Difficulty Switching Apps on the iPhone X? Try This.

Since the iPhone X lacks a Home button to press twice for the app switcher, you’ll need to switch apps in a new way. To bring up the app switcher, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to about halfway, and then pause until the app thumbnails appear. Then you can scroll through your launched apps by swiping horizontally and switch to an app by tapping its thumbnail. While in the app switcher, you can also force-quit a frozen app: press a thumbnail to get a red minus button and tap that button. Alternatively, you can skip the app switcher entirely. Instead, swipe right on the very bottom of the screen to switch to the previous app—swiping left switches to the next app.

Adjust Web Site Behavior with Safari’s Site-Specific Settings

Although macOS 10.13 High Sierra was light on new features, it did bring one welcome addition to Safari—site-specific settings. Imagine that you regularly visit a blog that you prefer to read using Safari’s Reader view. Rather than invoke it each time you visit, you can now set Safari to use Reader automatically on that site. Similarly, if there’s a site whose text is too small, Safari can remember your page zoom setting for that site. Neat, eh?

Here’s how to make the most of Safari’s site-specific settings. First, load a site whose settings you’d like to customize. Then, choose Safari > Preferences and click Websites in the toolbar. You see a list of general settings in the sidebar at the left, followed by any plug-ins you’ve installed. For each setting or plug-in, you can set what happens when you visit the site you just loaded—or, if you have a bunch of sites open in different tabs, you can customize the behavior for any open site. Here are your options.

Reader

Reader view displays an article as a single page that’s formatted for easy reading, without ads, navigation, or other distractions. It’s such a significant change that it’s off by default—you enable it by clicking the Reader button to the left of the URL in the address bar. To turn it on for all of a site’s articles, in Safari’s Websites preferences, select Reader and choose On from the pop-up menu next to the site name.

Content Blockers

Another way of seeing fewer Web ads is to install a Safari content blocker. Choose Safari > Safari Extensions to open Safari’s Extension Gallery, and then scroll down slightly to find the page’s Search field, where you can search for blocker. There are lots—look for one like Adguard AdBlocker that supports Safari’s content blocking API. Once you’ve installed one, select Content Blockers in the Websites preferences. By default, Safari blocks ads on all sites, so choose Off from the pop-up menus for sites whose ad content you want to see.

Auto-Play

Little is more annoying than sites that play a video when a page loads, distracting you from the text you want to read. Even worse are those sites—Macworld, we’re looking at you—that auto-play videos that aren’t even related to the page. Safari squelches auto-playing videos by default, but for sites like YouTube, you might want to allow videos to play. You can also choose to stop only videos that have sound.

Page Zoom

It’s easy to hit Command-Plus to zoom in on a page, increasing the text and graphics proportionally, but who wants to do that every time you visit a page sporting barely readable words? With the Page Zoom setting, Safari will use your preferred zoom every time you visit a particular site. In fact, you don’t have to do anything other than set a zoom level with Command-Plus when you’re viewing a site because Safari remembers it automatically, as you can see in the Configured Websites section for Page Zoom. To tweak it manually, choose a zoom level from the site’s pop-up menu.

Camera & Microphone

Apart from Web conferencing services, you’re unlikely to run across many sites that want to access your Mac’s camera and microphone. That’s why the Camera and Microphone settings default to asking you whenever a site wants permission to record you. If you find it irritating to be asked constantly by a site you use often, choose Allow from the pop-up menu for that site. And if a site asks repeatedly but you never want to allow it, choose Deny to stop the prompts.

Location

Most Web sites that ask for your location want to determine how close you are to particular stores. If that’s information you’re interested in sharing, let them see where you are, by all means. And if you’re using a mapping service that wants your location, it’s entirely reasonable to set its pop-up menu to Allow. But if a site keeps asking and it feels creepy, set it to Deny.

Notifications

Are there sites whose new posts you’d like to know about right away? If they support Web notifications and you give them permission, they can post push notifications that appear on-screen and in Notification Center, just your other notifications.

The Notifications preferences look different from the others because they show only sites that have asked for permission in the past. Safari remembers your choice, and if the site gets annoying later, you can always take back permission by changing the Allow pop-up menu to Deny. And if you never want to be prompted for push notifications—they can be distracting—uncheck the “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications” checkbox at the bottom of the pane.

Plug-ins

It’s impossible to know what plug-ins you’ve installed, but Safari is configured to make sites ask for permission to use a plug-in each time you visit. That’s the safest setting, but for any given site and plug-in, you can use the pop-up menu to give the site access (choose On) or not (choose Off). And if you can’t even remember what a plug-in does, you can deselect its checkbox to disable it.

That’s it! Some of Safari’s site-specific settings work without any interaction from you, such as your page zoom and notification preferences. Others require a tiny bit of configuration, but that’s a small price to pay for the Web working more the way you want.

Supercharge Your Photo Editing

In macOS 10.13 High Sierra, Apple significantly enhanced the photo editing capabilities of Photos, adding tools for adjusting specific colors, fine-tuning color and contrast via curves, and even focusing an image with vignetting. But it still lacks many features found in other image editors, including applying a filter to an arbitrary portion of an image and adding text to an image. Happily, the latest version of Photos brings back a feature from iPhoto that lets you edit any image with any editor on your Mac. Just Control- or right-click a photo and choose Edit With > YourFavoriteImageEditor, and the photo opens in that app. Make your changes, and when you save, those changes are reflected in the version in Photos.

Is the New iMac Pro for you?

Apple’s new iMac Pro has started shipping, and it’s an astonishing machine. Put simply, it’s the most powerful Mac ever, a title it will likely retain until Apple releases a new version of the Mac Pro, promised for sometime in 2018. But for now, what’s special about the iMac Pro, and should you buy one?

