• MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2024 PRESIDENT’S DAY
10:00 AM to NOON – Room C open for free The Mac U Video Training.
NOON to 2:00 PM – New Monday Afternoon Genius Bar. No need to make an appointment. Just walk into the Palm Ridge Rec Center Computer Lab Room C and have a one-on-one session with a “Genius” and get all the help you need.
When Volunteer Help is Available
• TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2024
• WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2024
10:00 AM – GENIUS BAR: No need to make an appointment. Just walk into the Palm Ridge Rec Center Computer Lab Room C and have a one-on-one session with someone there to help you. We will be there to help solve your Apple device and Apple app problems. Be sure to bring your list of IDs and passwords (you do write them down somewhere safe, don’t you?)
When Volunteer Help is Available
1:00PM – 3:00pm – Genealogy
• THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2024
10:00 AM to NOON – Laura will be in Computer Lab Room A to discuss genealogy and help you with the Ancestry app—which we have on one of the iMacs
NOON to 2:00 PM – Room C Open for free The Mac U Video Training.
News From Apple
Apple previously announced that macOS Sonoma will be released this Tuesday, September 26. The free software update includes many new features and changes for the Mac, including the five that we have highlighted below.
In addition to these five features, we have shared the full release notes for macOS Sonoma below for a complete overview of everything new.
macOS Sonoma brings widgets to the desktop on the Mac, and they are now fully interactive like on the iPhone. It is even possible to use widgets from your iPhone apps automatically, without having to install the corresponding Mac apps.
macOS Sonoma features a new Game Mode that temporarily prioritizes CPU and GPU performance for gaming on Apple silicon Macs. Game Mode also reduces audio latency for AirPods and input latency for select game controllers connected via Bluetooth.
On macOS Sonoma, any website can be added to the Dock as a web app for convenient access. To create a web app, load the website in Safari, open the File menu, and select Add to Dock. Web apps offer a simplified toolbar and support push notifications.
macOS Sonoma adds new Apple TV-like aerial screen savers that feature slow-motion videos of places around the world, such as Yosemite National Park and Dubai. Each screen saver can transition to a matching desktop wallpaper.
The latest version of Safari introduced support for profiles, allowing you to keep your browsing separate for work, personal life, and more. Apple says each profile has separate history, cookies, extensions, Tab Groups, and favorites.
macOS Sonoma is compatible with the following Macs:
macOS Sonoma brings all‑new capabilities that elevate your productivity and creativity. Discover even more ways to personalize your Mac with stunning screensavers and widgets that you can add to your desktop. Elevate your presence on video calls with a new way to present your work that keeps you a part of the presentation. Safari profiles and web apps help you organize your browsing in all-new ways. Game Mode boosts your gaming performance. Sonoma also brings big updates to Messages, Keyboard, and Accessibility. And when you upgrade, you get the latest security and privacy protections available for Mac.
– Stunning screen savers of locations from around the world seamlessly become your desktop wallpaper when you log-in
– Shuffle settings for rotating through screensavers by theme including Landscape, Cityscape, Underwater, and Earth
– Widgets can be placed anywhere on the desktop and adapt to the color of your wallpaper while working in apps
– iPhone widgets can be added to your Mac when your iPhone is nearby or on the same Wi-Fi network
– Interactive widgets let you take actions directly from the widget such as running a shortcut, pausing media, and more
– Presenter Overlay keeps you front and center while sharing your screen in FaceTime or third-party video conferencing apps (Mac with Apple silicon)
– Reactions layer 3D effects like hearts, balloons, confetti, and more around you in video calls and can be triggered with gestures (Mac with Apple silicon, Continuity Camera with iPhone 12 and later)
Safari and Passwords
– Profiles keep your browsing separate for topics like work and personal, separating your history, cookies, extensions, Tab Groups, and favorites
– Web apps let you use any website like an app, complete with an icon in the Dock for faster access and a simplified toolbar for easier browsing
– Enhanced Private Browsing locks your private browsing windows when you’re not using them, blocks known trackers from loading, and removes tracking that identifies you from URLs
– Password and passkey sharing allows you to easily share accounts with trusted contacts
– Live Stickers sync from iOS and iPadOS to macOS, giving you access to the Live Stickers you create on your iPhone and iPad
– Search filters for people, keywords, and content types like photos or links help you more easily find what you are looking for
