to commonly asked questions.

Which router is best?

Which router should I buy for my 3000 sq ft home?

I suggest one of two options…

1: two Airport Extremes with the option to add other extenders later. ($200 per device) $400 total hardware.
2: Netgear’s Orbi system. $300 NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with Tri-band – Wireless router and extender replacement, maximize WiFi speed and range, Up to 5000 sqft, 3pk (RBK33): Computers & Accessories

Apple may be leaving the router business. I think they’re great routers but just like to be open about their future. That said, the Orbi router system is gaining traction. I’m happy with them as well.

3: Another consideration is the Netgear Nighthawk. This router has many features that most users will not use. It's a very strong router but with only one source.

Why aren't my calendars syncing?

I hope this is an easy fix - seems that every since I did all of that upgrading, when I put something on my desktop calendar, it does not go onto my phone. (If I put something on my phone, it does go onto my desktop, however.)

I just went to system preferences - and turned on iCloud Drive, but that didn’t seem to work. Not sure if I should have turned that on….

Seems like something just needs to be turned on, but I am not sure what.

Calendars can be very confusing. The main reason for this is that almost every email account service we use (gmail, iCloud, aol, exchange, yahoo, etc…) all offer their own calendar and contact syncing to go along with the email. Because of this, sometimes we end up adding events to one calendar but don't have that that calendar on a different device. So the first place to start looking when troubleshooting calendars is to figure out which calendar services you actually need. In a perfect world, one service is the best way to go. For most people this is either iCloud or Gmail's calendar system.

1. On your Mac, open system preferences/internet accounts. Select each account and see if calendars is checked. You will return to this area eventually and uncheck the services you don't want in the end.
2. Open Calendar on your mac and go to preferences, check which is your default calendar. This can be the issue as well. You may be adding an event automatically to the wrong calendar.
3. On your phone, go to the Calendar app, select Calendars at the bottom of the screen and see if you have the same accounts active on your phone as you saw on your computer.
4. Decide if you can eliminate some of these calendars but be aware that if you turn off, say your gmail calendar, then any events on that calendar will go away. So you may have to move those events from one calendar to a different one before you turn that calendar off.

These are good starting points to check. It's rare that calendar and contact issues are technical problems like software issues. It's much more common that we just don't have things set the way we'd like.

My email isn't coming in on my Mac

You were at our house today. I just got on my Mac and my email is no longer pulling up.

Can you walk me through how to put it back on? I used the password that I have had for a long time and it isn’t working.

I actually didn’t change anything on your Mac so this is a separate issue from what we covered yesterday concerning your devices.  If your email is not functioning on your Mac, first step is to verify that your password is correct.  Go to and log in to make sure you have the correct password.  

After you’ve verified your password, next go under the black apple on your computer (top left corner) and open system preferences.  Next go to Internet Accounts and select your Carolina account on the left side.  You may be prompted to enter your password.  That step may solve the issue. 

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 If not, take the next step. In your Mail, under the word Mail in the menu bar, select Preferences:

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Next, select Accounts at the top of that window, select the Carolina account to the left, then server settings as seen below:

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Re enter the password (that you verified earlier) and that should solve the issue.  

Outgoing email settings crossed

Whenever I try to send an email using my account, I get the message that I have copied above. Again, I am more than happy to pay you for helping me with this problem.


From the screenshot, it looks like the outgoing servers for each email address are incorrect. This means that one email account is trying to use the other email account’s outgoing server to deliver its email. And they don’t always like to cooperate. Think of it like asking Fed Ex to deliver a UPS package. That looks why you’re getting a bounce back. Maybe not really enough for one session’s worth but I’m happy to work on it for you if you have some other items as well.

Gmail never finishing syncing with the server.

Hi. I don’t mean to be a pain, but this seems like strange activity to see while I’m working. I have been in mail for several hours and this activity seems to be taking a really long time. This morning, I am still having to log out of mail and then comeback in to get new messages. It worked great for awhile,but I seem to be back to the problem?

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I can’t recall whether we turned off “allow less secure apps” in your gmail settings or not. That can sometimes play a role with how Apple’s mail program acts with Gmail. Allowing less secure apps sounds like a bad thing but Gmail has deemed any app other than Google Chrome less secure. So if that setting is turned on, then many email programs can have a problem.

Have you tried “rebuilding” the inbox? Available in mail under Mailbox in the menu bar.

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Did I install a virus accidentally?

I received an email from UPS that I now realize was phishing. It had a tracking number listed and I clicked on the tracking number (stupid I know) I saw an icon from the email pop over as if it was a download. Should I be concerned?

This happens to many people. Most likely a file was downloaded to your downloads folder. As long as you didn't double click on that file and install that program 9it would have requested you enter your admin password) then you should be fine. Just go into your downloads folder and throw away the file, then empty the trash.

