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TMUG – Tips & Tricks #19: Latest updates from Apple, plus some: (8/6/17)

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #19: Latest updates from Apple, plus some:

NOTE: All previous Tips & Tricks emails sent to our members since early June 2017 are now also posted on our TMUG Web Site at; we will continue posting future Tips & Tricks on our Web site (the most recent will always appear at the top of the list as you log on). One of the reasons for posting them on the Web site is not only to give our members one place to go back and review previous postings, but for those TMUG members with an AOL address who are not able to open our email postings due to size limitations imposed by AOL for incoming large messages. If any AOL users also have an alternative address such as one from Apple (… or other sites including …, and …, please send me your alternative address to ensure that you don’t miss a single message.
So what’s new in Tips & Tricks?
• If you did not see the notice from Apple this past week, both the macOS and iOS operating systems were updated, primarily with security updates, so be sure to check “About This Mac” under the Apple, or go to “Settings” on your iPhone or iPad for the update downloads.
• iPhone HINT: If you are in an area where you should have cell phone service, but don’t, put your phone on “Airplane Mode” and then switch back to close Airplane Mode. This will cause your iPhone to register and find all the cell towers in your vicinity.
• Apple Watch Rumor #1: Apple is planning to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce its reliance on the iPhone. Some of the new models for the Apple Watch will be equipped with LTE chips and be able to perform many tasks without needing an iPhone to be in range.
• Apple Watch Rumor #2: According to sources, Apple’s sights are now set on the epidemic of diabetes, and the company plans to introduce a game-changing glucose monitoring feature in an upcoming Apple Watch.
• Apple Watch Rumor #3: Apple has filed patents for smart watch bands that could add additional functionality to the watch, including additional battery lifehaptics, health sensors, and more, though it’s hard to bet on when (if ever) a patented product will see the light of day.
• iPhone Rumor #1: iPhone 8 rumored to come in four colors, including mirror-like finish.
• iPhone Rumor #2:  Apple may be planning on releasing three new iPhones in 2018, each sporting an OLED display. Apple is also rumored to be producing one iPhone model this year with an OLED display.
• iPhone Rumor #3:  iPhone 8 (as well as the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus) will most likely support wireless charging, all three phones will ship with the standard 5W power connector with USB-A-to-Lightning cable. The wireless charger would be a separately sold accessory.
•• There are numerous other iPhone rumors, including facial recognition, but we will leave the rumors be for the moment.
• Apple TV Rumor: One rumor suggests 4K, HDR, and even Dolby Vision are on their way with the next-generation Apple TV.
• iOS 11 Rumor: The beta version of the new iOS 11 is out for testing; there are expected to be many upgrades that will make iOS 11 for your iPhone and iPad more exciting and more powerful.
• macOS 10.13 High Sierra Rumor: macOS 10.13 High Sierra, the newest version of its Mac operating system, is expected to be released to the public soon. There are a few big features coming our way and lots of under-the-hood fixes as well.
HomeKit – Everything you need to know:  HomeKit is Apple’s framework for home automation: It’s what manufacturers use to integrate their products — lights, speakers, thermostats, plugs, sensors, locks, and more — with Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Thanks to HomeKit, these accessories can be more secure, easier to use, and best of all, triggered with Siri. To learn more, go to
• Adobe is finally killing Flash. Finally!: Adobe has announced it will stop distributing and updating Flash Player (in the past it was only used on the Mac) at the end of 2020. Apple users have been without the need for Flash for some time.Today, if users install Flash, it remains off by default. Safari requires explicit approval on each website before running the Flash plugin.
 Top 5 things you need to know about switching carriers:  If you’re ready to move on to a new iPhone carrier, this site will address five things you need to know: 
•• By the way, if you use AT&T, but have problems getting a strong signal, let me know. If you qualify, AT&T will give you a $200 device to boost your signal to 5 bars (I have been using one for over 2 years and it works great).
• Take your iPhone photography to the next level with five great lenses that don’t break the bank! iPhoneography” is so popular now it seems like every day new gadgets and accessories get announced, each promising to take your shots to the next level. But which ones give you the biggest Instagram or Snapchat bang for your buck? To check these lenses out, go to
• iPod changes: Apple announced removing the iPod nano and shuffle from sale, but the iPod touch device remains very much for sale. Here are some changes to pricing for the iPod touch: Apple has removed the 16GB and 64GB models of the iPod touch, leaving on the 32GB and 128GB models for sale. However, both models have also seen a price drop, with the 32GB model dropping $50 to $199, while the 128GB version drops from $399 to $299.
Thanks, everyone for your continued support; be sure to tell your neighbors about TMUG! Remember, if you have any questions or need some in-home technical support, drop me a line and I’ll try to help out.
Also, I still have people looking to buy used Macs, iPads, and iPhones. If you have any used equipment (or most anything in fact) that you are ready to get rid of, let me know and I can most likely sell them for you and get some “coffee money” back into your pockets! Many old Apple devices resale for over $100, so don’t let them just sit in your desk drawers. If you need to know more, let me know at

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #18: “The New Device: The Secret History of the iPhone” (7/29/17)

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #18: I just finished reading a book that I am sure some of our faithful TMUG members may enjoy, The New Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, by Brian Merchant (released 2017). But then again, many of you will think that this surly must be too technical for my taste, and its true that there may be some segments that you would want to skip over, but I’d say that easily 90% of this story is very readable for anyone with a curious mind, especially on a subject about a revolution product that most of you have in your pocket or purse.