– Swipe to reply inline on any iMessage bubble
– Game Mode gives games the highest priority on the CPU and GPU, delivering more consistent frame rates and lower latency to wireless controllers and AirPods (Mac with Apple silicon)
– Improved autocorrect accuracy makes typing even easier by leveraging a more powerful transformer-based language model
– Inline predictive text shows single- and multi-word predictions that you can add by pressing the Space bar
– Improved Dictation experience supports using your voice and keyboard together to enter and edit text
– Adaptive Audio delivers a new listening mode that dynamically blends Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency to tailor the noise control experience based on the conditions of your environment (AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with the latest firmware)
– Personalized Volume adjusts the volume of your media in response to your environment and listening preferences over time (AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with the latest firmware)
– Conversation Awareness lowers your media volume and enhances the voices of the people in front of the user, all while reducing background noise (AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with the latest firmware)
– Press to mute and unmute your microphone by pressing the AirPods stem or the Digital Crown on AirPods Max when on a call (AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd generation), or AirPods Max with the latest firmware)
– Improved AirPods automatic switching now detects Mac up to 2X faster (AirPods (2nd and 3rd generation), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd generation), AirPods Max with the latest firmware)
– Sensitive Content Warnings can be enabled to help prevent users from unexpectedly viewing sensitive images in Messages
– Expanded Communication Safety protections for children now detect videos containing nudity in addition to photos shared through Messages and the system Photos picker
– Improved sharing permissions let you choose which photos to share and add calendar events without providing access to your entire photo library or calendar
– Live Speech lets you type what you want to say and reads it aloud in FaceTime calls or in-person conversations
– Personal Voice helps users at risk of speech loss create a voice that sounds like them in a private and secure way using on-device machine learning
– Made for iPhone compatible hearing devices can be paired and used with Mac (MacBook Pro (2021), Mac Studio (2022), and Mac computers with M2 chip)
This release also includes other features and improvements:
– One-Time verification code AutoFill from Mail helps you quickly sign into sites in Safari, without leaving the browser
– Inline PDFs and document scans in Notes are presented full-width making them easy to view
– Grocery Lists in Reminders automatically group related items into sections as you add them
– Visual Look Up for recipes helps you find similar dishes from photo
– Visual Look Up in video helps you learn about objects that appear in paused video frames
– Pets in the People album in Photos surfaces individual pets just like friends or family members
– Option to say “Siri” in addition to “Hey Siri” for a more natural way to activate Siri (Mac with Apple silicon, AirPods Pro (2nd generation))
– High performance mode in Screen Sharing supports color workflows and improves responsiveness while remotely accessing a Mac (Mac with Apple silicon)
– Item sharing in Find My allows you to share an AirTag with up to five other people
– Activity History in Home displays a recent history of events for door locks, garage doors, security systems, and contact sensors
– Battery health management updated on 13-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip to better optimize long term battery health
Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices.
macOS Sonoma should be released at approximately 10 a.m. Pacific Time / 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday. Once the update is available, it can be installed from the System Settings app under General → Software Update.
There may not have been a media event this week, but that doesn’t mean things weren’t incredibly busy in the Apple world. The week kicked off with the official release of iOS 17 and related updates, and then there was a daily trickle of media reviews for all of the incoming new hardware.
It all culminated with Friday’s launch of the iPhone 15 lineup, Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models, and the tweaked AirPods Pro with USB-C case. There’s been lots to unpack with all of this, so read on for all the details!
Following over three months of beta testing, iOS 17 was released on Monday for the iPhone XS and newer. The free software update includes a wide range of new features and changes, so check out our iOS 17 mega guide for our comprehensive coverage of everything new.
After installing iOS 17 on your iPhone, check out our list of 12 things to do first in order to take full advantage of the update’s key new features and configure some of the new settings that are available.
