iPhone with you.

Other welcome changes in watchOS 5 include:

The Siri watch face has new options, including sports scores, heart-rate readings after workouts, and commuting times from Maps. Independent apps will also be able to contribute bits of data to appear in the Siri face.

Notifications can be interactive, so you could tap on your wrist to check in for a flight, confirm a restaurant reservation, or extend parking time. As with iOS 12, multiple notifications from the same app will be grouped.

Web links in Messages or email can be previewed on the Apple Watch.

When you raise your wrist to talk to Siri, you no longer have to say “Hey, Siri.”

tvOS 12 Gains Dolby Atmos Support, Zero Sign-on, and a New Aerial Screensaver

Although the Apple TV often receives less attention than Apple’s other platforms, it still gains new capabilities with tvOS 12. Most notable among these is support—on the Apple TV 4K only—for Dolby Atmos audio, which makes audio sound more realistic by going beyond the simple right and left channels to provide 3D sound. You’ll need an Atmos-capable soundbar too, along with Atmos-compliant video content, but Apple will automatically upgrade anything you’ve bought from the iTunes Store to the Atmos version once it’s out.

Two other new features work on both the Apple TV 4K and the fourth-generation Apple TV but require support from both apps and TV providers: Zero Sign-on and Cloud DVR. Zero Sign-on figures out your Internet provider, and if it’s the same as your TV service, automatically detects apps that need authentication and logs you in to them. It will work only with Charter Spectrum at launch, but Apple is negotiating with more providers. Similarly, the new Cloud DVR feature lets you watch TV you’ve recorded via the Apple TV, if your TV provider supports it. In the U.S., that again means Charter Spectrum to start.

Apple put some work into the Apple TV’s gorgeous aerial screensaver, introducing a new view from space using imagery taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. Also, you can tap the Siri Remote touchpad while a screensaver is showing to see where it was taken.

Finally, in conjunction with iOS 12, tvOS can autofill passwords saved on your iOS devices so you don’t have to type them on the awkward onscreen keyboard. And if iOS 12 detects an Apple TV, it automatically adds an Apple TV Remote button to Control Center on your iPhone or iPad. (You can do that now, but you have to add the button manually in Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.)

Getting Ready for These OS Releases

Apple usually makes new versions of its operating systems available in September or October, in conjunction with new iPhones. That doesn’t mean you should upgrade immediately, and we always recommend that you hold off on upgrades until Apple had had a chance to address the inevitable bugs that come with the initial release of any major upgrade. So sit tight, and we’ll tell you more when the time is right. While I am a developer and can install the new betas now, I will NOT. Initial betas of these operating systems are historically very buggy and can result in data loss and loss of functionality – don’t do it on your one iPhone or Mac!

That said, if these features sound enticing and you have a pre-2012 Mac, an iPhone 5 or earlier, an iPad that predates the iPad Air, or an original Apple Watch, some new hardware may be in your future.

As useful and easy as it is to use a mouse to interact with your computer, most of the time it’s much quicker to simply use key commands with the keyboard to access commonly-used functions. Combinations of the Shift, CTRL, Option (Alt), and ⌘ (Command) modifiers multiply your keyboard real-estate dramatically.

But what do these keys mean, and what does the odd little cloverleaf ⌘ have to do with anything? Shift is obviously a carryover from the typewriter days; physically shifting the mechanism that imprints letters to paper so that capitalized characters are used.

The CTRL key’s origins lie with early teletype machines as a keyboard modifier. The key allowed commands such as ejecting a printed page, clearing the screen or ringing the bell on the terminal.

The Option or “Alt” key is a modifier carried over from keyboards made for early Lisp and MIT computers where it was labeled the “Meta” or ◆ key and allows alternate characters or input. Similar to the function of the shift key.

The command key on an Apple keyboard used to be represented with the typical Apple logo dating to the days of the Apple Lisa keyboard that allowed the user access to all of the available application commands by key combinations. However, during a development meeting for a new piece of software with significantly more commands than other programs, Steve Jobs remarked on how many little Apple icons were on each menu label and exclaimed that the developers were “Taking the Apple logo in vain”, and so the search went out for an alternative.