The main thing to know about the space gray iMac Pro is that it’s aimed at high-end professionals, and as a result, it gets pricey fast. The base configuration starts at $4999, and if you max out all its options, you’ll spend over $13,000. That’s a lot of money, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.

The power starts with the processor, an 8-core Intel Xeon W. If that’s not enough performance for you, there are also 10-core, 14-core, and 18-core options. Apple didn’t skimp on RAM either—32 GB comes standard, and you can bump it to either 64 GB or 128 GB. The default storage is a 1 TB solid-state drive, but you can increase that to 2 TB or 4 TB. You can’t upgrade the iMac Pro in any way yourself, but you can take it to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to have more RAM installed after the fact.

The screen is a stunning 27-inch Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display, and the iMac Pro drives all those pixels with a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card with 8 GB of memory, though you can get even more graphics processing power from an optional Radeon Pro Vega 64 card with 16 GB.

Most of the iMac Pro’s other specs are similar to the existing 27-inch iMac with Retina display—a 1080p FaceTime camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, an SDXC card slot, four USB 3 ports, and a headphone jack—but it also boasts four Thunderbolt 3 ports for driving external displays and large storage arrays, along with 10 Gb Ethernet for lightning-fast network access.

It comes with a space gray Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad and a space gray Magic Mouse 2. You can switch to a space gray Magic Trackpad for $50 or buy both input devices for $149, which you might want to do because the space gray peripherals aren’t sold separately.

Many of the iMac Pro’s options come with eye-watering price tags—$2400 for the 18-core processor and another $2400 for 128 GB of RAM—but those stratospheric costs make the purchasing decision fairly easy. If you’re in a line of work where increased performance translates directly to increased productivity, you’ll want an iMac Pro as soon as you can get one. It’s ideal for video editors who need to work with 8K video, engineers using complex modeling software, and developers suffering through long compile times. Put simply, if time is money for you, you’ll want an iMac Pro.

And if you’re a professional whose needs aren’t nearly so rarefied, you can rest easy knowing that the regular 27-inch iMac can give you more than enough performance for a lot less money.

Amazon Prime Video Comes to the Apple TV

It’s been a long time coming, but Amazon Prime Video is now available on the Apple TV as an App. A $99-per-year Amazon Prime membership provides various perks, including free 2-day shipping from the Amazon online store and streaming access to Amazon’s media libraries. But for Apple TV users, accessing Prime Video content has been frustrating, because there was no Amazon app for the Apple TV. That has all changed now, and if you have an Amazon Prime membership and an Apple TV, it’s time to download the new Amazon Prime Video app. It gives you a boatload of additional video content, including Amazon’s original programming (like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is hilarious). Find it on your fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K in the App Store app. If you are still using a third-generation Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video should appear automatically on your Apple TV Home screen.

Best Practices For Secure Passwords

Passwords are the bane of our modern existence. Nearly anything you want to do, it seems, calls for a password. As the Internet’s reach extends beyond computers and into phones, TVs, appliances, and even toys, we have to enter passwords with increasing frequency and in ever more annoying ways. Here are our best practices for Secure Passwords.

To make dealing with passwords easier and more secure, everyone should use a password manager like 1Password or LastPass. Such apps generate random long passwords like kD*SSDcCl7^6FN*F, store those passwords securely, and automatically enter them for you when you need to log in to a Web site. They are essential in today’s world.

You’ll still need a few passwords you can remember and type manually—for instance, the master password for your password manager and your Apple ID password. Make sure those passwords are at least 12 characters, and we recommend going to at least 16 characters.

If you’re unsure of the best way to create a strong password, try taking the first letter of each word in a sentence you can remember, and also change a few words to digits. Then “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party!” becomes a password along the lines of Nitt4agm2c2ta0tp! . So that no eavesdroppers learn your password, avoid saying your sentence out loud whenever you enter it! Or, combine four or five unrelated dictionary words, like correct-horse-battery-staple , that add up to at least 28 characters. (Don’t use the examples in this paragraph!)

When possible, take advantage of two-factor authentication on sites like Apple, Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Accounts protected by two-factor authentication essentially require that you enter a second, time-expiring password as part of the login process. You’ll get that second password via text message, authenticator app, or other notification method when you log in.

But what we really want to talk about today is what you should not do with passwords. Follow these tips to avoid making mistakes that can undermine even the security provided by a password manager.

  1. Don’t use the same password twice. This is key, because if the bad guys get your password—no matter how strong—for one site, they’ll try it on other sites.
  2. Don’t share passwords with anyone you don’t trust completely. That’s especially true of passwords to accounts that contain sensitive information or that can be used to impersonate you, like email and social media. However, sometimes you have to share a password, such as to a club blog with multiple authors. In that case…
  3. Don’t send passwords to shared sites via email or text message. If someone hacks into your recipient’s email or steals their phone, the password could be compromised. Instead, use a site like One-Time Secret to share a link that shows the password only once, after which the recipient should put the password into their password manager.
  4. Don’t write your passwords on sticky notes. Yeah, it’s a cliché, but people still do it. Similarly, don’t put all your passwords in a text file on your computer. That’s what password managers are for—if someone steals your computer, they can’t break into your password manager, whereas they could open that text file easily.
  5. Don’t change passwords regularly if you don’t have to. As long as every site has a strong, unique password, changing a password is a waste of time, especially if doing so makes you write down the password or communicate it insecurely. If you do have to update a password regularly, a password manager makes the task much easier.

We realize that it’s tempting to take the easy road and share a password with a friend via email or write a particularly gnarly one on a sticky note. But today’s easy road leads directly to identity theft and is paved with insecure password habits. You might think no one would pay attention to little old you, but times have changed, and organized crime is interested in any Internet account that can be cracked.

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