Relinking your Photos Library.

My computer doesn’t seem to be able to access the photo library for some reason

To have the Photos app relocate your photo library, try holding down the Option key while launching Photos. This will present you with a list of candidates. Select the preferred library and that should reopen the missing pictures. It is possible to have more than one library. This is sometimes done by accident so you might have an empty library and a full one. The correct place for a photo library to live is in the User's pictures folder. Some people move their photos library over to an external drive due to space concerns.

Should I buy a refurbished Apple computer?

Looking for advice on buying refurbished computers from Apple.

Do you know people who’ve had lots of issues?? Did they buy refurbished from apple? These will be for sales people etc. not for my computer.

Apple may have changed their policy at this point but in my experience there are two categories of refurbished.

1. Open box item. Person returned the computer because they just didn't like it. Perfectly fine. Apple wipes it, repackages it. But they can't sell it as new so it's called "refurbished". This used to be known as refreshed.
2. Item was damaged. Underwent repair. Now resold after having been repaired. This is the problem scenario for me. Apple often sends these out to a third party repair company. They have been known to not repair their own computers other than inside an Apple Store. And mostly desktop computers at that. These third party repair facilities often repair lots of different computers. Not just Apple. I've seen many refurbished computers come back with issues having been resold. The main problem is that Apple usually sends the item back out for repair instead of just exchanging the computer for a new one on the spot.

In all fairness, this does not happen often. But it's enough to sway me away from refurbs. Imagine you pay $2100 for a refurb. Two weeks later you have an issue. Would you want it repaired or replaced. The good news is that Apple sells AppleCare with all refurbs just as they do with new computers. (Although you only have 60 days to purchase I believe.)

Re entering email passwords after a Keychain reset

I am having a similar problem with one of my mail accounts.  I am not receiving emails in that account and it is asking me for a password.

After a keychain reset as I think you have done recently, you'll be asked to re enter your passwords of various accounts. Your email accounts are included in this. Should be simple to solve. You can re enter your email passwords in a couple of different areas. Let's try system preferences first.

Under the black apple in the top left corner of your computer, choose System Preferences. Then select Internet Accounts. Click on the email account you wish to re enter the password to on the right hand side. You should see a drop down to re enter your password. That may do it. If not, let me know and I'll give you another way to enter your password to an email account.

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I tried your fix - it didn’t work.

The very first thing you want to do when troubleshooting email password problems is first make %100 sure the password you think is correct, IS correct. To do this go straight to the source. If you're using gmail, go to and log in from the webpage. If you're using Yahoo, go to and log in from the webpage. If you're using iCloud, go to and log in using the webpage, and so on.

After you've proven to yourself you know the password proceed:

The next place to re enter your email passwords can be found in your Email program's preferences. Open up your email program. (I call it the stamp). Probably in your dock.

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Open Preferences from the "File" drop down menu at the top.

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Select Accounts, then the email account on the left. Then "Server Settings" across the top area.
Enter the password for both the incoming and outgoing settings.

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If you don't see those choices you will need to do the following:

Select "Server Settings" then edit SMTP Server List

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Then enter the password here for the respective account.
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If that doesn't work, there may be other issues at play, or something very obvious we are simply missing. If this does not work for you, send me your email and pw and I would be happy to troubleshoot it further for you.

Kindle book not accessible

Scotty, I have a question. One book on Kindle still stuck with cover showing and will not allow me to access contents

Hard to say.

Try the double click trick of killing the application like we discussed.
Maybe try moving to a different book then back to that book again
Try turning off then on the wifi network on your iPad.
Try accessing the book from a different network like at a friends house. (just to see if there was an issue with your own network speed. Most likely not but good to rule out that possibility)

Resetting your keychain after admin password change or upgrade

You helped me install an updated OS on my Mac Book last week. I just tried to get into your Monday evening townhall for help and was unsuccessful.
At any rate, I am now unable to use my computer as I continually get keychain password requests.
Per online instructions I changed my password and this did not correct the problem. I’d appreciate any advice you might be able to give me.

The keychain is the application on your Mac that holds all/most of your passwords relating to email accounts, wifi, and various other services. If a person changes their admin password, sometimes the keychain must be reset. This usually means that afterwards, you would be required to re enter your passwords for all the items mentioned previously. The computer will ask for those upon launching each service then you type in the password related to that program. For instance, open email. Email says "enter password for". And so on.

To reset the keychain, the most effective way to do this is as follows:

First, before you ever do anything, always make sure you are backing up.

1. In the finder, go to the menu bar and select "Go". While holding down the "Option" key, you'll see "Library" appear in the list.
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2. Select Library. Once that folder opens, go the the folder called "Keychains".

