to commonly asked questions.

Switching between Photos libraries

I have ‘3 different large folders’ on my photos. And right now I’ve only got 4-5 years….(because of this OLD mac!) I think there are 3 keys you can hold down together to open one of the other large folders.

If I understand you correctly:


Hold down the OPTION key before you start Photos. It will give you the opportunity to choose which library you want to open. Photos remembers the last library your opened. So you may have to hold down OPTION every time you open Photos if you plan on going back and forth between libraries often.

Why I don't offer technical support via text message...

There are several reasons I do not currently offer technical support via text message.

1. Throughout my day as I am working with other clients, if I view a text message, once viewed, I cannot go back and mark it as unread as I can with an email. This means that once I've seen the text message it blends in to all the other text messages I have. Therefore at the end of the day when I actually have time to respond, it's more difficult to remember which ones I've responded to or haven't. When comparing to email. I can mark it unread or flag it so that later in the evening I can better organize what I need to respond to.

2. It's much harder to copy, paste, add links, share supporting graphics or pictures via text. I often answer questions with annotated pictures. Sometimes answers require research on an actual computer in order to give the best response possible. This means opening several windows while testing or looking for answers. A phone can't do that.

3. I often work late hours answering questions. If I email you at 2am in the morning, no one cares. But if I text you at 2am in the morning, society has decided that's extremely innapropriate.

4. Very often I share my answers to questions on my website so others can search through later. Text messages are often one to one conversations. It's harder for me to go back and share those answers on my site later.

5. It's much easier to type a paragraph full description of an answer with a keyboard rather than with my thumbs in my car.

6. While every response is very important to me, I often plan my day very compactly with sessions and travel. I reserve my evenings to respond to questions. I often plan my day down to the minute.Taking time during my day to respond sometimes interferes with my travel time to the next session. Imagine if a dentist took time between patients to sit down and answer an email for instance. It might make for a less productive day.

Selecting multiple items

How do I make the 3 key combo for getting 3 levels of pic?

Not exactly sure what you mean by 3 levels of pics but I think you mean being able to select multiple items at once. 2 methods:

Hold down the command key to select multiple items by clicking on each one.
Hold down the shift key to select a range of items.

This works throughout the Operating system. Select multiple pictures, emails, documents, etc…

How can my family share my Photos library?

Wife and kids want access to my photos (all on iCloud). How do I download them to their iMacs?

Currently two people cannot share both their iCloud Photo Libraries 100%. There are ways of getting close.

1. Anything you put in the Family Album is accessible to other members of the family, given that you have set up family sharing with your AppleIDs.
2. You can set up individual shared albums and invite people to that album. You still have to add whatever pictures you want into that album. It will not share the entire Photo Library.
3. Anyone can view your pictures at as long as they know your log in. But this does not sync to Photos.
4. You could do one massive merge of all pictures but that would not sync going forward. It only gives everyone a starting point with all the same number of pictures as of that day. Going forward however, it would be up to you to continuously contribute to each other's libraries.

Unfortunately there's no great way for family members to access each other's libraries right now. It's on my list of items to find work arounds to as my wife and I would like to do exactly this as well.

iCloud contacts are messed up

I'm not sure what to do about my contacts. They are soooo messed up! For some reason, Husband still has my contacts on his phone but they are not in the iCloud to transfer over to my phone. Its getting very frustrating bc people are texting me and I don't know who they are sometimes.

It might be a good idea (temporarily) to add his icloud account as a sub-account like we talked about and just turn on contacts.  This will not affect your current bucket(s) of contacts but simply add his entire group of around 2800 to your phone.  To do this, on your phone go to Settings/Accounts and Passwords/Add new account.  Choose iCloud and put in his AppleID and password.  You may need a 6 digit security code that would be sent to one of his devices if he has Two-Factor authentication turned on.  That will re-add his contacts and may solve the problem until you finish manually adding all your people using the method we discussed via  

Should I install my own RAM?

We have 2 MacBook’s, one purchased in 12/13 and the other in 8/14. My daughter is in college and uses the one from 8/14. Her Microsoft office has been freezing and running very slow, so she took it into the Genius Bar and they suggested that she upgrade to the most current OS and upgrade her RAM from 4GB to 8GB. She has upgraded her OS, but i am having a hard time determining what kind of RAM to get. Do I go to Crucial to order or somewhere else? What exactly do i need? Should I upgrade to more than 8GB? My understanding is that Apple will not allow their technicians to perform this, but it is fairly simple to do. Can you do it out should I just try? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

More ram is always a good thing. Not sure it will help Office to be honest but it won't hurt. 8 gigs is plenty for those age machines. Just don't have several applications open at once and you're probably fine. In other words: Quit applications when you're not using them. Crucial is good ram and they have a
system scanner you can download that will survey your machine model and point you right to the exact ram you need. There are many youtube tutorials on how to install ram in your model computer. Depending on the exact model, some MacBooks have a tri-screw head instead of the traditional phillips 4. If that's the case with your machine, you can tell by looking at the bottom case under the computer. If so, you would need to buy a small tool kit. Just depends on the model. Crucial may even include the correct screw driver.

iCloud Photo Library not updating consistently

I am on Sierra 10.13.1. I went down to check it this morning and what do you know the pictures are now updating. It has been hung up for 2 weeks and just all of a sudden started working. I am concerned about what could have happened - any ideas?