We’ve also rounded up some popular iPhone and Apple Watch apps that have already been updated with support for interactive Home Screen widgets and some other new iOS 17 and watchOS 10 features.
The new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are here! Ahead of Friday’s launch, the first reviews of the devices were shared by select media outlets and YouTube channels. Make sure to check out our unboxing and early hands-on video, as well as our top five reasons why you might want to opt for the iPhone 15 Pro Max at the top of the lineup.
If you are just unboxing an iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, or iPhone 15 Pro Max, make sure to update the device to iOS 17.0.2 before transferring data to the device from another iPhone, or else you might encounter issues.
An update notice screen appears early in the setup process, but don’t skip this step or you might find your brand-new iPhone 15 stuck on the Apple logo screen and you’ll have to connect it to a computer to restore it.
Over the past week, we have been sharing a series of Buyer’s Guides to help customers with their purchasing decisions, including one for the iPhone 15 Pro vs. the iPhone 15 Pro Max that compares 10 major differences between the devices.
All of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models feature a new battery health setting that prevents the devices from charging beyond 80% at all times.
This new setting is separate from Apple’s pre-existing Optimized Battery Charging feature, which merely delays charging beyond 80% until a better time based on the device’s daily charging routine.
iPhone 15 models also show the battery’s cycle count in the Settings app.
iOS 17 adds several features to all second-generation AirPods Pro, including Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness, and Personalized Volume, and we’ve explained how to use all of them.
Keep in mind that these software features are also available on the original second-generation AirPods Pro released in September 2022, so there is no need to update to the new USB-C model to use them.
Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we’ve covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.
Apple has been in the computer business since the very beginning. Over the years there have been some absolute classics, going right back to the company’s first product, the Apple I, in 1976.
Yet it was with the Macintosh line that Apple’s computers really found their feet. They’ve been so successful that these days the best Macs are synonymous with quality, durability, and performance. But even with such a storied history, it’s possible to pick out a few key milestones along the way. These are the greatest hits, a list of the best Macs in history that helped propel Apple to new heights.
Remember the Super Bowl commercial for the Macintosh 128K? You know the one. Dubbed “1984” and directed by Ridley Scott, it features a young athlete smashing an on-screen Big Brother, freeing hordes of captive onlookers from captivity and conformity. That commercial was for Apple’s Macintosh 128K, and was meant to herald a new era of computing.
Small and lightweight, the Macintosh 128K was a true home computer, something that could find a place in anyone’s front room. It was affordable, too, lowering the barriers to entry for people who may have shied away from the computers of the past.
And it propagated a range of features that we take for granted today. It was the first computer to popularize the computer mouse, something that had been dreamed up a decade earlier but had never broken through into the mainstream. Its operating system standardized the easy-to-use graphical user interface, with windows and desktop metaphors that competitors sought to imitate. And it showed there was an alternative to IBM, whose products had a near-monopoly on the market.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was a total mess. A flailing product strategy, years of poor management, and underwhelming sales had combined to push Apple to the brink of bankruptcy. Yet just a year later, Apple would launch a computer that not only saved the company, but would also revolutionize the entire industry.
Everything that went into the iMac showed it was different to anything done before. It came in bursts of color, a radical departure from the beige boxes that dominated at the time. Its case was translucent so you could see the insides, helping to demystify how computers worked. And it had a carry handle, not because Apple expected you to move it often, but to help overcome the fear many people had of computers and encourage them to touch it.
It was all deliberate and geared toward making the computer approachable, friendly, even fun. That would never have worked if the software was a nightmare to use, but Apple succeeded here, too. Like the Macintosh 128K that came before it, the iMac was famously easy to use.
But it wasn’t just a plaything — it was fast, too, way more so than you would expect given its innocent demeanor. And, perhaps most importantly, it made it straightforward for people to connect to the internet. It was perhaps the first mega-hit computer of the internet era, paving the way for everything that followed, and was certainly one of Jony Ive’s greatest achievements.
If the iMac G3 helped Apple take the fear factor out of computing, its follow-up, the iMac G4, established the company as the king of cool. Ditching the bright colors for classy white and silver, the iMac G4 adopted the design language established by the iPod and used by Apple for years to come.
