News & IdeasExpert advice and random Apple commentary
NEW MACBOOK PROS WITH M3 CHIP
New MacBook Pros were announced yesterday. Overall, it’s good news on the upgrade. The confusing part is the version of the new chip. The chip is called the M3 but there are three different versions: M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. Of course (as always) the better the name, the bigger the performance and the bigger the $$.
The base M3 14-inch dropped in price, which is nice. The drawback is that unless you get at least the Pro version of the MacBook, the most RAM you can get on the base model is 24GB. Some of the reason to opt for the MacBook Pro machine is to get plenty of RAM to go with the demands of the work being done, so the Pro version with 36GB RAM goes for $2599 which isn’t a real price drop when you compare Apples to Apples (pun intended). Bottom line, if you are thinking about the Pro and have questions, let me know. The M2 MacBook Air is still a fantastic option for the price, especially the 15-inch model. Apple did stop the 13-inch MacBook Pro which is nice to see as it was really a model that did not fit in.
NEW IMAC WITH M3 CHIP
Now for the “about time" news. There is also a new iMac out with the M3 chip. I’m a little disappointed that they are not able to go above the previous 24GB RAM and 2TB iMac but having said that, it is a new chip and the price is the same as before. So, if you’ve been waiting to buy a new iMac, now is the time to grab it. Unfortunately there is not a 27-inch iMac version but that was doubtful anyway since Apple released a stand alone 27-inch screen.
NEW SECURITY VIDEO ON THE MACSMITH WEBSITE
In other news, I wanted to mention that we added a new security videos section to our website. One of the most important ones to watch when you get a chance is called “Getting out of a scam website”. It goes over what to do if a website says your machine has been compromised. It’s a good idea to give it a quick view at your earliest convenience so you know the process.
Keep in mind that if a scam webpage shows up while you are browsing the internet, and the browser stops you from going to my site, you can always use another browser to view my video. (In other words, if you’re stopped from using Safari, open a window in Chrome and you can get to my website from there.) Browsers are independent of each other.
Apple's Photo Stream
Apple has been sending out an email about the end of their Photo Stream service, which is causing some concern. Let’s start with the basics…
What is Photo Stream?
Photo Stream started before iCloud Photos was around. Each Apple device could turn on Photo Stream, then pictures/videos for the prior 30 days (or 1000 photos/videos, whichever came first) would be sent to your Apple iCloud account without impacting your iCloud storage allotment. Any other device (iPhone, iPad, etc.) that had Photo Stream turned on would download that image/video to the device’s Photo Library. Once the other device downloaded the image/video it would be on each device separately; they would not sync so you would be safe to delete it on either device without it effecting the other. Prior to Photo Stream you had to plug in the device to the computer to transfer the pictures.
Now that Apple is stopping this service, what’s next?
You will not lose any pictures at all with Apple stopping this service, but you may have to change how you mange your photos. You can still sync your devices using Apple iCloud Photos. However, as mentioned above, this does put all of your photos on all of your devices, which you might not want. You also might not want to spend the $$ on extra storage from Apple.
Do I have any other options?
Yes. Instead of using Apple’s Photo Stream or iCloud Photos you could just plug in the device to your computer and transfer the pictures directly, the “old fashioned” way.
I am not sure whether Apple is sending this to everyone or just users who have the feature turned on.
As always, I am happy to help if needed :-).
New Operating Systems
Apple released a new OS for the Mac and also for the iPad, so here’s the scoop…
It’s a pretty big update on the Mac, especially in the System Preferences window. This has been renamed System Settings and has a new look. Apple is trying to make it appear similar to the iPhone and iPad. Also, in theory, there are improvements in the Mail program and Photos. I have been using it for a couple of months on a test machine and it runs pretty smoothly, although I don't use a lot of 3rd party apps on this machine so can’t speak to those.
Ideally I would say wait a bit on this update unless you are prepared to learn how to go at things a little differently. If you do use a special program or 3rd party app, feel free to ask me if I think it will work. If I can test it on my end, I will.
The iPad OS is not as big of a change. It’s similar to the iPhone OS that came out a couple of weeks ago. I have seen a few issues as far as battery life appearing a little shorter and devices seeming slower. I’m pretty confident that it’s safe to go ahead and upgrade your iPad if you feel ready, but if you can wait another week or two to find out about any other issues, that’s not a horrible idea either.
You may have seen that there was a big report last Friday regarding a security update from Apple. While security updates are nothing new, for some reason this one was reported in the media with a bit more hype. Apple does not give much information on what their updates are fixing, so as not to help people who are looking to exploit issues. However, this last security update was not as big of an issue as some others in the past that didn’t get the same level of public awareness.
Generally speaking security updates fix a weakness that could be exploited, and they typically apply to the current operating system. This one was for the current iOS (15) and included the iPad’s (iPadOS) current software. Operating systems for MacBooks and iMacs are not affected. Updates nearly always apply to one operating system, in this case iOS 15, so if you’re still using an older system it might not need the update patches since that software is different.
This brings me to a frequent question that I get from clients about passwords. Quite often when working with clients they opt not to have a computer remember a password (and thus they are choosing not to use “autofill” for the password field each time), thinking that’s the safest option. I agree that it stops someone from getting into your info if they can have your password filled in automatically. However some security issues in the past have involved possible key tracking, which means that whatever you type could be captured. If you do have password autofill then there would be no keystrokes to track.
Apple generally supports the MacOS software for about 3-4 years providing updates to fix these ongoing issues. After that lifespan they move on to the next OS and you start losing these little updates. Updates for one OS are more than likely not going to be the same for another. Device operating systems (iOS’s) for iPads and iPhones tend to have a shorter lifespan of 2-3 years.
In my talks with clients I usually suggest doing updates since they fix bugs within an OS. However I recommend holding off on doing upgrades since they tend to make more major changes that can also affect the other software on your machine. Best to hold off a bit on upgrades until you determine whether your software will still function in the same way (or at all).