I have noticed if you sometimes turn off iCloud Photo library and back on again (within Photos preferences) that will kickstart the uploading to start again.  I’ve seen plenty of issues with people who have large Photo libraries taking a very long time uploading photos to the cloud.  Weeks at times.  Of course this sometimes depends on wifi signal strength.  But I’ve also seen massive improvement in 10.13.  Photo 2.0 was released in that update and it addresses the photos in the cloud problems that many people were having.  The good news is that once their up in the cloud, it’s a lot smoother to sync pics.  You can compare your photos library size to the amount space being taken up in iCloud.  These won’t be exactly the same but may be close to give you an idea if your entire library is uploaded.  

In system preferences, select iCloud and view the status bar.  
Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.50.00 PM
Compare that to your photos library by opening Photos and right clicking anywhere in the white space and selecting “get info”.  
Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.49.44 PM

That will tell you how close you really are to getting them all up.  In your personal situation, I don’t think your basement has a strong wifi signal so you may consider moving your iMac upstairs while the upload happens.  I know you’ve had some changes to your network in the past year or so, so it may be fine.  I just remember in the past it was fairly weak down there.  

Two-Factor Authentication sucks

Since setting up, my iPhone x, I get notices on all my devices saying: “Apple ID Sign In Requested Your Apple ID is being used to sign in to a device near Charlotte NC” It gives me the choice to allow or disallow. When I allow, it the Apple ID 6-digit verification code.
I have my desktop, laptop, ipad and new phone all together. They all receive this same notification at the same time. So, I can’t figure out into which device I need to enter the code. I already went into settings, pressed on my name and then deleted the old iphone from the list of devices. I need to figure how to clear this up because it is a real nuisance.

The problem you're experiencing is called Two-Factor Authentication. It makes your AppleID very secure but it's also massively inconvenient if you are using older AppleTVs, any computer with 10.10 and many other situations as well. To turn it off, go to, log in, then authenticate once more with the 6 digit number provided to you. Scroll down to security and select "edit". Turn off two factor authentication. You'll be asked to come up with answers to 3 questions. Answer them and write down your answers for future reference. You're done. It won't bother you anymore. Oh yeah, now that you've made changes to your AppleID security, your devices will once again ask you to enter your password. This is for security reasons. You should be good to go from here.

Which iMac should I get?

I need a new iMac. Which one should I get?


Your choices are 21 or 27”. I prefer the 27” personally. Plus you can add ram later in life with a 27. With the 21, you can only add ram at time of purchase although most people never add ram to their machines these days. I would recommend the 27” lower speed of the 3 configurations. I think it’s listed at $1799. May be too big for your space. I think you are on a 21” if I’m not mistaken. So really comes down to personal preference. You won’t go wrong either way. Next, you’ll want to consider hard drive type and space. (capacity.) Go to the black apple in the top left corner/about this mac/storage. That will tell your the capacity of your current drive. You’ll want as larger or maybe larger than that. Probably 1Terabyte.

Three types of hard drives:
1. Flash (solid state)
2. spinning (old school mechanical)
3. hybrid (combination of 1 and 2)

Flash is fastest and most expensive. Spinning drives are cheaper, slower, and more prone to failure. Hybrids are obviously a good compromise. They aren’t crazy expensive. You still get capacity and a modest speed advance.

How to open 2 VLC windows at the same time on a Mac.

I want to run 2 instances of VLC. How do I do it?

Use apple script editor and save the following command as a script:

on run
do shell script "open -n /Applications/"
tell application "VLC" to activate
end run

on open theFiles
repeat with theFile in theFiles
do shell script "open -na /Applications/ " & quote & (POSIX path of theFile) & quote
end repeat
tell application "VLC" to activate
end open

Backup drive says it's full.

Scotty I got a pop up message that my seagate back up hard drive says FULL.

What do it do now? Last backup will be this morning

In a backup scenerio, there are two size factors. The source and the target. Your internal computer drive is the source. Your external backup drive is the target. The source should ALWAYS be equal to or greater than the target. If the target is smaller then you can sometimes see that message. If there is other data on the drive in addition to the backups.backupdb folder (like some stuff someone drug over to that drive) then this could also not leave room for the full contents of the internal to backup.

Time machine's job is to fill the drive so this is normal for the external to be full. I would check the backup.backupsdb folder and scroll down to the bottom of the long list. Make a note of the date of the last backup. Go back tomorrow and do it again. If you have a new folder at the bottom of the list with a newer date, you're fine. If the dates of folders stopped several days ago or so, then it may be time to move to a larger drive. We could always also wipe that drive and just start the process over again but it's just nicer to just move to a newer, larger drive.

