Tips and Tricks

8 Tips for Travelers

As Memorial Day and summer vacations approach, the travel season is just about to heat up. But you don’t have to resign yourself to hefting unnecessary equipment through airport security or sweating out the frustrations of hotel computer connectivity. These veteran travel tips can make traveling with your Apple gear much more fun.

How to avoid or remove Mac Defender

A recent phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender "anti-virus" software to solve the issue.

This “anti-virus” software is malware (i.e. malicious software). Its ultimate goal is to get the user's credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes.

In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. In the meantime, the Resolution section provides step-by-step instructions on how to avoid or manually remove this malware.

6 Things that Block Your Wi-Fi, and How to Fix Them

Does your wireless network seem slow? A recent study by Epitiro, a UK-based broadband-analysis firm, shows that consumers lose an average of 30 percent of the data speed their broadband connection supplies when they use Wi-Fi connections in the home.

Why the slowdown? You've probably heard that some household electronic devices, including microwave ovens, baby monitors, and cordless phones, hamper Wi-Fi performance. To separate fact from fiction, we did some research and consulted an expert on the topic: Nandan Kalle, networking business unit manager for router manufacturer Belkin.

MacDefender Malware Protection and Removal Guide

The MacDefender malware has been causing trouble for Mac users all over the world; people are calling Apple Support in a panic, spending time visiting their local Apple Store Genius, and getting all stressed out about it. What's worse: the malware is mostly harmless. It's a scam trying to rip off your credit card number, not hurt your Mac.

The attack, which displays a message stating that your machine has been infected with viruses that only a "MacDefender" app can remove, has been spreading rapidly. MacDefender doesn't infect Macs with a virus, nor does it run a keylogger as a background process on your machine. It's simply trying to scare users into providing credit card information by registering an unneeded piece of software. MacSecurity and MacProtector are the same scam software, differing in name only.

It's been reported by ZDNet's Ed Bott that Apple is telling support reps not to assist with removing this malware. You're on your own, but TUAW is here to help you.

Difficulties Abound when upgrading a 2011 iMac's Hard Drive

Apple’s latest iMac models have a lot of things going for them. Unfortunately, easy upgradability is not on that list.

Upgrading an iMac has always been a challenge, but with these 2011 models, there's another hurdle besides the intimidating glass and LCD panel removal that awaits those who are brave enough to open one up.

If you’ve never been under the hood of the aluminum iMac, let me tell you that it’s not for the casual user. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps involved.

Looking to upgrade Your Mac's RAM? Don't look to Apple

There are a couple of reasons why you might consider installing more RAM on your Mac. These can include needing more for current tasks or purchasing more in anticipation of future use with OS and application upgrades; however, regardless of your reasons for upgrading, if you consider purchasing your upgrade from Apple then you will likely and unnecessarily pay nearly five times as much for your RAM.

The components in Apple's computers are for the most part the exact same as other PCs (same CPU, same video card, hard drive, and chipset), meaning that as with other PC systems there is no special requirement for the RAM it uses. Therefore, there is no need to go with Apple's offerings and pay high prices. For example, if you have a MacBook Pro and wish to purchase an 8GB RAM upgrade for it, Apple will currently charge you $400 for the upgrade, whereas RAM of similar specifications can be purchased for $75-85 elsewhere.

How to stream Amazon Cloud Player Music on iOS Devices

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users can now access Amazon's new Cloud Player on their mobile gadgets, bypassing the initial lack of support for Apple iDevices. It doesn't work flawlessly, but if you follow the instructions detailed below, you'll be streaming cloud music to your iPhone in no time.

The Cloud Player was previously off-limits and unsupported on Apple iOS devices, but after some apparent change on Amazon's end, those of you with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch can now launch the player simply by running it through Safari.

Open the Cloud Player online through Safari on your Apple mobile device. When you try to access the list of songs that you just uploaded, you'll receive a message that your browser is not supported. Just continue past that message, pick the songs you want to hear, and they should start playing. I tried the process on both an iPad and an iPod Touch, and it worked relatively smoothly.

