Why Should You Work with an Apple Professional?

Potential clients sometimes ask why they should work with us instead of solving their own problems or hiring an employee to manage their IT infrastructure. It’s a fair question, and we’re happy to answer it in more detail if you want to chat. But here are a few of the reasons why working with an Apple professional is the right decision. All these revolve around the fact that we’ve been investigating and fixing tech problems for a long time, we’re constantly working to stay up with the latest changes, and we’re good at what we do.

Save Time

The biggest reason to hire an expert to solve your problems is that we can save you time. If you’re an individual, it’s time you can spend on your real job, with your family, or on your hobbies. For companies, it’s time you aren’t taking away from your firm’s line of business.

Aside from the fact that we’ll be doing the work to fix your Mac or get your network operational instead of you or one of your employees doing it, we’ll probably be able to finish more quickly than someone who’s not steeped in the field. Would you prefer to spend hours on something that would take us half the time?

Save Money

As an individual, it might seem counterintuitive that paying us will save you money, but it’s often true. If you buy the wrong hardware or software, that’s a waste of money that could be avoided with our advice ahead of time. For instance, no matter how many ads you see, never get suckered into buying MacKeeper.

For companies, the financial savings are more obvious. Most companies don’t have extra employees just waiting to solve tech problems, and hiring a dedicated IT staff will cost vastly more in salary, benefits, and overhead than outsourcing to us.

Reduce Downtime

It’s easy for businesses to understand the importance of avoiding downtime. If your phone system is down, customers can’t call. If your point-of-sale database gets corrupted, you can’t take orders until the backup has been restored. And so on—the point of working with a top-notch Apple professional is that we can help you avoid problems that would cause downtime, and if catastrophe does strike, get you up and running as soon as possible.

Individuals might say they’re not too worried about downtime, but how long could you go without being able to send or receive email if Mail’s settings get wonky? Or what would your family think about not having Internet access while you back out of a bad firmware upgrade to your router?

Avoid Incorrect Information

Google is a godsend for figuring out weird problems, but it can also lead less experienced people down dead-end paths. If you don’t have years of experience, it’s easy to find a Web page or YouTube video that sounds helpful but makes the problem worse.

For instance, lots of Web articles have advised force-quitting iOS apps to increase battery life, improve performance, and more. Unfortunately, that advice is wrong—force-quitting apps generally hurts battery life and reduces performance. Only force-quit an app when it’s misbehaving badly or not responding at all. Ask us before assuming something you’ve read online is helpful or even correct.

Benefit from the Big Picture View

Because we live and breathe technology, we have a broad and current view of what’s happening both in the industry and with our other clients. We know what new products or services might be the best solution to any given problem, and we can take advantage of our experience with one client to help another.

For example, Apple has officially discontinued its AirPort line of Wi-Fi routers, so we’ve been comparing mesh networking alternatives, including Eero, Plume, Orbi, AmpliFi, Velop, and more. If you’re using an AirPort base station now, ask us which alternative makes the most sense for your installation.

More specifically, because we put the time into understanding your personal or corporate technology footprint, we can use our experience to ensure that everything we recommend will work well together. If you’re buying into HomeKit automation in a big way, for instance, you should stick with Apple’s HomePod smart speaker rather than competing products from Amazon and Google.

We hope we haven’t come off as cocky here—we’re certainly not perfect. But we are good at what we do, and we’re confident that we can help solve any technical problems you may have.

Recover Hard Drive Space by Deleting Unnecessary iOS Device Backups

Here is a way to recover hard drive space on your Mac. If you’ve been good about backing up your iOS devices to iTunes on your Mac or to iCloud, give yourself a gold star! Both backup destinations are fine, but there’s one potential downside to iTunes backups: they can consume a lot of space on your Mac’s drive. In iTunes, go to iTunes > Preferences > Devices, where you’ll see all the iOS device backups that iTunes has stored. If there are multiple older backups or any for devices you no longer own, you can get rid of them. Control-click the offending backup, and choose Delete. Or, if you want to check how large a backup is first, instead choose Show In Finder, and then in the Finder, choose File > Get Info. When you’re ready, move the selected backup folder to the Trash.