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3. Select the contents of that folder and throw them into the trash. You may be asked for your admin password.

4. Restart your computer. You'll now be asked for various passwords however now, when you enter them, your keychain will keep up with them.

NOTE: The whole reason this happens is for security. When your computer detects that the admin password has been changed, for security reasons, it assumes the worst and locks your old passwords from being viewed or used. Imagine if you had your computer stolen and the bad guy manages to change your password. You wouldn't want him to be able to view all the other passwords to your account.

Inconvienent I know. But as I say, security equals inconvenience. Hope this has helped.

Your Privacy on the Internet

In case you haven't been paying attention…

This happened on December 2, 2016 to protect your privacy on the internet.

Then this happened on April 3, 2017 to stop that from happening.

Read it. Understand it. Then contact your Representative or Senator to let them know if you are happy with that or not.

HomePod, buy or not?

My thoughts on HomePod:

The market is crowded. Alexa is winning at the moment. I see her in more and more homes I go into daily. And I see people using it. The sound is ok. It is what it is. A small cylindrical speaker that sits in your kitchen or wherever, pushing out minimal sound. Alexa is not for an audiophile, a purest. It's an item of convenience. There is no necessity to this market. But they are popular. Apple knows this and they're late to the game. The first generation of HomePod will be expensive and not have nearly the features of its competitors, but it will have the word "apple" on it. And that's usually enough to make it a hit in the long run.

It sounds better than Alexa but will do less. It's first and foremost, a really nice speaker. It will never beat out my dedicated Bose 501s from the 1980's that I still use on a daily basis but it's not meant to. That's not it's competition. Apple is pushing the ambient room technology that's inside. It has the ability to discover the room shape and acoustic signature then form it's audio output to best suit its environment. Sounds cool. But it does't yet integrate with Spotify and I can't order toilet tissue from Amazon with it yet. First world problems.

I'd look at it like the first Apple watch. The people that buy one will convince themselves its great but deep down inside they'll wish they hadn't spent so much money on it. Then 2 years later the HomePod 3 will be mature enough, everyone will have one, and the original first gen owners will upgrade. The current Apple Watch 3 is cool and useful. But it's the 3rd gen. It takes a while to mature. HomePod 1 will have a way to go.

I will help lots of people with them but I won't consider buying one myself until about 2 more years from now.

Now, with all that being said we need to understand one very important thing about Siri, Alexa, HomePod, GoogleHome, etc… If you plan on using any of these technologies you need to plan on giving up your privacy. But you did that the day you started using a smart phone anyway.

How can I get my Addressbook contacts from an old time machine backup from a different computer?

Hi Scotty,
I can’t find my old address book from the time machine backup of the tower drive.
I’ve searched for address book, contacts, vcards and .abbu files - nothing.
Any suggestions?

Yes. You won't find them with your current approach. They're there but a little difficult to get to. First the easy method: If the time the time machine backup is from the exact same machine you are looking for previous info from, you can just open Address book, enter time machine from the menu bar and back in time you go. Most likely however, you're trying to get address book info from a backup that belonged to a different machine. This is where it gets tricky.

Short answer:

It's possible. Here's how:

Using terminal, show invisibles
go to the backup drive backup.backups.db/Macintosh HD/Users/yourname/library/Application Support/Addressbook/
grab all the contents of that folder.

Now, if you are looking just replace the current contacts on your machine with the old machine's contacts, easy. Just go to the sister folder of the above mentioned folder located on your internal drive and delete those contents, then replace them with the contents you harvested from the old backup.

However, if you're looking to add the old contacts to your current contacts then you'll NOT want to use the above method. Instead, create a new user on any machine. Harvest the contents of that same folder, drop them into the internal sister folder, open address book. They they are. export vcard that contains all contacts. Do not export using address book archive. Select all contacts, then choose to export as a card. Now take that vcard back into the original user you're trying to combine with and import that vcard. It will combine them all.

Advice: always backup before you do this.

If you need a little more detail on how to accomplish this I'm happy to go into a more step by step method. There are some short cuts but it takes a little more knowledge. For instance, you can skip the terminal step to show invisibles if you know the exact file path name syntax and can use the Go to folder command in the menu bar. Most people are not familiar with this.

I may have left you more confused. It's not actually that hard or time consuming but if you aren't careful you can overwrite your current contacts if you make a mistake.

Sending email stuck message

when I send a email, something shows up in the lower L hand corner, right under the list of files that sends “Sending Message. 76 KB”. The Kbs change with every email I send - the emails appear to go out, but the sending message never disappears. That is going to drive me crazy as it looks like the computer is trying to do a task that it can’t complete. Thoughts?”