Its origin came thanks to a moment of inspiration. After the success of the iMac G3, Steve Jobs and Jony Ive were struggling to come up with a successor. During a stroll in Jobs’ garden, the epiphany came. Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve’s wife, had planted a profusion of sunflowers. Ive spotted them and excitedly began sketching: With a monitor attached to a moveable arm, the next iMac would seem to be so fluid it could reach for the sun, just like a sunflower.
Unlike the iMac G3 with its CRT display, the G4 introduced flat LCD panels to the Mac range, redefining how thin and light an Apple computer could be. Its LCD panel was a key selling point, but it also excelled when it came to ergonomics. The cantilevered monitor arm was not just pretty, it could be easily manipulated into a comfortable position for whoever was using it. And with all the components hidden in the base, it prompted stunned reactions of “where’s the computer?” from puzzled spectators.
Steve Jobs declared that the iMac G4 “has a beauty and grace that will last the next decade.” Sadly, it in fact lasted only two years before being discontinued. But its legacy has lived on as proof that Apple knew how to combine stunning design with excellent practicality and superb software.
When Apple relaunched the Mac Pro in 2019, it instantly drew comparisons to the 2006 Mac Pro thanks to its “cheese grater” front panel design. But aside from that unusual visage, what else made the first Mac Pro special? As it turns out, quite a lot.
A year earlier, Steve Jobs had promised that Apple would soon switch from PowerPC processors to Intel chips. This promised a huge uptick in performance, and nowhere was that clearer than with the Mac Pro. It was the first Mac to hit the 3.0GHz mark, something Jobs conceded was not possible on the old PowerPC architecture.
What’s more, Apple drove the point home by loading each Mac Pro with not one but two Intel Xeon processors. The chips were 64-bit, and increased the performance-per-watt of the machines. In fact, Apple claimed they offered double the performance of the previous Power Mac G5.
All that power was housed in a chassis that was as striking on the inside as it was on the outside. Once opened, there were no messy cables and fiddly screws. Everything was neatly compartmentalized, with drives simply slotting into place. It showed Apple understood that design was not just about how a thing looked, but how it worked — something Steve Jobs had been preaching since the days of the iMac G3.
While the 2006 Mac Pro was Apple’s most powerful computer in its early transition to Intel chips, it wasn’t the first. That honor goes to the 2006 MacBook Pro. And it was such a leap forward that it truly earned the “Pro” moniker.
Compared to the PowerBook G4 that came before it, the MacBook Pro offered up to four times the performance thanks to the Intel Core Duo, the first dual-core processor in a Mac. It did that while occupying a thinner, lighter aluminum chassis, and its display was two-thirds brighter than the PowerBook, starting a trend for brilliantly bright MacBook Pro screens that continues to this day.
It was also the first Mac to introduce the beloved MagSafe, which has made a welcome return in recent years. And at the top of the display was the first built-in iSight webcam, something that the PowerBook G4 totally lacked.
The transition to Intel processors resulted in a monumental jump in performance for Apple’s Macs, and one of the places this was most apparent was the first MacBook Pro. It was so significant that it prompted a name change that’s still with us all these years later.
We all know Steve Jobs was a master at the keynote presentation, but nowhere was that more apparent that at his iconic unveiling of the first-generation MacBook Air in 2008. After explaining just how thin and light the device was, Jobs then strolled over to a side table and pulled a MacBook Air out of a manilla envelope, to cheers and disbelief from the audience.
But this wasn’t just bluster. The MacBook Air was like nothing we’d ever seen before. Jobs explained Apple set out to do several things: Make a laptop that was thinner than the competition, yet was more powerful, had a better display, and a better keyboard. And boy, did the MacBook Air achieve that.
At its thickest point, the MacBook Air was thinner than the thinnest point on the world’s previous slimmest laptop — that’s how incredible Apple’s feat of engineering was. Unlike rival devices, it came with a larger 13-inch display and a full-size keyboard. And it had a full-power processor that destroyed the competition.