Tips to take Your iPhone to the next Level

The iPhone has been around for nearly four years. And in that time, millions of people have bought and used iPhones, swiping and tapping their way through life. Most of those people believe they know how the iPhone works.

But dig a little deeper into the iPhone’s latest operating system, iOS 4.3 — available for the iPhone 3GS and the AT&T iPhone 4 — and there’s another layer to master. Beyond the realm of those basic iPhone controls is an advanced level of shortcuts and tweaks, some of which even hard-core users may not know exist.

Compromised Email? Avoid the Scams

Reader George Reilly writes with a concern about a possibly compromised email account:

I’ve heard something about a security breach that might have given hackers some of my private information. Is this true and what can I do to protect myself?

It’s true. A company named Epsilon, which is responsible for a lot of today’s direct e-mail marketing, was subject to an attack that allowed the baddies to obtain e-mail addresses and names associated with those addresses. This, in itself, isn’t that big a deal. It’s the rare e-mail address that’s entirely unknown.

What makes this particular attack a bigger deal is that these addresses are associated with specific, big-name companies, including Best Buy, Walgreens, Marriot Rewards, TiVo, Citigroup, US Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and the Home Shopping Network. This means that the people who have obtained these addresses and names can more easily fashion bogus e-mail messages that look like the real thing. For example, you’re a Citigroup customer and receive a legitimate-looking e-mail message from an alleged Citigroup representative, suggesting that you need to update your personal information. Do so and you could find unwelcome charges on your next credit card bill.

There are a few things you can do.

How to use Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon.com recently introduced Cloud Player, an Internet-based service that allows you to store up to 5GB of music and access that music from a Web browser, Android device, and—if you know the trick—an iOS device. Here are the steps for using Cloud Player.

How to extract Media Files from Your iPod or iOS Device

It’s always a good idea to back up your iTunes library. I do it somewhat obsessively, but there are simpler techniques that can do the trick as well.

But if disaster does strike and you lose everything, you may not be completely out of luck—assuming you’ve synced a good portion of your library to an iPod, iPhone, or iPad. In most cases, unless you’ve purchased something on one of your devices, Apple’s iTunes syncing is a one-way street—computer to device. But with some tricks and software, you can recover your music, videos, and more.

Restore with Apple’s Backup

This is the third and final post in my series on Apple’s Backup software for Mac OS X. The first offered a brief overview and the second described how to use Backup without a MobileMe account. In this article, I’ll explain how to restore your data with Backup.

Backup is a piece of software that Apple offers to MobileMe customers. A predecessor to Time Machine, Backup’s main purpose is to back up data in your home folder, though it can be customized to do more. Of course, even the most flexible backup solution is useless if the restoration process stinks. Fortunately, restoring with Backup is a breeze. Here’s how.

Protect Your Privacy: Browse the Web Safely

When you browse the Web, it’s like you’ve allowed a bunch of companies to implant a tracking device in your arm and a small camera in your head, recording where you go and what you look at. Thanks to ad networks, search engines, ISPs, and social networks, your online activities are tracked, analyzed, and sold. But there are a few things you can do to maintain some degree of privacy.

Make sure Your iOS Device is really Encrypted

Encrypting your data on your iPad or iPhone is a great way to protect yourself on the off chance you lose your device. Even if someone plugs your device into a computer, they ideally won’t be able to steal all of your data. On current iOS devices, encrypting is as simple as setting a passcode.

How to Set Up Find My iOS Device on Your iPhone and iPad

At one time or another, most of us have experienced that moment of panic upon realizing that we don’t remember where our iPhone or iPad is. Thankfully, included in the bag of tricks for these technological marvels is the ability to tell you where they are. All it takes on your part is a little forethought.

By setting up the free Find My iPhone (or iPad, or iPod touch) service, owners of iOS devices can not only locate their misplaced gadget on a map, but also remotely lock it or wipe all of the onboard data if need be. It’s one of the iOS’s most valuable features, but it’s also one that most people don’t know about until it’s too late.