Apple Lowers Battery-Replacement Pricing for iPhone 6 and Later

Did you hear about the battery-related controversy swirling around Apple at the end of 2017? There has been much hue and cry about how, starting with iOS 10.2.1, iOS has been slowing down iPhones with old, weak batteries to avoid unexpected shutdowns. In response, Apple posted A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance to explain what was going on. Apple announced that it would reduce the price of out-of-warranty battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and later from $79 to $29 through December 2018. The company also said that an upcoming iOS update would give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone battery. The practical upshot of this is that if you have an iPhone 6 or later that suffers from short battery life or unexpected shutdowns, make sure to take advantage of the $29 replacement price this year. 

Here at iStore we are honoring this pricing. Please visit us at this link for more information.To schedule an appointment please use this link

 

Don’t Use These Products to Clean Your iPhone

All iPhones pick up fingerprints, and it’s all too easy to get your iPhone dirty with ink, lotion, makeup, dirt, food, and oil. If you’re faced with an iPhone that needs cleaning, resist the urge to spray it with window cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or ammonia, or, even worse, to scrub it with baking soda or Borax. That’s because all iPhones have oleophobic—oil repellent—coatings on their glass surfaces that make it easy to wipe off fingerprints. You don’t want to remove that coating any faster than it will wear off normally, and cleaning products will strip it quickly. Instead, Apple recommends a soft, lint-free cloth such as you would use for glasses or camera lenses. By the way, even though the iPhone 7 and later have some level of dust and water resistance, it’s important to avoid getting moisture in the openings—most of the time, a lens cloth should be all you need.

The Top Features You’ll Want to Try in iOS 11

Even if you’re not buying a new iPhone this year, you can still enjoy a hefty dose of “New and Improved!” with Apple’s iOS 11, which provides a host of new capabilities. Hold on tight, there’s a lot to cover, and we have another article coming about the iPad-specific changes in iOS 11. iOS 11 will be available to download on Tuesday September 19th. 

Getting Started

After you install iOS 11, you’ll notice a few things right off. Dock icons no longer have names, and many Apple apps now have the bold text design Apple brought to the Music and News apps in iOS 10.

Although the new Automatic Setup feature won’t help you today, when you next get a new iOS device, it can transfer many settings from an older iOS 11 device automatically. Similarly, the new Share Your Wi-Fi feature lets you send your Wi-Fi network’s password to another iOS 11 device that tries to connect.

You may not need a new iPhone or iPad anyway, since iOS 11 can help you recover precious space. Choose Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage and you can offload unused apps (while keeping their settings and data), delete old Messages conversations automatically, and see how much space each app consumes. Deleting music from the Music sub-screen (tap Edit) will help too.

Special Screens

Apple redesigned Control Center, which most people still get to by swiping up from the bottom of the screen (iPad users keep swiping up after the Dock appears, and iPhone X users will have to swipe down from the right-hand top of the screen). It’s back to a single page of icons, and you can access additional options by pressing and holding on any set of controls. Even better, you can add (and remove) controls in Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. 

The Lock screen is all you’ll see while in the car by default now, thanks to the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. It blocks notifications and prevents you from using your iPhone while at the wheel, all while auto-replying to people who text you. Calls still come through to your car’s Bluetooth system, and texts from people designated as favorites can break through the texting cone of silence. Passengers can disable Do Not Disturb While Driving easily from a notification on the Lock screen.

Smaller Changes and App Updates

A few smaller changes that you’ll appreciate include:

  • Siri sounds more natural, can do translations, and uses on-device learning to understand you better and provide more useful results.
  • On an iPhone, a new Emergency SOS feature will call 911 and notify your emergency contacts of your location after you press the Sleep/Wake button five times quickly and swipe the Emergency SOS button. Tap Settings > Emergency SOS to set this up.
  • The password auto-fill feature now suggests stored login information for many apps right from the QuickType bar above the keyboard—manage this in Settings > Accounts & Passwords > App & Website Passwords.

Many of iOS 11’s built-in apps receive significant changes as well:

  • Camera: New file formats will make your videos and photos take up less space. There are a few new filters, and Camera can finally scan QR codes, which simplify loading Web sites, getting contact info, and connecting to Wi-Fi networks.
  • Photos: You can now edit the video in a Live Photo and apply looping, bouncing, and long exposure effects. Photos can at long last play animated GIFs and has a new Animated smart album to hold them.
  • Files: This major new app replaces the iCloud Drive app. Look in Files for access not just to iCloud Drive, but also to files on your device and in other cloud sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
  • Messages: A new app drawer at the bottom of the screen tries to entice you to use iMessage apps. Most are just stickers, but some are useful and Apple provides a new Apple Pay app here that lets you make person-to-person payments.