The author has done his best to make this engaging account so very readable and captivating that you may find yourself stopping to say to anyone who will listen, “did you know blah, blah, blah about this or that? whether it is how lithium is mined through the evaporation of water, or what its like to work 12 hours a day in as assembly plant in China, or even what makes Siri tick so that she can answer most any of your questions even if she avoids the subject about anyone making a marriage proposal.

The following is the personal review of the book that I just posted on the GoodReads web site (; you might find it interesting enough to want to check the book out at the King County Library or get a copy on Amazon:
Fascinating book! This book starts with the embryonic development of the iPhone telling the story right on up to 2017, warts and all. Whether you are an Apple (or iPhone) aficionado, an IT specialist, or just someone with a curious mind, this is truly an interesting and educational book that covers everything that not only goes into the making of an iPhone (rare minerals, batteries, scratch proof glass, etc.), but also about the people and teams behind this totally in-house secret project that did not even begin as a phone project at all. You learn not only about what goes on at Foxconn where the phones are assembled, but what’s behind the development of Siri, image-stabilized cameras, sensing motion and the struggle to get Steve Jobs on board to give the project the green light. 

Brian Merchant, the author of “The One Device,” has researched this blockbuster product not only from its conception, but also the technology that led up to the perfect storm that made it possible in 2007… it is very doubtful that anything like this could have come to pass even just a few years before. Brian traveled around the world form Africa, South America, as well as China, and even to spots in Europe where much of the earliest technology that became the basis for the birth of the technology that made it all come together has not been given its due credit. Steve Jobs did not invent the iPhone or even the touch screen, but over a course of time he became the leader at the helm who listened, encouraged, shouted, cursed, and finally blessed (with some restrictions) the first iPhone even when it was not really ready for its debut.

If you want a good read that is not overly technical, you will enjoy reading the secret history of the iPhone and will finished the last page with a “wow, they did it!” There have since been many who have developed their own version of what is referred to as the smart phone, but there is still so much that is totally unique and totally Apple that keeps the iPhone as a marvel of technology not only in its design, but in the fact that it has really become a computer unlike anything that was even considered possible the day the first iPhone slipped into the pockets of millions and millions of believers around the world.
What’s next?
Speaking of did-you-know, did you know that those 500 foot tall cell towers that dot the landscape from coast to coast require maintenance by people whose job is now considered by the head of the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) as the “most dangerous job in America”… more dangerous than that of a firefighter, or coal miner? And did you know that until the first iPhone had been out for awhile that Steve Jobs did not want any apps on the iPhone that were not developed by Apple such as Safari, Mail, and Photos, or by Google (Google Maps before Apple had its own Maps app). It was the outcry of hackers (not all hackers are the bad guys) who kept shouting back at Apple that they wanted to make their own apps for the iPhone until they were heard… “in fact, hackers helped push the phone toward adopting its most successful feature, the App Store.” (Apple reported in January 2017 that $20,000,000,000 … that 20 billion dollars, was paid by Apple to developers in 2016 for their apps sold that year in the App Store (Apple pays developers 70% or more of their App Store sales). 

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #17: How to use Reader View in Safari on iPhone and iPad (7/23/17)

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #17: How to use Reader View in Safari on iPhone and iPad
If you like to get most of your news on the web, then you’ve likely struggled with reading things on your iPhone or iPad, since ads and menus can clutter up the page. Reader View in Safari on your iOS devices allows you to view web pages without all that clutter and you can even change the font, font size, and page color to better suit your reading habits and vision.
PS: I am still available to answer your questions regarding your Mac or any of your other Apple devices such as iPhone and iPad, so if you can’t find an answer anywhere else, maybe I can help. I am also still available to make house calls for training or technical support. Also, pass the word around that TMUG is still alive via Tips & Tricks; the only thing that has changed is that we no longer meet at the Cascade Club as we did for 12 years.
HINT:  Try this as a first step in trying to find an answer to any or your Apple related questions, or most any question for that matter: Open Safari and Google your question starting with the phrase “how do I ….?”, such as “how do i connect my wireless printer?” Googling how-do-I searches can often be a quick means for finding answers to those questions that have been bugging you. Of course you can phrase your questions in other ways such as “what is…?,” “where is…?,” or “who is…?.”

Here’s how to use Reader View in Safari on iPhone and iPad.

  • How to enable Reader View
  • How to change the font and font size in Reader View
  • How to change the page color in Reader View

How to enable Reader View

When you’re on a website that supports Reader View on your iPhone or iPad, the address bar at the top of the screen will say “Reader View Available” when you arrive at the site. If it’s not there, then it can’t be used.

  1. Launch Safari from your Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the website you’d like to read.
  3. Tap the Reader button on the left of the address bar. It looks like a series of stacked lines.

    Reader View is now enabled. You’ll notice that much of the color and animations will be removed and you’ll see a simple screen of text.

To disable Reader View, just tap the Reader button again.

How to change the font and font size in Reader View

  1. Launch Safari from your Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the website you’d like to read.
  3. Tap the Reader button on the left of the address bar. It looks like a series of stacked lines.
  4. Tap the A’s on the right of the address bar.

  5. Tap either of the A’s that appear in the menu to change the font to one of two sizes.
  6. Tap one of the eight font choices.