Using the Personal Hotspot on Your AT&T iPhone

Back in February, Macworld ran a primer on using the Personal Hotspot feature that debuted with the Verizon iPhone. Since that time, Apple unveiled an updated iOS that brings Personal Hotspot to iPhones running on AT&T’s network as well. The following article is an updated version of our earlier primer for AT&T iPhone subscribers.

Use iMovie on 1st-Gen iPad without Jailbreak

iMovie and GarageBand — two of the most exciting new applications for the iPad — went live in the App Store yesterday, and although GarageBand is supported on the first-generation iPad, iMovie unfortunately isn’t. There is a workaround, however, and you don’t need to jailbreak!

Nine Ways to transfer Files from One Mac to Another

If you have two Macs—for instance, a desktop and a laptop—you may often find yourself transferring files from one to the other as you prepare to head off to work or school. You may also need to send files to friends or colleagues, and, in some cases, file size could make this difficult. Here are nine ways you can transfer files from one Mac to another.

The art of choosing a Multifunction Printer

Multifunction printers (MFPs), sometimes called All-in-Ones, are a boon to many small offices: they combine a number of different devices like printers, scanners, fax machines, and photocopiers into a single package that is both compact and cost-effective.

The flip side of all this convenience, however, is that choosing an MFP means finding a single unit that offers all the features you need in every area that it covers, with the added wrinkle that a decision in one area may well cascade into all sorts of unintended consequences affecting the other areas.

The first step in choosing the right MFP consists of figuring out which features you actually need. While there are many models of multifunction printers on the market, generally, they feature three primary functions: printing, scanning, and faxing.

10 Tips for mastering the iPad

With Apple releasing a second version of the iPad on Friday, it’s easy to feel as if that tablet has been around forever. In reality, though, the original iPad shipped less than a year ago—enough time to become familiar with the tablet’s ins and outs, but hardly long enough to truly master its controls.

Not to worry—we’ve assembled this list of tips for subduing the iPad’s on-screen keyboard, managing your multitude of apps, searching through the contents of your tablet, and more. Learn these skills, and you’ll soon impress everyone with your iPad-savvy, whether you’ve owned an iPad since day one or if the iPad 2 is your first model.

AT&T, Verizon iPad 2 Data Plans compared

With the original iPad, you had a simple choice to make: to 3G or not to 3G. But with the addition of Verizon 3G data options alongside those from longtime Apple partner AT&T, you now have to not only decide if you want 3G connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi, but which carrier you want service from as well.

Keep in mind that the plans on both Verizon and AT&T are offered on a no-contract, month-to-month basis. That means that you can sign up for a month, cancel the plan afterwards, and then sign up for a separate month at some point in the future. However, while AT&T now offers both prepaid and postpaid options for data plans, Verizon only allows you to pay for data upfront.

Of course, for many of you, the iPad 2 decision will come down to which data plan and cost works best for you.

Installing Lion Developer Preview

I’ve just installed the new Mac OS X Lion Developer Preview. As a developer, I am restricted from saying much about the new OS itself. However, I believe I can mention a few details about how the Installer works.

It’s worth discussing because there are significant changes from prior OS X installations — changes that will affect everyone when the new OS finally goes on sale to the public.

Apple updates Software for 6th Gen iPod nano

Although iOS devices seem to get all the attention these days, it’s good to know that Apple hasn’t completely forgotten about the other members of the iPod family. The company has just released iPod software update version 1.1 for the 6th generation iPod nano, which adds two new features to the tiny touchscreen player.

New in the 1.1 software are the abilities to completely turn off the iPod (rather than just put it to sleep) and to control music or radio playback using the Sleep/Wake button.

Using the Personal Hotspot on your Verizon iPhone

Throw away your MiFi! Forego the heartbreak of tethering! Give up the struggle of Internet Sharing from a mobile broadband modem through your laptop! The Verizon iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature can slice (through your mobile bill), dice (up your cables), and make pounds and pounds of Wi-Fi devices connect to the Internet. But, wait! There’s more! Personal Hotspot does its job well, too.