Susan Kare, Apple’s bitmap artist sought out an appropriate symbol that would fill the void and settled upon a symbol used in Sweden on tourist signs to represent a point of interest. It’s symmetry and simplicity were exactly what was called for. While the symbol, called a Bowen Knot, Gorgon Loop, or St. John’s Arms, depending on where you go, is common in European history; it’s likely the Swedish “point of interest” icon generally refers to the shape of Borgholm Castle, a popular 13-Century ruin and common point of interest in Sweden, iconized and simplified for tourists.

So the next time you’re zipping through your work, take a second to reflect at the history behind the funky cloverleaf next to your space bar and be happy you’re not taking the Apple logo in vain.

I run Apple beta software on my Apple Watch so I probably update the software a bit more often than most Apple Watch users. But I know you Apple Watch users will agree with me that the Apple Watch updates are painfully slow. As long as I am complaining, I don’t know why Apple requires a charged Apple Watch to be on the charger in order to complete the update. It probably is because that 12-hour charge on your Apple Watch might not be enough to cover the slow update.

I can’t do much about the charger part but I can help show you how to speed up the updates. Your Apple Watch communicates with your iPhone via both BlueTooth and Wi-Fi. The Apple Watch prioritizes BlueTooth over Wi-Fi to preserve power. BlueTooth uses less power but it also is a lot slower transferring data than Wi-Fi in almost every case.

If you disable BlueTooth at just the right moment you can force the Apple Watch to use Wi-Fi to do your upgrade. Believe me, it is a LOT faster. Unlike most Apple devices your Apple Watch does not download its own upgrades. You have to think about your Apple Watch as an extension of your iPhone, even if you have the cellular version.

Let’s say you get a notice on your Apple Watch of an update, and you also see that notice on the iPhone. When you go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone you can download the Watch update to your iPhone and it will then update your paired Apple Watch. This is not a tiny file and sending it over BlueTooth to your Apple Watch just takes a really long time. I am sure you have watched that update circle move like maple sap in the dead of winter.

You can speed up this process by utilizing Wi-Fi instead of BlueTooth, but to do this, you will have to turn off BlueTooth at the right moment in the process. Here’s the steps to faster updates for your Apple Watch:

  1. Make sure that your Apple Watch is on its charger and charged to at least 50%. Your iPhone should be close to the Apple Watch. We are assuming from the start that both BlueTooth and Wi-Fi are active on your iPhone and your Apple Watch
  2. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and click on the My Watch tab
  3. Tap on General and then Software Update. If there is an update available you will see the version number, some notes about the new release and a Download and Install button
  4. Pushing on that button may trigger a request for your passcode, go ahead and enter that
  5. As the Watch app prepares to send the update to your Apple Watch you will see a message with “Estimated time remaining” just under the version number
  6. When the rough estimate of time remaining shows (i.e. “about 2 hours remaining”) and not before, it is time to switch to Wi-Fi by temporarily disabling BlueTooth. The timing is important here – don’t disable BlueTooth before you see the estimated time remaining alert.
  7. Open Settings*on your iPhone and choose *BlueTooth from the list
  8. Slide the toggle switch to Off. This shuts off BlueTooth on your iPhone. That means all your BlueTooth devices aren’t going to work while you do this upgrade but it isn’t that long.

  9. Go back to the Software Update screen on the Watch App on your iPhone and you will see a warning to turn BlueTooth back on. Click Cancel to continue. Without BlueTooth your iPhone and Watch will now communicate with the faster Wi-Fi protocol.
  10. Now watch that circle close up! You should see the estimated time decline dramatically. Once, the download has completed – meaning the iPhone has sent it to the Watch you will see the “Estimated Time…” change to “Preparing…”
  11. You will then see it say “Verifying…” and then you will have an active “Install” button. Tap the install button and enter your passcode if requested.
  12. Once the progress wheel appears on your Apple Watch your iPhone is no longer needed. Go back to Settings on your iPhone and slide the BlueTooth toggle back to on.

This work-around is actually pretty easy, the main thing to remember is to turn off BlueTooth on your iPhone at the right time (just after the estimated time appears) and then to remember to turn it back on.

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