How to change the page color in Reader View

If you reader better when text is light and the page is dark, you can change things to your liking.

  1. Launch Safari from your Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the website you’d like to read.
  3. Tap the Reader button on the left of the address bar. It looks like a series of stacked lines.
  4. Tap the A’s on the right of the address bar.
  5. Tap one of the four page color choices: white, beige, gray, or black.

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #16: iCloud Photo Library vs. My Photo Stream: What’s the difference? (7/13/17)

The following article helps clear the fog out of the question: What is the difference between iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream? Both apps include great features for saving and accessing your photos on your Apple devices, but, as you will see, each has its purpose. 

Also, at the end of the article is a link to another useful guide to help you get the most out of using your iCloud Photo Library. As with many of the articles I have been passing along to you in these Tips & Tricks, I suggest that you copy and save the articles in the Notes app found on either your Mac or on your iOS devices (save them in Notes on any device and access them on all of your devices). If you don’t see Notes in the Dock on your Mac, open Finder and then Applications and then drag the app to your Dock for easy reference; the Notes app looks like this

The Notes app also looks just about the same on your iPhone or iPad.

iCloud Photo Library vs. My Photo Stream: What’s the difference?

iCloud Photo Library lets you access your photos across all your devices, and so does My Photo Stream, so why use one or the other?

Apple’s iCloud Photo Library makes it possible for you to store all of your photos and videos in iCloud. Once uploaded, you can view them on all of your iCloud-connected devices, as well as via

My Photo Stream automatically uploads new photos and sends them to all of your iCloud-connected devices. It stores the most recent 30 days’ worth of photos (up to 1,000 photos). So what’s the difference between them and why would you want to use one over the other? We’ve got the answers to your questions right here.

What’s the difference between iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream?

The short and most important answer is that My Photo Stream doesn’t count against your iCloud storage, but it also doesn’t let you access all of your photos across your devices. So the trade off is up to you and your needs.

  • Do you have a lot of photos that you want to access across your devices at any time? – You should use iCloud Photo Library to store and access your photos and videos. My Photo Stream only gives you access to your most recent 1,000 photos (or the past 30 days) across your devices.
  • Do you have the lowest tier iCloud storage? – If you’re still using up less than 5GB of iCloud storage and don’t ever want to pay even $0.99 per month for more, you should stick with My Photo Stream. It doesn’t count against your iCloud storage capacity. Photos tend to take up a lot of space, and you can easily max out your 5GB of free storage space if you switch to iCloud Photo Library. In fact, you’ll probably get a notification as soon as you try to switch asking you to upgrade your storage plan.
  • Do you want to sync your videos across all devices? – You definitely need iCloud Library, then. My Photo Stream doesn’t support video at all.
  • Do you use another photo storage app that works just fine? – If you’ve already got your cloud-based storage needs taken care of, then you probably don’t want to fill up your iCloud storage with another version of the same photos. If you keep your pics and videos in Dropbox or Google Photos, or some other storage app, you could stick with My Photo Stream and only use it on occasion for pics you’ve recently taken.
  • Do you want to access your photos from anywhere you have a web browser? – iCloud Photo Library is the only Apple Photos service that lets you view your entire photo library from anywhere you have internet access and a web browser through

Basically, My Photo Stream is for people that either don’t take a lot of photos, don’t need to access them across all of their devices on a regular basis, or use another cloud storage service to keep and access their photos. It is also for people that refuse to upgrade from the free 5GB iCloud storage tier but have more than 5GB of photos.

iCloud Photo Library is for people that do take a lot of photos and want to be able to view all of their pictures across their devices (including very old ones) and want to stick with the Apple ecosystem. It’s for people that are willing to spend at least a dollar every month to have that access. It’s for people that also take at least some videos that they want to be able to access on all of their devices. Lastly, it’s for people that want to view their photos from any device with a web browser (because

You can find out more about iCloud storage plans and which one is right for you.

What happens to My Photo Stream when you enable iCloud Photo Library?

If you’ve decided to finally make the switch from My Photo Stream to iCloud Photo Library to share your content across devices, you should know a couple of things before you get started.

After you switch over to iCloud Photo Library, you’ll notice that the My Photo Stream album no longer appears on your device. Don’t worry. Those photos haven’t disappeared. They’ve just been folded into your “All Photos” section. That’s because iCloud Photo Library stores, well … all your photos. If any of your devices don’t have iCloud Photo Library switched on, you will still see the My Photo Library album, but once iCloud Photo Library is enabled, that album disappears.

Note: New photos from iPhone or iPad that don’t have iCloud Photo Library enabled will not upload to it unless you have iCloud Photo Library enabled on the Photos App on your Mac, in which case all photos will upload to iCloud via your Mac. So if you enable iCloud Photo Library for one device, you should probably enable it for all of the devices you’ve connected your iCloud Apple ID to.

How do I access my pictures on Mac and PC with iCloud Photo Library?