Apple says the same thing here.

Adding your phone number to iMessage

Scotty, texts that I send from my laptop are not showing up on my phone and vice versa. That is a new phenomenon since you were here and set up my new computer et. al. Any ideas what I have done to it??

Sounds like your phone number is not currently associated to your apple ID. To fix this, go to your phone: settings: messages. Now log into your apple ID to use with iMessage.

Next open iMessage on your computer. Now go to the preferences for that application. You should now see your iPhone phone number. Messages will now appear on both devices but deleting a message will not sync. That feature is not yet available.

Syncing Acuity to Google and iCloud calendars

For acuity do you use the icalendar or google calendar….confusing because I have gmail

I've actually tested both syncing to an ical calendar hosted via iCloud and Google Calendar. The iCloud syncing was in beta for a long time but I can say that it is just as responsive as the Google calendar at this point so either would be fine. Keep in mind you can always add your google calendar to Apple's calendar app so the point becomes moot. Here's a screenshot of both Google calendar and iCloud calendar syncing to Acuity within the same calendar app.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 9.36.01 PM

Lastly, while you are supposed to be able to block times from your calendar program, I do not trust that function. When blocking times, I do so from the webpage. In fact I either use the webpage or the web app on iOS 99% of the time. I only sync my calendar to iCal (now Calendar) so my wife can see my appointment schedule. Lastly, if you choose to sync your Acuity calendar to one of your iCloud calendars, you will have to have 2 factor authentication turned on. Apple forces that when you give third party apps access to iCloud functions.

Macbook Air won't turn on

2010-2011 MacBook Air will not turn on. Adapter's green light will not light up when connected. Assume it's a problem with the battery. Looking for insight and a quick fix!

I don't think we will need a session for your issue. Here are two things to try to bring your air back to life.

Hold down command+option+P+R all simultaneously. Continue holding down those buttons until the computer chimes a second and third time. Then release.

Another key combo to try is disconnecting the charger and press the following all at once: command+option+shift+power. That should reset the Computer's ability to distribute power throughout the system. If neither of these things works it could then most likely be a hardware issue.

What HD can you recommend?

What drive should I use to backup? Can you recommend one?

I prefer the Seagate drives.

Is it time for a VPN?

Is it time for us to start using a VPN?

Yes. The federal government just passed a law allowing your ISP to monetize your info. In other words, they can now sell personal information they collect by viewing what you do via your internet connection. Here's the new law:

A VPN (virtual private network) hides your home's IP address by routing all your internet traffic through a third party server. It prevents your service provider from seeing exactly what you are viewing. They only see that you are connected. Not your content. If you do not care about your privacy, there is no need to consider using a VPN. However, if you prefer to keep your browsing habits and history private, you should be in the market for a VPN.

For a great place to get started familiarizing yourself with what a VPN does go to:

Does Apple Recycle?

Does Apple do recycling?
Yes. They outsource the program through a company called PowerON. More info here:

Does the guest user have a password?

You set up my Mac last week and I need the guest user name and password. Currently the guest is the admin and I can not unlock it to download my programs

The Guest User would not be involved with installing any applications.  The guest user on a mac is there for people to temporarily use the computer and then when signing out of the guest user everything done inside that user is removed.  The guest is never the Admin. The guest user doest not have any authority to install a program.  Your Admin user would do that.  Also, the guest user would never have a password.  If you go into your system preferences , select Users and Groups.  There you will see the name of your actual Admin user.  The Guest user is also there but does not effect the computer.  

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 11.32.33 PM

If I set any password for something without the user’s input I would have used “password”.  However, thinking back I remember you went through a couple different ideas of what you’d like your computer password to be in the Admin.  Is it possible you may have forgotten the password you chose?  If so, we can reset it.  I see you scheduled a session.  

Erase Backup drive before use?

Trying to hook up new back up drive…

It’s asking me this… do I hit erase or don’t erase?
Screenshot 2017-03-16 17.33.13

Yes. If you're using a brand new drive for your Time Machine drive then it's ok to erase it. Most likely it was formatted as a Windows drive. While Apple can read and write to Windows drives, they cannot the the target of a of a Time Machine backup. Erasing the drive will also format the drive correctly format it for your Mac to use it as a backup drive. (MacOS Extended Journaled)

Which iMac should I buy?

Which iMac should I buy?

The 2 major things to consider with a new mac:

1.  What type of hard drive should I buy?

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 7.00.59 AM

Final thought, I recommend the Fusion choice.

2. How much ram should I put in?

On a 27”, don’t worry about it.  You can always add more later.  On a 21.5”, different story.  Apple’s current iMac design on the 21” does not allow for adding ram later.  On the 27”, there is an access door to add ram later.  The 21 does not have the same door.  This means you have to buy as much ram as you feel you’ll ever need at time of purchase.  
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