Apple Tip for Subscribers - February 08, 2018

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Over a year ago, I wrote a blog about backing up your computer, found here. In that blog post, I primarily spoke about backing up your computer, and why it is so important. It is extremely important, and can relieve a lot of potential headaches, so if you haven't checked out that blog post yet, please do so.

Right now, however, I wanted to speak about a different type of backup. This one actually seems to be more and more relevant each day. I couldn't count the number of times that someone has brought me a phone saying, "I dropped my iPhone in the river and now it won't turn on, but I need my pictures off of it."

My initial response is always, "Were you backing up your phone?" The blank stares typically answer my question. 

Let's make a few things clear, syncing your information to iCloud is NOT the same as backing up your phone to iCloud. On your iPhone (if you're running iOS 11), if you navigate to Settings > Apple ID at the top of the page > iCloud or if you're on an operating system earlier than iOS 11, simply go to Settings > iCloud which is about halfway down the page, you will see a list of items that can be toggled. This list will include Contacts, Reminders, Photos, Notes, etc., etc.

To make one note - if you're phone does go belly-up, and you purchase a new phone or navigate to, you can retrieve all of those items that were syncing. But quite often, people don't realize exactly what they are synching. Just because iCloud is turned on doesn't mean that all of your pictures are backing up. If you truly want your pictures backed up, you need to enable iCloud Photo Library, which will upload all of your pictures to iCloud.

Don't worry, this is where the staunch opposition of iCloud users get their wish. The most stable way to do a to your computer. Not only are you backing up your iPhone/iPad to a physical device, hopefully you are backing up your computer, which then technically means you have to backups of your device.

To achieve this, plug your device into your computer (for the sake of this article, we'll use an iPhone). Open up the iTunes on your computer, Mac or PC. Allow a minute for your computer to recognize your device, and then you should see the device button (pictured below).


Once that loads, you will see the option to "Back Up To This Computer" and to "Encrypt iPhone Backup." If you check the box, as show below) then watch the area at the top of iTunes where you currently see the  logo, you will see that your device will start backing up.

The best thing about an encrypted iPhone backup to your computer is that it saved all of the passwords, Wifi Settings, Website History, and Health Data, so if you use an Apple Watch, you should absolutely do it this way. 


Note: You will have to set a password to encrypt your backup. As with any password, make sure you remember it, because if you don't, you cannot recover that data.

Apple Tip for Subscribers - November 22, 2017

I got a very interesting question emailed to me this last week, so I decided I would write a little bit about it.

The question was: Hi! I have a question about our iPad. Is there a reason why suddenly it would take FOREVER to charge? And lose its battery super fast? Is there a way to fix it?

The possible answer (I say "possible" because it's almost impossible to be certain): First, to address the issue of a iPad taking forever to charge, there is an iPad charging block and an iPhone charging block. The picture below shows the difference. 

The charging block you see at the top is an iPhone charging block (also compatible with the iPad Mini). It is a 5V charger. The other is an iPad charging block that is a 12V charger. Quite often, I hear of people attempting to charge their iPad with their iPhone charging block. Because of the voltage discrepancy, you will notice that it will take more than twice as long to get a charge out of the smaller block as opposed to the larger one. (Continue reading below)


One thing you can do is use an iPad charging block on your iPhone. Although it is not ideal, and constant use over a long period of time will take a toll on your iPhone battery and decrease overall lifetime of your iPhone, if you're looking to quickly charge your iPhone, an iPad block actually works quite well. You can get these at an Apple store or any AASP (Apple Authorized Service Provider) like Simply Mac.

To answer the question of the battery dying quickly --  it is always hard to tell what is triggering that. One reason is if you have your iPad or iPhone never set up to Auto-Lock the display, which means the display will stay illuminated until you personally lock it. This is a common reason for quick battery depletion. To check your Auto-Lock settings, on your device, navigate to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock(shown below)

Another possible reason is that many people never fully close your apps. If you tap the home button after using an application, yes, the application no longer is showing on your display, but it is still running. If you double tap the home button, you will see a display similar to the picture below. Swipe up on each application to fully close it.(shown below)


Lastly, there is a function called Background App Refresh. This means that certain applications will continue to refresh in the background, when they are still running. To solve this, first completely close the application with the method I stated above, and to prevent background app refresh from happening, navigate to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Toggle off any applications that you do not want refreshing in the background (shown right).


This is applicable to iPads and iPhones, so I hope this helps you get some extra battery time out of your devices.

If you have any questions, visit our website below or email me at

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!



Apple Tip for Subscribers - November 16, 2017

Have you ever been using your computer, outside, in the middle of the summer?

Being a former wedding DJ, I have spent many summer days outside, unshaded, with the hot sun rays shining straight on to the display of my computer. I had my display Brightness turned all of the way up, and I still couldn't see. Even worse, the music program I was using had a dark background, making it even more difficult to see. There is a work-around, however.

If you navigate on your Apple computer to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display, you will see a checkbox titled Invert Colors. What this does is takes all of the colors across your display and completely inverts them.

To make things easier, if you go into your System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts, on the left margin you will see, again, the Accessibility option. Third from the bottom of the ensuing screen, you'll see a shortcut to invert the colors on your Mac. The shortcut is Control (⌃) + Option(⌥) + Command (⌘) + 8 .

This was huge for me. Now I could just enter a quick key command to invert my display colors, then once it was dark enough to see my screen again, I could invert it back. Here is the before and after.



Happy browsing!