Your pictures are more accessible than ever once you switch to iCloud Photo Library to store them. You can find them in the Photos app on Mac. If you’re on a PC, you can download and install the iCloud app and find them there. And if you’re on anyone’s computer or phone (or tablet), you can navigate to and sign in to view all of your photos from any web browser.

iCloud Photo Library: The Ultimate Guide

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #15: How to quickly charge your iPhone (7/10/17)

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #15: How to quickly charge your iPhone
Here are some good hints for charging your iPhone more quickly; the slowest method is just to plug it into your computer. Of course, if you are still using an older iPhone such as an iPhone 5 or older, those iPhones charge more slowly than newer models. If you are considering upgrading to a newer iPhone, the current model iPhone 7 or 7S  is a great phone. We expect that the next iPhone, iPhone 8 (or whatever it is called) may include models that are more expensive than the current models. The iPhone 8 models should be available later this fall with lots of upgraded features. If you need help as to which model to buy or want to sell your old iPhone, let me know and I’ll try to give you some good advice.

How do I charge my iPhone faster?

The iPhone’s battery life is pretty decent, especially in the iPhone 7, but to get to 100% can often take just a bit too long. Fast charging isn’t available for any iPhone model yet, but there are some things you can do to speed up the charging process.

The science behind charging your devices

How exactly does charging work on your iPad? Let’s break it down.

  • Watt (W): Total power and capacity of either a battery or an adapter.
  • Amps (A): The current at which power can flow between a charger and a battery.
  • Voltage (V): The amount of power being pushed from an adapter.

When you charge an iPhone, iPad, or computer, you’re resupplying its battery (measured in watt-hours) from a power source like a wall outlet, usually via an adapter. That adapter controls how much power you can get (volts) from that outlet, and the speed at which you get it (amps). Those two factors multiplied result in the adapter’s total available power.

So how can you tell which adapter is best for your device? It’s not about total watts — it’s all about the amps and voltage. Modern iPhones and iPads support charging up to a current of 2.4A at 5V, while older devices charge around 1A at 5V. To get the best adapter for your device, you want one that charges at the appropriate amps (1-2.4A) while supplying the right amount of voltage.

Can I short-circuit my device with the wrong adapter? In short, no. Modern devices are built to only accept specific amp levels, so even if you plug your iPad into something like Apple’s USB-C MacBook Pro adapter, you’ll only get the bare minimum the adapter supports (which, in this case, is the 12V/2.4A charging spec).

What do you need to charge your iPhone more quickly?

Charge your iPhone with an iPad adapter for faster charging!

Apple 12W iPad adapter

The adapter that comes with your iPhone is a 5W adapter, which charges your iPhone with 5V at 1A. The iPhone 6 and later can actually accept up to 2.1A. The 12W iPad adapter charges with 5V at up to 2.4A, so it effectively doubles the current of the standard iPhone charging adapter.

This is the best option for more speedily charging your iPhone.

See at Apple (if you don’t have an iPad adapter, you can purchase one from Apple for $19).

Best tips to charge your iPhone more quickly

If you don’t want to shell out for an adapter or the 12W adapter still isn’t enough for you, try these.

Put it to sleep

This may seem pretty obvious, but an iPhone in use with ultimately charge more slowly than an iPhone that’s asleep. If you’re trying to charge quickly, you best bet it to turn off the screen, lay your iPhone down, and forget about it for a bit. This way the battery isn’t keeping the screen on while it’s also trying to juice up.

Turn on Airplane Mode

Disabling connections to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular data is a great way to charge your iPhone a little more quickly. Letting the radios go to sleep is a great way to take some strain off your battery.

Turn it off

Background apps, radio antennae, the works. If you turn your iPhone off, it all goes to sleep and then some. This’ll help your iPhone charge much more quickly than when in use or still receiving text after text. Don’t need it for a bit? Just turn it off.

If you have to use it, take it easy

If you really have to use your iPhone while you charge it, then turning off unnecessary connections, closing unnecessary apps, or even switching to power saving mode will all help it charge more quickly than if you were using it at full tilt. Also try turning down the screen brightness and disabling Background App Refresh and Location Services. Every little bit helps.

Don’t use your computer

It’s pointless to try and charge anything with a computer, since USB ports only output 0.5A. If you’re using your iPhone, you might even be using up the battery faster than it can stay charged.

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #14: The iPad Is About to Get More Useful With iOS 11 (7/6/17)

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #14: iOS 11 is not expected to be released until sometime this fall. The following article from the Wall Street Journal is a review as to how iOS 11 will bring some new and powerful computer-like features to the iPad. The author has been using an advance edition of iOS 11 referred to as a beta copy; as with any beta copy of software, often there will be changes made before it is finally released to the public, but at least this will give you an idea as to what to expect. The full featured iOS 11 is expected to work on any iPhone or iPad purchased since 2013.

The iPad Is About to Get More Useful

With Apple’s big iOS 11 software update, what will an iPad be good for—and when are you still better off with a laptop?

Five Ways iOS 11 Makes iPads Actually Useful

iPads are becoming a lot more capable—and confusing—with iOS 11. WSJ Personal Tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler shows how to make the newest iPad get down to business. 

What my iPad could use is a good mouse.

I’m only half joking. With a big iOS software update now in public beta test, the iPad is at long last capable of doing serious work. In iOS 11, you’ll be able to run multiple windows, drag and drop from one app to another, and browse your files in one place. You can do things that used to require a laptop.

You can also expect to get confused. Like a guy taking his first yoga class, my fingers twisted and wobbled into this new way to work. Over a week, my arm got tired of reaching over to the screen of my 10.5-inch iPad Pro to use all the new finger-operated tricks. More than once, I gazed longingly over at my Magic Mouse.