  • Maps: Apple has added indoor maps of some airports and malls to Maps. Maps also now provides lane guidance on more complicated roads.
  • Notes: The new Instant Notes feature make starting a note as simple as tapping the Lock screen of an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, or the optional Notes button in Control Center. A note can now look like lined paper or graph paper (tap the Share button, then tap Lines & Grids). You can also now scan a document. The idea is that you then sign it with the Apple Pencil and send it on its way. Notes can also now find text in Apple Pencil handwriting.

Take some time to explore—we’re liking these new features and we think you will too! It’s likely safe to upgrade to iOS 11 now, but check our upgrade advice first.

What APFS is, and; why you should care

A major change in macOS 10.13 High Sierra is the switch to Apple’s new Apple File System, or APFS. With any luck, you’ll barely notice the change, just as almost no one did earlier this year when Apple updated millions of iOS devices to APFS with iOS 10.3. But let’s unpack what APFS is, why you should care, and what gotchas you might encounter.

A file system is a mechanism for storing files on a hard disk or SSD—it keeps track of where on the drive the pieces that make up each file are located, along with metadata about each file, such as its name, size, creation and modification dates, and so on. You see all this information in the Finder, but since the file system is a level below the Finder, you won’t have to learn anything new when Apple starts using APFS.

Why is Apple making this switch? In 1985, Apple first developed the Hierarchical File System (HFS) for the Mac, later replacing it with HFS+ in 1998. Although HFS+, now called Mac OS Extended in Disk Utility, has received numerous updates in the last two decades, it wasn’t designed to deal with terabyte-sized drives, solid-state drives based on flash storage, full-disk encryption, or supercomputer-class Macs.

That’s where APFS comes in. Being a modern file system, it’s vastly faster than HFS+. For instance, have you ever used File > Get Info to see how much disk space a folder uses? For a folder containing thousands of files, it can take minutes before you see that number. But with APFS, calculating folder sizes becomes nearly instantaneous, as does duplicating a file that’s gigabytes in size. Saving files should also be faster.

APFS is also more resistant to data loss or file corruption due to application crashes, and it keeps your data more secure with advanced backup and encryption capabilities. If you use FileVault to encrypt your drive, APFS will change the underlying encryption mechanism during the upgrade, but everything will look and work just as it always has.

When you install High Sierra on a Mac with an SSD or flash storage, which includes all recent Mac notebooks and many desktop Macs, your drive will be converted to APFS automatically. You cannot opt out of the conversion, and the installation will take a bit longer. However, if your Mac has a hard disk drive or Fusion Drive, it won’t be converted to APFS at this time. (If you’re not sure what sort of storage your Mac has, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu and click the Storage tab.)

That’s one gotcha, and although there are others, they get pretty geeky and most won’t affect you:

  • Macs running OS X 10.11 El Capitan and earlier cannot mount or read volumes formatted as APFS. So don’t format external hard disks or USB flash drives as APFS if you might need to use them with older Macs. However, Macs running High Sierra from APFS-formatted drives work fine with external hard disks still formatted as HFS+.
  • Although the High Sierra installer can convert a volume from HFS+ to APFS during installation, you cannot convert an APFS volume back to HFS+ without first erasing it. You’ll have to back up any data on it, format as APFS, and then restore the data.
  • We recommend against using old disk repair and recovery software that hasn’t been updated for High Sierra on an APFS-formatted volume.
  • Apple’s Boot Camp, which lets you run Windows on your Mac, doesn’t support read/write to APFS-formatted Mac volumes.
  • Volumes formatted as APFS can’t offer share points over the network using AFP and must instead use SMB or NFS.

Apart from the problem of APFS-formatted USB flash drives not being readable by older Macs (or Windows computers), most people shouldn’t run into any problems with APFS—everything it changes is under the hood and will just result in a Mac that’s faster, more reliable, and more secure. And since Apple already quietly transitioned millions of iOS devices to APFS, it’s a good bet that switching millions of Macs to it will go equally smoothly.