It was so unprecedented, it elicited stunned gasps from Jobs’ audience on several occasions. Its achievement was that it showed it was possible to build an ultra-thin laptop without the compromises other companies were forced to make.
The transition to Intel processors may have brought enormous gains in 2006, but nearly 15 years later Intel’s chips were becoming more of a hindrance than a help to Apple’s Macs. They ran too hot for Apple’s slimline aspirations, and didn’t run nearly fast enough either. Something had to change.
That something was a complete transition to Apple’s own chips, and it utterly revitalized the Mac lineup. No longer did Macs seems like overpriced underperformers — if anything, they were absolute bargains with the power and efficiency of Apple silicon. The M1 MacBook Air was a great example of this, and yet, it’s the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch that make the list here.
After all, no one had doubts Apple couldn’t replicate the capabilities of an ultra-thin laptop like the MacBook Air. But to replace the performance of a high-wattage CPU and discrete graphics? Now that was a challenge many of us were skeptical of.
And yet, Apple totally pulled it off. The redesigned chassis brought back beloved features like MagSafe and extra ports, while the performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max were doing things no one had seen before in a laptop of this class.
Yet what was even more amazing was that the MacBook Pro managed to do this while seriously increasing the battery life, something it continues to run circles around its competitors with. If nothing else, these MacBook Pros were proof that Apple’s move to its own silicon was going to pay off in the long run, and in many ways, it’s only just begun.
The easiest way to sign your documents is on your computer. All you have to do is download the right document, sign with your finger and then send the document via email or print it out. It’s a streamlined process, but if you’re a Mac owner, you may be signing your documents the wrong way.
You might be using third-party software like Adobe Acrobat Reader to sign your important documents like lease papers or taxes, but there’s another, easier way to do it. Using the Preview application, which comes built-in to MacOS, you can sign pretty much any document in seconds.
Now playing: How to sign a PDF on your Mac in a few easy steps
The first step is to input your signature on your Mac (more below). Then every time after that you’ll simply select the signature you saved, and your Mac will apply it to the document that needs to be signed. Easy peasy.
The first thing you’ll need to do is add your signature to your Mac, which you can do within Preview. To start:
Apple will sync your signature with your iCloud account, making it available in Preview on any Mac you’ve signed in to with your Apple ID.
You have three options to create a digital version of your signature:
Now that setup is done, your signature is in the system and you’ll see just how fast it is to sign documents in Preview.
With your document open in Preview, follow the same process we just outlined, except that after clicking on the signature button, click on your signature.
A small box that includes your signature will show up in the document, which you can then drag around and resize. After you’ve lined up your signature, you can save the document and then share it.
I timed how long it takes me to open a document and click the appropriate buttons to add a signature, and I was able to get it done in under a minute, and that includes adding the date by clicking on the add text button in Preview.
Now that you’ve mastered signing documents at record speed, make sure to check out even more hidden Mac tips and this hidden MacOS feature that lets you use your voice to quickly type on your Mac.
The iPad is a capable laptop replacement in many ways, and iPadOS multitasking features and Apple’s Magic Keyboard take that to the next level. iPadOS differs from iOS in several ways, and includes keyboard shortcuts and trackpad gestures that unlock functionality you can’t get on an iPhone.
First thing’s first: To get started with iPad keyboard shortcuts and gestures, you’ll need to set up a keyboard and trackpad with your iPad—either the official Magic Keyboard or a third-party option. If you want to see the available keyboard shortcuts for the app you’re currently using, press and hold the Command button and choose between the different categories that show up on screen.
Some of the common ones you might see are Cmd+C to copy, Cmd+V to paste, and Cmd+Z to undo the most recent action, for example. These match the same shortcuts on macOS on the desktop, and certainly make it easier to handle text editing—you can use Command+I for italics, Command+B for bold, and Command+U for underlined text too, which you’re probably familiar with in word processing apps.
In several apps, you can use Command+N to create a new file, Command+O to open an existing file, and Command+P to print the current file. Others are more specific, such as Command+R to reply to messages and Command+Shift+F to forward emails in the default Mail app that Apple develops. In Apple Calendar, hold down Command and tap a number from 1–4 to switch between the different views.