Ever since Steve Jobs said the iPad would usher in the “post-PC era,” the question that has dogged the iPad is: Can it replace a laptop? Today, as iPads outsell Macs in units, I think the better questions are: What is an iPad good for? And when are you still better off using a laptop?

The question many laptop shoppers ponder is, Can an iPad replace a laptop? Shown, an iPad with keyboard running iOS 11, left, and a MacBook Air, right.

The question many laptop shoppers ponder is, Can an iPad replace a laptop? Shown, an iPad with keyboard running iOS 11, left, and a MacBook Air, right. 

Apple causes confusion by blending some, but not all, laptop and tablet capabilities. You operate a Mac with a horizontal keyboard, a mouse and a trackpad—but never fingers on the upright screen. The iPad now comes with a $160 keyboard that makes the touch screen sit up like a laptop—but there’s no horizontal mouse or trackpad to save your hands from constantly reaching up. Microsoft ’s rival Surface Pro machines have their own compromises but do it all, with touch screens and trackpads, plus software that can run tablet and laptop apps alike.

The iPad’s slim hardware has some clear advantages for people on the move. It’s always on, no waiting around for boot-up. The battery generally outlasts ultraportable laptops, and now its processors can even handle complicated tasks like photo editing. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which starts at $650, gets closer to an ideal balance of portability and screen real estate, and leaves space for a less-cramped keyboard.

What’s really held back the iPad is its software, which has worked mostly like a stretched-out iPhone. iOS 11, coming this fall to most iPhones and iPads purchased in 2013 or later, strikes its own path for the iPad. It finally allows Apple and app makers to explore the productivity potential of the iPad’s big touch screen.

Some new iPad gestures in iOS 11 become less annoying when the iPad is laying flat or held in your hands, instead of connected to the keyboard. And Apple can still change iOS 11 a bit based on feedback from users of the beta version. Here’s a tour of the iPad’s new skills—and where it still struggles to work fast.

Dock apps

The Dock is where you keep your most important apps on a Mac, and now there’s one on the iPad. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to pull it up and over whatever app you’ve got open. You can keep adding apps—I squeezed in 16!

The Dock, the place to keep your most important apps, is now available on the iPad, with iOS11. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen. 

What’s useful is that you no longer have to keep going back to the home screen to open apps. But when you’re using the iPad with a keyboard, it still involves a lot of reaching up to the screen. Your best bet is to learn a keyboard shortcut: Cmd+opt+d.

You have to learn just the right amount of finger flick to pull the Dock up. Keep pushing too far and up pops a new screen, called the App Switcher. It blends together a redesigned Control Center, where you turn on airplane mode and do other common tasks, with a zoomed-out view of open apps.


The iPad now gets closer to dashboard experience of laptops, with the ability to make multiple apps fully functional at the same time—if you can figure out how.

The most basic way to multitask is Split View: Launch one app, then pick another out of the dock and move its icon toward the edge of the screen. You have to hit just the right spot—not far enough, and it won’t stick. This mode requires participation by app makers, which is limited today.

Split View is the most basic way to multitask using an iPad with iOS 11. Launch one app, then choose another and move the icon to the edge of the screen. 

Another option, called Slide Over, lets one app hover over another. Launch an app, then pick another out of the dock, dropping it not quite so close to the edge. This took practice, and I never found a convenient way to make the floating app go away.

There isn’t a way to turn an incoming notification—say, an email from your boss—into a Slide Over app. And with the exception of Safari windows, you can’t run two of the same app side by side. Little stuff like that means more finger yoga to accomplish tasks that take only a slight hand movement on a Mac.

Want to run more than two apps? Well aren’t you productive. On newer iPads, you can run both a Split View and Slide Over at the same time.

And a caveat: On my 2014-era iPad Air 2 running the beta software, it took an eternity for the two apps to load. Fingers crossed it speeds up by the time iOS 11 is in its final version.

Drag and drop

This may be the most useful iPad skill yet: Now you can move things from one app to the next. Say you want to email a photo: Tap the image you want to send, then drag it over to your email app and drop it in a new message. It also works with text and files.

Drag and drop several photos by tapping the one you want, then tapping others to make a stack, which you drop as one item. 

You can drag multiple things at once: Tap one photo, then use a different finger to tap on another, and they make a stack that you can drop as one.

Is this easier than holding command and selecting multiple things with a mouse or trackpad? No. But it is a clever use for the iPad’s multi-touch screen.

Browse your files

On a laptop, you know where all your stuff is. But it was a big mystery on the iPad until now. iOS 11’s Files app shows you what you’ve got stored locally, as well as in the cloud.

Combined with drag and drop, this lets you organize your stuff into nested folders and even tag it. A downside: it doesn’t include the stuff that lives in your Photos and Music apps. Everything you see in Files is included in search.

Apple says even third-party services like Dropbox will be coming to this app. So your iPad could actually become the easiest way to search, tag and browse files if you’ve got them spread all over the place.

More powerful apps

Apple has given its apps a boost, and the best example is Notes. Now if you tap the lock screen with an iPad Pro pencil, up pops the Notes app for taking your big ideas and doodles. It’ll even recognize your handwriting so you can search for them with text later.

With the Notes app, you scan receipts and other paper documents directly to your iPad—eliminating one annoying step when you file expenses. 

Another trick: tap an icon in the lower right corner to take photos of paper documents. 

Notes will act like a scanner app and fix lighting and stretch them out to look great.

