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Tip of the Week: Apple Updates Mean It's Time to Check Your Backups

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Yesterday, Apple released software updates for almost all of its hardware. Macs running macOS Sierra (10.12) can update to 10.12.6, and security updates were released for Macs running El Capitan (10.11) and Yosemite (10.10). People with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches running iOS 10 can update to iOS 10.3.3. AppleTVs running tvOS 10 can update to 10.2.2, and Apple Watch owners can update to watchOS 3.2.3. There was also an update to iTunes. While these are relatively minor updates with a few bug fixes and security patches, it's always a good idea to back up your device before applying a system update. Here's how to back up each device category.

Macs:
If you are using Time Machine, make sure your backup drive is connected and turned on. The Time Machine icon in the menu bar will show the time and date of your last completed backup. If you aren't using Time Machine, follow your usual backup procedure. If you don't have a backup procedure, you need to get one. If you don…

Tip of the Week: Which Small Mac Laptop Is Right for You?

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Apple updated its entire laptop lineup at WWDC. The company currently sells no fewer than four different laptop models with 12- or 13-inch screens, not including upgrade options for CPU, RAM and storage.
The 12-inch MacBookThe 13-inch MacBook AirThe 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016 with function keys)The 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016 with Touchbar) The only thing they have in common is that they all come with 8 gigabytes of RAM. Each model has its own set of pros and cons. Some are more expensive, some have better performance and some are thinner and lighter. How should you go about deciding which one is right for you if you're looking for a small Mac laptop? There are four key questions to ask yourself.
How much do you want to spend (price)?What kind of work will you be using it for (performance)?How long do you plan to keep it before you upgrade to a new laptop (longevity)?How portable does it really need to be (portability)? Here are the basic specs for each model (these don't include u…

Tip of the Week: Apple May Kill Some of Your Apps This Fall

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Have you been seeing notifications similar to this on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch:

"[Name of app] Needs to Be Updated
This app will not work with future versions of iOS.
The developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility."

The notification is Apple's way of telling you that the app hasn't been updated to support 64-bit operation. iOS 11, which will probably come out this fall when new iPhones are released, will drop support for non 64-bit apps. You can see a full list of your apps which haven't been updated by going to Settings->General->About->Applications. If you see any apps on the list which you use frequently, it's a good idea to start looking for replacements.

If you have an app that hasn't been updated but you think you can't live without come this fall, you do have a couple of options. First, go to the app's page in the App Store and contact the developer. Let them know you are still actively using their…

Tip of the Week: Avoid Phishing and Limit Spam in Your Mac Email

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Other than surfing the web, the most likely vector for hackers and malware to gain access to your Mac is through your email. Just like visiting a booby-trapped website, clicking on a malicious link or file in your email can result in your Mac getting infected. You should be suspicious of any email that comes with a link or attachment, even if you think you know the sender and were expecting them to send you something. There are some basic steps you can take to keep yourself safe. The same steps can help limit how much junk email, or spam, that reaches your inbox.
1. Always check the sender's address. Most email programs, including Mail on the Mac, don't display the sender's full address by default. You can see the sender's actual address by clicking on the small arrow that appears when you move your pointer over the sender's name.


The first line in the pop-up menu will show you the sender's address. While this can be spoofed, most spammers and hackers are too l…

Tip of the Week: How to Keep Your Mac Safe from Hackers and Malware

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Just because you're surfing the web on a Mac doesn't mean you can't get infected by malware. Here are five things you can do to limit your vulnerability and make things as hard as possible on the bad guys.

1. Disable Browser Plug-ins Adobe's Flash plug-in for web browsers is one of the most common ways for hackers to attack Macs on the web. You should uninstall Flash if you don't need it. Adobe has instructions here: https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-mac-os.html

If you find that you can't get by without Flash, never click on a website notice that your Flash needs to be updated. Hackers have used these notices to get users to install fake Flash updaters containing malware. Instead, use the Flash update option in System Preferences to check for updates. To check if your Flash needs to be updated, click the black apple in the menu bar at the upper left-hand corner of the screen and choose System Preferences. Then click on Flash in the …

Tip of the Week: How to Limit Your iPhone's Cellular Data Usage

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Anyone not on an unlimited data plan with their cellular provider knows the pain of getting a bill with extra charges because they used more data than allowed. Before you decide you need to switch to a more expensive unlimited plan, try these five ways to keep from getting charged extra.

ONE: Learn how much data you're using and which apps use the most data.
Most cellular carriers have an app that you can download and connect to your account. The app can tell you when your billing period is and how much data the carrier says you've used in the current period. Another important thing to remember is whether you are sharing one pool of data with multiple phones. If so, you'll need to take each phone's usage into account, not just your own.
If you tap on Settings, then Cellular, you can see Current Cellular Data Usage. Unfortunately, the phone keeps track of all data since the last time it was reset. If you scroll all the way to the bottom, there's an option to Reset St…

Apple Updates Mean It's Time to Check Your Backups

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Yesterday, Apple released updates to iOS (recent iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches), macOS (recent Macs), tvOS (4th generation AppleTVs), and watchOS (all Apple Watches). There was also an update to iTunes. While these are relatively minor updates with a few bug fixes and security patches, it's always a good idea to back up your device before applying a system update. Here's how to back up each device category.

Macs:
If you are using Time Machine, make sure your backup drive is connected and turned on. The Time Machine icon in the menu bar will show the time and date of your last completed backup. If you aren't using Time Machine, follow your usual backup procedure. If you don't have a backup procedure, you need to get one. If you don't, you'll regret it sooner or later.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:
Either connect your device to iTunes on your computer, or make sure iCloud Backups are turned on in Settings. Both iTunes and Settings will show when your last bac…