There could be a stuck outgoing email left over from the past that is having difficulty going out. It is also possible that this email has a large attachment that caused the initial problem. This is just one explanation. To get a little more detail, in the menu bar, go to “Window” then select Activity. This will show you a little more detail as to if there is actually activity or not.

Another explanation could be that your email is just trying to sync up with the server and this could go away in time.

Last explanation is: Time Warner email is terrible.

Don't fall for "official sounding" email scams

Here's yet another example of a fishing scam email. Just because it has a company logo doesn't make it legitimate. If you are ever concerned about an email, be it amazon, PayPal, netflix, your bank, gmail, apple, facebook, etc… don't use the link provided. Go to the website yourself and type it in. If there's truly a problem with your account, you'll usually find it there. A very good indicator that something is not legitimate can be seen by clicking the right side (downward arrow) next to the email address in fhe "from" field. That reveals who actually sent the email. In this case, it's bogus. Another very good indicator is incorrect grammar and punctuation. As you can see in this example, it's full of it.

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How do I get my music onto my phone?

You have shown us how in the past, but we are trying to get our whole music library downloaded on to our phones. We currently have home sharing and a bunch of music in the cloud and can't figure out how we got it from the cloud to our phones in the past.

There are a few different ways of doing this:

  • Download physical copies of your songs into iTunes then sync them to the phone. If songs are only in the cloud, they may not be available for streaming over the phone. Purchased songs via iTunes are always available on the phone given you are logged into the correct account. To download copies of your music into iTunes, log into the store in iTunes, find purchased items. Select songs, scroll to the bottom and you'll see an "download all" button. This will take up space on your hard drive.
  • Use iCloud Music Library. You pay an additional fee to Apple for this. ($25 annually) but that allows your iTunes library to live completely in the cloud, therefore available to be streamed over iPhones and iPads.
  • Just use a streaming service like Spotify or Amazon Music. (that's what all the kids are doing these days)

Home sharing is somewhat unrelated to listening to music on mobile.


Thanks Scotty.
We have hundreds of CDs that I have loaded on to my computer iTunes but now I can only see them on my computers. They don’t show up on iPad or phones. They must be in cloud as I see them on the other computer in iTunes, not Music. You’ve gotten us there before - we just can’t figure out how. And it seems criminal that apple has hijacked all of our music!!:)

I may not have covered everything clearly. It is possible for one computer in the home to share its music to other computers in the home. Home Sharing is the feature that allows that. However, home sharing carry over into iCloud. Home Sharing is local computers in one location only. That might explain why you can see your music on multiple computers in the home but not iOS devices. (iPhone/iPad)

By using iCloud Music Library (aka: iTunes Match) your Mac uploads all it's iTunes music to the cloud and makes it accessible on other devices logged in to the same AppleID in iTunes. $25 per year. I don't think Apple has hijacked your music. We can look at music in three general categories:

  • music purchased on CDs then imported into iTunes The is the older way of listening to music. If you've imported music from a CD then, unless you're using iCloud Music Library, Apple doesn't know you own that song and it will not appear in the Cloud.
  • music purchased in iTunes. You've bought permission to listen to the song for the rest of your life. You can choose to download it or not.
  • streaming music (One doesn't own this type of music. Rather we rent access to it, much like Netflix movies)

I'm sure we could work out what is going on with your music and correct the course so that you have access to all your music on all the devices you want. Happy to try to answer any other questions you might have.

Is this legit?

Scotty. I got this email yesterday from Google. Looks legitimate… I just wanted to make sure it’s not phishing. I have not opened it yet.



There's no way for me to tell just by this screenshot alone. The best thing to do is to log into Gmail yourself by typing in in your browser instead of using any link provided in an email. Then go to security settings. Fraudulent emails will always provide a dummy link sending you to a site that "looks" like where you think you're going but it's really a front to harvest email addresses and passwords. In general, don't click on links in emails. Type it in manually and you're safe.

Can I go from Snow Leopard to El Capitan?

Can I go from 10.6.8 to 10.11?

Yes. Apple allows a jump that large but you can't jump from 10.6 to 10.12 or higher. Also, 10. does have to be completely up to date first as well. (10.6.8) However, if you've not previously downloaded 10.11 from the App Store, Apple doesn't make older operating systems available. Still possible. You just have to obtain a copy of the prior operating system.

Sharing slideshows between platforms

I can created a slideshow in iPhotos that I need to share with a teacher who uses google drive. Can I export the slideshow in some manner so that she can open it on her computer. She does not have an Apple.

The short answer here is no. Any slideshow file you’d be editing on another machine would have to be Apple to Apple software. You could however, make them into a powerpoint presentation given that you’re not using Ken Burns effect on each picture or something similar. Finding a common file type is your best bet. Powerpoint may be your best option. Keynote will read and write powerpoint as well as google docs.
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