Is this easier than taking a photo on your phone and sending it to your computer? Actually, yes! And that’s still where the iPad shines most: doing things you just can’t on a laptop.

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #13: MacBook vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro (7/2/17):

TMUG – Tips & Tricks #13: If you have been thinking about getting a new Apple laptop, the following article gives a good rundown as to which MacBook models are available and may help in your making a choice. If you are not sure which one is right for you, I suggest that you stop by the Apple store at Bellevue Square or University Village where you can compare them all. You can also order online at; the price is the same wherever you make your purchase.
MacBook vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Which Apple laptop should you get?

Should you get the MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro? Here’s how to decide!

Apple currently has three laptops in their product lineup — the ultralight MacBook, the previous, but now cheaper ultralight MacBook Air, and the powerful and brand-new MacBook Pro. Together, they cover a wide range of portability, performance, and yes, price points. So, which Apple laptop is perfect for you?

Apple laptop lineup

Apple’s MacBook line comprises three product categories: the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. The systems are differentiated by their size, weight, and relative performance, as well as their price.

Note: Apple has also chosen to keep the previous-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro (with the full complement of ports, from USB 3 to HDMI to an SD card slot) on the market, which I’ll refer to as MacBook Pro 2015, while calling the current generation MacBook Pro 2017. The older 13-inch MacBook Pro is no longer on sale, but you can still find some in Apple’s Refurbished Mac store.

Still, it’s useful to look at the current baselines.


The display is your window into apps and the internet. The bigger the display, the more you have to carry, but the more you can see.

MacBook is currently offered in one size, 12 inches diagonal. That houses a 2304×1440 16:10 aspect ratio display at 226 pixels-per-inch (ppi). That’s what Apple terms a “Retina” display, meaning that at normal viewing distance, you can’t really see the pixels anymore, and it appears like you’re looking at a photo or out a window.

MacBook Air now only comes in 13 inches (the 11-inch model was discontinued in 2016). The 13-inch model has a 1440×900 16:10 display at 128 ppi. That’s standard definition, not a high-definition Retina display like the MacBook and MacBook Pro. That means, from a normal viewing distance, you can still see the individual pixels on the screen, almost like you’re looking through a screen door.

MacBook Pro comes in two sizes: The 13-inch model has a 2560×1600 16:10 display at 227 ppi, and the 15-inch model has a 2880×1800 16:10 display at 220 ppi. They’re Retina, like the MacBook, so at normal viewing distance you shouldn’t see any obvious pixels.

The current 2017 MacBook Pro (as well as the 2016 models) also supports DCI-P3 wide color gamut and other advanced technologies that provide brighter reds, deeper greens, and blacker blacks. It’s like HDR for your display.

  • If you want a Retina display, you want the MacBook or MacBook Pro.
  • If you want a DCI-P3 wide gamut display, you want a new MacBook Pro, from 2016 or later.
  • If you want the smallest possible display, you want the 12-inch MacBook.
  • If you want the largest possible display, you want the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

External displays

Macs can also drive external displays — extra monitors you buy and connect. This is useful if you want a laptop on the go but more of a desktop-like setup when you’re home or at the office.

MacBook can connect to USB-C displays or HDMI (with an adapter) up to 4096×2304 at 60Hz. This is a decent upgrade over last year’s model, which didn’t support external 4K displays.

MacBook Air can connect to a single 3840×2160 display at 60Hz over Thunderbolt.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2015 that Apple still sells can support up to two 3840×2160 external displays over Thunderbolt 2. It can also drive one 3840×2160 display over Thunderbolt and a second 1920×1080 display at up to 60Hz, 3840×2160 at 30Hz, or 4096×2160 at 24Hz.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2017 supports one 5120×2880 (5K) display along with the built-in display. If you prefer having two external displays, it supports up to two 4096×2304 (4K) displays at 60Hz with millions of colors — or two 3840×2160 displays at 60Hz with billions of colors.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2017 can drive up to two 5120×2880 (5K) displays, plus the built-in one of course. And since it sports four Thunderbolt 3 ports, you can get crazy and connect up to four external displays: 4096×2304 (4K) at 60Hz and millions of colors, or 3840×2160 at 60Hz and billions of colors.

  • If you want to drive multiple external displays, you want a MacBook Pro.
  • If you want to drive multiple 5K external displays, you want a 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Web cam

Apple’s laptops have built-in web cameras called FaceTime, after Apple’s app of the same name. They let you take selfies, engage in video calls, and even scan codes.

MacBook has a 480p iSight camera. It’s… not great.

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro have 720p cameras.

None of them have 1080p cameras.


The central processing unit (CPU) is what drives the computer. The smaller and more power-efficient the processor, the less it can do but the quieter it is and the longer it can do it for. With a bigger and more powerful processor, the fan noise kicks in, but so does the pure speed. You can also have more processor cores, which lets you do more things at once.

MacBook uses Intel’s low-power Y series of Kaby Lake processors, which let it run completely fanless and always whisper-quiet. The entry-level model sports a 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m3, while the stepped-up models have a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5. You can configure a MacBook with up to a 1.4 dual-core Intel Core i7, but keep in mind these Y-series of chips aren’t as powerful as the dual-core Core i5 and Core i7 chips available for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, or the quad-core Core i7 chips in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. All the MacBook processors have 4MB L3 cache.