The Personal Hotspot turns a Verizon iPhone into a portable wireless router that can share its Internet connection with other devices. Up to five pieces of hardware with standard Wi-Fi adapters can connect to the iPhone’s micro base station. It can’t, however relay one Wi-Fi network to other devices—for instance, it can’t share an expensive hotel Wi-Fi connection with colleagues’ machines, an iPad, and itself.

Personal Hotspot replaces and expands the tethering feature introduced on AT&T iPhones with iOS 4 (and for iPhones outside the U.S. with iOS 3). Tethering is a one-to-one connection that allows a single computer or other compatible device to use a phone as modem over Bluetooth or via a USB cable. Personal Hotspot includes both of those options as well as sharing via Wi-Fi.

Merge Multiple Photos into a Panorama

A panoramic photo, printed and framed, can be the ultimate memory of a far-flung journey or can simply re-create something interesting that you see every day. All you need is a digital camera and some creative vision. Here's how to make panoramas using Adobe Photoshop CS4 or CS5 or Photoshop Elements 8 or 9. If you don't have any of those programs, you can also create panoramic photos with shareware such as DoubleTake ($25) or freeware like Hugin.

AT&T and Verizon iPhone Plans Compared

Many of you probably consider an Apple-Verizon deal the second coming of the iPhone. Perhaps you’ve suffered on AT&T since June 29, 2007, or maybe you’ve been biding your time with that dilapidated Motorola RAZR, waiting for the day the iPhone was to be liberated. Well, that day has come, so we did your Verizon iPhone homework for you to see how the carrier compares against AT&T, besides offering a potentially more reliable network.

I’ll break down the carriers’s voice, SMS, and data plans separately, since there’s a lot to digest here.

What Time is it? Your iPad may not be Sure

The Wi-Fi-only iPad gets its time from an internal clock that, unlike Mac OS X, is not slaved to an external time standard. As a result, your iPad’s clock can drift, sometimes substantially, and some apps may be affected. Here’s everything you need to know: the cause, the impact and potential fixes.

3G iPads can get time signals from a cell tower and update their internal clock to compensate for drift. While cell towers can often be off by as much as 30 seconds, it’s usually just a few seconds. Owners of 3G iPads are in generally good shape in that regard. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi-only iPad (and the iPod touch) is alone and helpless in the current version of iOS.

This Wi-Fi-only iPad clock drift is an issue for astronomers, laboratory workers, pilots, and other technical people who may be depending on the iPad’s clock because of other related technical apps they use that access that clock. Let’s look at the Mac first, by comparison.

How to make a Solid Mac Backup Plan

You know you should back up your data. And many of you also know that Apple’s made it easy to do with the Time Machine technology that's built into Leopard and Snow Leopard. Yet the majority of people do not regularly back up their data. While some may fail to do so because they believe it’s a complicated process, and others because of their misplaced faith in the robustness of hard drives, many Mac users simply don’t have a reasonable idea of what to back up and how to best go about it. That’s where we can help.

How to get Free Books on Your iPad

You’ll have to pay for the latest and greatest books at the iBookstore, Amazon, and elsewhere. But there are literally millions of free eBooks and documents available on the Internet, already formatted for your iPad — if you know where to find them.

There are three basic things to know about this process. The first is knowing a little about file formats for eBooks, the second is knowing where to find the free eBooks, and the third is managing your eBook files. I’ll start with the file formats, because they dictate how we manage the eBook files.

AT&T and Verizon iPhone Plans Compared

Many of you probably consider an Apple-Verizon deal the second coming of the iPhone. Perhaps you’ve suffered on AT&T since June 29, 2007, or maybe you’ve been biding your time with that dilapidated Motorola RAZR, waiting for the day the iPhone was to be liberated. Well, that day has come, so we did your Verizon iPhone homework for you to see how the carrier compares against AT&T, besides offering a potentially more reliable network.