Apple Tip for Subscribers - 2017 Edition

As you may have noticed from my blog, my recent push has been freeing up space on your devices. I have stated a few ways to either free up space, or at the very least see where your storage is allocated.

On your computer, there is an easy way to get a little space back. This is commonly overlooked by most Mac users. There is an group of files that are space-wasters. They are downloaders. I frequently refer to these as Unwanted Downloads. These files are known by their file extension. A file extension is the (dot)whatever at the end of a file. Some photographs are JPEG format, and some music is in MP3 format. Like if I was listening to Run by George Strait, the file would most likely be called "George Strait - Run.mp3".

I know that the example I just gave is a long way around it, but the files that are not needed are of the file extension: .dmg, .pkg, .zip, and .exe. This first one (.dmg) is a disk image. That, along with .pkg is simply a downloader for a Mac program. The issue is that once most people download a program and install it, they forget the installer. For the majority of the time, these are still left in the user's Downloads folder.

You can find these by going to Finder > Downloads. In the top right corner, you will see a Search bar. Search for .dmg, then click the Downloads button in the middle near the top. After you located the .dmg files, you can delete them and put them in your Trash. Once you're done, go through the other file extensions (.pkg, .zip, and .exe). Shown below is what happens when I searched my Downloads folder for a .zip file.


Once you put these in the Trash, it should free up a little space on your Mac. Don't forget to empty the Trash.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and spread the word if you like the Weekly Apple Tips.


Apple Tip for Subscribers - 2017 Edition

Does your desktop look like this? And do your folders/files look similar?


Well, we can fix this. Many people have problems when it comes to organizing the files properly. The biggest hinderance is the fact that it can be time consuming, but in the long run, it will be worth it. For starters, having a desktop full of icons can actually slow down the startup time of your computer. Reason being that when the machine is loading with the Apple logo and progress bar, it begins trying to populate your desktop. If your desktop is convoluted with icons, then your computer has to load each individual icon separately. For that reason, I keep my desktop looking like this:



I keep my desktop completely clear, but it is not an easy task. The best way to do it is to have proper organization within Finder (which is the Application that organizes all of your files and allows you to locate different files within your computer system. It is ALWAYS the application on the far left of your dock (the bar at the bottom of the screen holding your most-used apps).

What I try to do to keep organized, is to first navigate to my Home folder. It is the folder with which contains subfolders called Documents, Pictures, Desktop, Music, etc. Its symbol is a small house and usually states the name of the computer. In my case, as you can see at the top of the window, it is called stuartashenbrenner. 


Now you can navigate into these subfolders to begin your organization. In order to create a new folder, simply right click in any blank space and select New Folder (the shortcut is Command (⌘) + Shift + N). You can then start creating more subfolder that will allow you to organize your information. Take the example below - you can see how many subfolders I have created to reach the final video file of an experiment I did with the terrible program, MacKeeper. Not only does this allow you to find files quicker, but it is hugely helpful when simply doing day-to-day tasks on your computer.



Hopefully this will help make your life a little easier while using your Mac. If you have any questions, please navigate to our website below and send me an email.

Apple Tip for Subscribers - 2017 Edition

There seems to always be that one moment when your computer inevitably freezes. You cannot click on any windows or close any tabs. 

Before we can ask the question, "Why did this happen?" we have to get rid of that pesky window that will not close. So, what is the easiest way to do this? It's called Force Quit.

To Force Quit an application, you can go to the Apple Menu () in the top left of your screen, and navigate to Force Quit in the dropdown menu. If you are comfortable with keyboard shortcuts, you can access it slightly quicker by pressing the Command(⌘) + Option + Escape keys. This shortcut is also handy if your computer is completely frozen, and you are unable to click anywhere on your screen. You simply then click on the application that is giving you problems (it may also say "Not Responding" next to the problematic application), and either press Force Quit or hit <Enter> on your keyboard.

After you close the window, you may ask why this happened. There are many, many reasons why it could, but probably one of the most common resolutions, and this is no joke, is restart your computer. I had an old co-worker whose email signature said, "Did you turn it off and turn it back on again?" It may seem simple and trivial to try something like that, but let me put it in a metaphor. If I, Stuart, were to stay awake for 48 hours straight, there is a good chance that I would start saying something I wouldn't normally say, doing things I might not normally do, etc, etc. The same goes for your computer, iPhone, and iPad. Make sure you regularly power it off (I try to make sure I restart my phone at least once a week). Your devices will thank you.



Apple Tip for Subscribers - 2017 Edition

Working with two windows or apps side-by-side became much easier since OS X 10.11 El Capitan, thanks to Split Screen view. By holding down a left-click on an app's green maximize button in the top-left hand side, you can then drag it to be positioned on the left or right-hand side of the display.

You'll then need to pick a second open window or app to snap to the opposite side. Split Screen obscures the launcher and OS X's Menu Bar, so you get a bit more screen real-estate and fewer distractions.

Dividing the separating line between the two apps lets you make them smaller or larger, which can come in handy for keeping an eye on live information such as sports scores at one end while being productive on the other.


Apple Tip for Subscribers - 2017 Edition

Today, I will show you a nice function with Finder, Apple's primary file container (similar to Microsoft's Start menu)

When you open your Finder Application, on the left side, there is a sidebar. If you notice, my sidebar is quite intricate, and it holds many of my most frequently visited folders. If you cannot see your Favorites, press the "Hide" or "Show" button near the top. To customize this sidebar, simply navigate to a commonly used folder, click & drag it over to your sidebar. 

If these tips seem too simple or too advanced, feel free to let me know, and I would be happy to tailor them to your needs.