MacBook Air uses Intel Core processors of the Broadwell generation, currently two generations behind. They start with 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache, or you can step up to a 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2015 had Broadwell processors. It starts with a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with 6MB shared L3 cache but goes up to 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 6MB shared L3 cache.

The brand-new 2017 MacBook Pro sports Intel’s newest Kaby Lake processors. The 13-inch model without the Touch Bar sports a 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, or a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, each with 64MB of eDRAM. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is even faster, with a 3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, a 3.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, or a 3.5GHz Intel Core i7. They all have 64MB of eDRAM too.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro has quad-core Intel Core i7 processors. The 2.8GHz version has 6MB of shared L3 cache, while the 2.9GHz and 3.1GHz options have 8MB of L3 cache.

  • If you want a MacBook with good performance, step up to the i5 or i7.
  • If you want high performance, you want a MacBook Pro.
  • If you want maximum performance for things like video editing, you want a quad-core 15-inch MacBook Pro 2017.


The graphics processing unit (GPU) handles rendering and pushing the pixels. That includes everything from the macOS interface to photo and video editors to video games. The more powerful the GPU, the more pixels it can render and push, and the smoother and better the animations, apps, and 3D you’ll get.

MacBook has Intel HD Graphics 615. It’s enough to drive the built-in Retina display and a single 4K external display, but it’s integrated graphics, so intensity isn’t its thing.

MacBook Air has Intel HD Graphics 6000. Again, it’s enough to drive the built-in standard resolution display and a single external display (not 4K, unfortunately), but it’s integrated and that always has limits.

MacBook Pro 2015 has Intel Iris Pro Graphics. As built-in graphics go, it’s better than previous generations, but it’s still built-in. Apple no longer allows you to upgrade the graphics in this model, either.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro has Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 in the version without Touch Bar, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 in the version with Touch Bar. The 15-inch version has both Intel HD Graphics 630 for low power and discreet graphics for high performance, and automatically switches between the two. There are options for Radeon Pro 555 with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, and Radeon Pro 560 with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory.

  • If you want a lot of graphical power, you want a new MacBook Pro.
  • If you want the biggest graphics boost you can get, you want the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Radeon Pro 560.

Battery Life

These days, the one thing more important than power is power efficiency. It doesn’t matter how fast your laptop is if it runs out of juice. So, both Intel on the chipset side and Apple on the macOS side have been working on making everything last longer.

With a 41.4 watt-hour battery, MacBook is rated for up to 10 hours of web browsing, 12 hours of iTunes movie playback, and 30 days of standby.

The 13-inch MacBook Air’s 54 watt-hour battery is rated for up 12 hours of web browsing, 12 hours of iTunes movie playback, and 30 days on standby.

The older 15-inch MacBook Pro 2015 is rated for up to 9 of web browsing and iTunes movie playback, and 30 days on standby.

All versions of the MacBook Pro 2017 are rated for 10-hours of web browsing or iTunes movie playback and 30 days on standby. The 13-inch model without the Touch Bar sports a 54.5 watt-hour battery, while the Touch Bar model’s battery is 49.2 watt-hours. The 15-inch models have a 76 watt-hour battery.

(Keep in mind that iTunes movie playback is hardware accelerated, so playing YouTube videos in Chrome will consume way more power, for example.)

  • If you want the longest battery life possible, and don’t miss having a Retina display, get the 13-inch MacBook Air.


The amount of random access memory (RAM) in your Mac determines how many apps you can keep live at a time, how big your photo or video editing projects can be without having to swap data out back and forth on the drive, and otherwise keeps everything super fast.

MacBook comes standard with 8 GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 RAM, and you can upgrade that to 16 GB at purchase time.

The older Macs don’t let you choose how much RAM to get. The 13-inch MacBook Air only comes with 8 GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2015 only comes with 16 GB of 1600MHz DDR3L memory.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2017 (with or without Touch Bar) starts with 8 GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory and can go to 16 GB. The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2017 only comes with 16 GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory.

  • If RAM is important to you, you want the MacBook Pro.


Storage used to consist of big, noisy hard drive platters that spun around and didn’t take well to bumps or power problems. Now they’re solid state — flash chips with no moving parts. They don’t hold as much as old-style hard drives and are still more expensive, but they’re ultra-fast and far more resilient.

MacBook comes with 256 GB of PCIe storage but can be upgraded to 512 GB.

MacBook Air comes with 128 GB of PCIe storage but can be upgraded to 256 GB or 512 GB.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2015 comes with 256 GB of PCIe storage but can be upgraded to 512 GB or 1 TB.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2017 starts at 128 GB of PCIe storage on the model without the Touch Bar, and the Touch Bar model starts at 256 GB. You can upgrade any of those to 512 GB or 1 TB. The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2017 starts with 256 GB PCI Flash storage on the low-end model, 512 GB PCIe Flash storage on the high-end model, and both can go to 2 TB. Apple also upgraded the drives in its 2017 models to read and write faster, with up to 3.2 GB per second read speeds.

  • If you want the fastest storage possible, you want a 2017 MacBook Pro.
  • If you want the largest amount of storage possible, you want the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2017.


All of Apple’s current laptops come with built-in Bluetooth 4.2 for pairing to headphones and other accessories (the MacBook Pro 2015 and MacBook Air have Bluetooth 4.0) and 802.11ac Wi-Fi for connecting to wireless routers and, through them, the internet.

None of Apple’s current laptops include cellular radios, but you can easily tether them to your iPhone or iPad if you have one.


Wired connections like USB, Thunderbolt, and HDMI let you connect to high-performance accessories like external displays, drives, networks, and more.

MacBook has a single USB-C port that can connect to USB-C drives; standard USB, VGA, or HDMI with adapters; and to plug in and recharge with a USB or AC adapter. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The 13-inch MacBook Air has two USB 3 ports, one Thunderbolt 2 port, an SDXC card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Ethernet is available with an adapter. It charges via a MagSafe 2 port.

The MacBook Pro 2015 has the most ports: two USB 3, two Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, an SDXC card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Ethernet is available with an adapter.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar has two Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C), while both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar have four Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C). However, the two ports on the right side of the 13-inch model aren’t full speed.

  • If you want the most ports available on an Apple laptop, you want the 2015 MacBook Pro.
  • If you go with a newer laptop, USB-C hubs can help you connect peripherals to a MacBook Pro or MacBook

Force Touch trackpad

Apple now uses Force Touch technology for their trackpads. It uses a Taptic Engine to simulate the click feeling of a traditional trackpad, but over the entire surface, and without the actual mechanical switch. Some people don’t like the feeling, but it adds pressure sensitivity, is less prone to breaking down, and can be used in ways far beyond a regular trackpad.

MacBook and MacBook Pro have the Force Touch trackpad.

MacBook Air has the traditional trackpad.

  • If you want a standard trackpad, get the MacBook Air.
  • If you want the Force Touch trackpad, get the MacBook or MacBook Pro.


MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 2015 use Apple’s older scissor switch system that’s a bit looser but also has much better travel.

MacBook and MacBook Pro 2017 use a second generation dome and butterfly switch system to achieve a flatter keyboard and keep the laptop thin. It’s an improvement over the first butterfly-switch keyboard in the 2015 MacBook, but fundamentally a similarly stable typing experience.

  • If you love the original12-inch MacBook keyboard, you’ll love the improved version in the new MacBook and MacBook Pro.
  • If you hate the 12-inch MacBook keyboard, you might want to stick to a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro 2015.

Touch Bar and Touch ID

The higher-end 13-inch and every 15-inch MacBook Pro 2017 includes the Touch Bar. OLED with a matte finish that matches the feel of the keyboard keys, it can display Esc and function keys and system and media controls, just like the old function row. But it can also display curated, contextual shortcuts for whatever app you’re working in at the time. That includes volume sliders, content scrubbers, color selectors, and anything else a developer can dream up.

To the right of the Touch Bar is Touch ID. Once exclusive to iPhone and iPad, now you can have it on the Mac. It works off an Apple T1 chip, which is like a tiny, integrated iOS device embedded right in the MacBook Pro. It handles the secure enclave and secure presentation of Apple Pay information, but that fusion is hidden away.

All you see is the sensor. Place your registered finger on it and you’re authenticated! You can even use it for fast account switching, authorizing App Store purchases, and unlocking your 1Password vault.

  • If you want a traditional function key row, stick with the lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, the MacBook, the MacBook Air, or the MacBook Pro 2015.
  • If you want the new Touch Bar and Touch ID, you want a higher-end MacBook Pro 2017.


For a long time Apple only made laptops with silver, bead-blasted aluminum finishes. The bead-blasted aluminum part is still true, but recently Apple has started adding some colors to the Mac lineup.

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 2015 only come in silver aluminum.

MacBook comes in silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold.

MacBook Pro 2017 comes in silver or space gray.

  • If you really want a color other than silver or space gray, you want the MacBook.

Who should get the MacBook?

MacBook is ideal for executives, managers, and travelers who want the absolute lightest Mac, but one that still has all the latest technologies.

If you want the closest thing to an iPad in Mac clothing that’s incredibly light, ridiculously portable, with an incredible display, and you’re not turned off by the poor camera and lower performance, then you want the MacBook.

See at Apple

Who should get a MacBook Air?

MacBook Air is ideal for those who want a Mac laptop at the lowest possible price and something that’s still ultra-portable without sacrificing ports.

If you want an ultralight Mac that still has multiple USB ports and a Thunderbolt Port, and you’re not turned off by the standard resolution display and mechanical trackpad, then you want the MacBook Air.

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Who should get a MacBook Pro 2015?

The 2015 MacBook Pro still packs plenty of punch, at a lower price point, and with all the legacy ports you can throw a cable at. It’s for professionals who need the most power, memory, and storage possible, bigger screen options, and for whom weight and price aren’t issues.

If you want Retina but don’t care about wide gamut color, if the Touch Bar and Touch ID hold no appeal, and Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C are a future you can’t see yet amid USB Type A, HDMI, and Thunderbolt 2 accessories galore, save some cash and consider the 2015 MacBook Pro.

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Who should get the new MacBook Pro 2017?

The newly updated MacBook Pro is cutting edge but also cuts some things out. Gone are the legacy ports and in their place the fastest I/O possible, inside and out. It’s for those who want the bleeding edge and don’t care what it costs.

If you want a DCI-P3 wide gamut display and the best screen tech in the business, a larger Force Touch trackpad, a lighter and denser chassis, the fastest Kaby Lake chips, discreet graphics on all 15-inch models, and Touch Bar and Touch ID on the higher end 13-inch and all 15-inch versions, you want a new MacBook Pro.

See at Apple