If you’re running macOS 10.13.4 High Sierra or macOS 10.14 Mojave, you may have seen a dialog that says an app isn’t optimized for your Mac. The message differs slightly between High Sierra and Mojave, with the High Sierra version telling you the developer needs to update the app to improve compatibility whereas Mojave saying bluntly that the app won’t work with future versions of macOS.
What’s going on here, what should you do, and when should you do it?
What’s Going On: 32-bit and 64-bit Apps
Over a decade ago, Apple started to transition all the chips used in Macs, along with macOS itself, from a 32-bit architecture to a 64-bit architecture. Without getting into technical details, 64-bit systems and apps can access dramatically more memory and enjoy significantly faster performance.
Apple knew it would take years before most people were running 64-bit hardware and 64-bit-savvy versions of macOS, so it allowed macOS to continue running older 32-bit apps. However, maintaining that backward compatibility has a cost, in terms of both performance and testing, so at its Worldwide Developer Conference in 2017, Apple warned developers that High Sierra would be the last version of macOS to support 32-bit apps “without compromise.” At the next WWDC in June 2018, Apple announced that macOS 10.14 Mojave would be the last version of macOS to run 32-bit apps.
Happily, the only “compromise” for 32-bit apps in Mojave is the warning dialog, which appears every 30 days when you launch an older app. But the writing is on the wall: 32-bits apps will cease working in macOS 10.15.
How Do You Identify 32-bit Apps?
Apple provides a tool to help you find 32-bit apps. Follow these steps:
- From the Apple menu, choose About This Mac and then click the System Report button.
- In the System Information utility that opens, scroll down to Software in the sidebar and select Applications. It may take a few minutes to build the list of every app on all mounted drives.
- When it finishes, click the 64-bit column header (No means 32-bit; Yes means 64-bit) to sort the list, and select an app to see its details in the bottom pane.
This technique works in both High Sierra and Mojave, but in Mojave, System Information includes a better-formatted section, called Legacy Software, that also provides a list of 32-bit apps. However, this list may be smaller because it includes only those apps that you’ve launched. Since it’s likely that you open old 32-bit apps only occasionally, you can’t trust the Legacy Software list to be complete.
If you find System Information’s Applications list overwhelming, check out the free 32-bitCheck utility from Howard Oakley. It performs exactly the same task but lets you focus on a particular folder and save the results to a text file for later reference.
What’s Your Next Step?
Once you know which apps won’t work in macOS 10.15, you can ponder your options. Luckily, you have some time. We expect Apple to release macOS 10.15 in September 2019, but you don’t need to upgrade right away—in fact, we recommend that you wait a few months after that to allow Apple time to fix bugs.
That said, we do encourage upgrading eventually, and if you buy a new Mac after September 2019, it will come with macOS 10.15. So you need to establish a plan—it’s better to know what you’re going to do than to be forced into action if you have to replace your Mac on short notice. For each 32-bit app on your Mac, you have three options:
- Delete it: It’s not uncommon to have old apps that you haven’t used in years and won’t miss. There’s no need to waste drive space on them in macOS 10.15.
- Upgrade it: Apps in active development will likely have a new version available. The main questions are how much the upgrade will cost and if there are compatibility issues associated with upgrading. You can upgrade at any time, although it’s likely worth waiting until you’re ready to move to macOS 10.15 to minimize costs. The apps that cause the most irritation here are things like the Adobe Creative Suite—Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign—that require switching to a monthly subscription.
- Replace it: If no upgrade is available, the cost of upgrading is too high, or upgrading comes with other negatives, it’s time to look for an alternative. This can take some time, so it’s worth starting soon to ensure that the replacement will provide the features you need before macOS 10.15 forces the decision.
Needless to say, if you’d like recommendations about how to proceed with any particular app or workflow, get in touch with us!
Social Media: Have you seen dialogs warning that an app isn’t optimized for your Mac? Here’s what’s going on, what you should do, and when you should do it:
You probably fall into one of two camps: people who haven’t the foggiest idea what pressing Command-Shift-3 or Command-Shift-4 do on the Mac, and those who use those keyboard shortcuts regularly to take screenshots. Either way, macOS 10.14 Mojave makes it easier than ever to create a still image of what’s on your Mac’s screen and to record a video of actions you take on the screen. (And don’t worry, the old shortcuts still work just as they always have.)
For those who aren’t screenshot takers, why would you want to? The big reason is to share something you’re looking at, perhaps to send a friend a map to where in a park you want to meet or to tell tech support about the error dialog you keep getting. And a screen recording is a great way to show an employee how to perform a task without having to write it all up.
To start with Mojave’s new tools, press Command-Shift-5 and look at the controls that appear in a floating control bar. (If you open it accidentally, click the X button or press Escape to close it.)
The first three buttons help you take screenshots, with a few welcome enhancements over the Mac’s longstanding screenshot capabilities. The resulting screenshot will always be in PNG format.
- Capture Entire Screen: Click the first button and then click anywhere to make a screenshot of the entire screen. If you have a second monitor attached to your Mac, you can click anywhere on that screen to capture it instead.
- Capture Selected Window: To focus on a particular window, click the second button and then click the camera pointer on the desired window. This also works with dialogs and menus; make sure they’re visible before invoking the screenshot controls. A tip: press the Option key when clicking the camera pointer to capture the object without its drop shadow.
- Capture Selected Portion: What if neither of those is quite right? Click the third button, drag out, position, and resize the selection rectangle over the spot you want, and click Capture on the control bar. Note how the rectangle shows the dimensions of the image it will create as you resize—that can be useful.
There’s also an Options menu on the control bar. Click it to choose which folder or app should receive the screenshot and if you need a 5- or 10-second timer to get the screen looking right first. You can also choose to show a floating thumbnail of the screenshot in the lower-right corner of the screen for quick markup or trashing, remember the size and location of the selection rectangle, and show the pointer in the screenshot.
The fourth and fifth buttons are for creating screen recordings, and they’re similar to the screen capture choices. When you select one of them, the contents of the Options menu change, and the Capture button changes to Record. The movie will always be a QuickTime movie using the H.264 codec.
- Record Entire Screen: Click the fourth button and then Record to start recording actions on the entire screen.
- Record Selected Portion: The problem with recording the entire screen is that the resulting file can get big. To focus on a small area of the screen, click the fifth button. Then drag out, position, and resize the rectangle in which the recording will take place, and finally, click Record.
However you start a recording, you can stop it in one of two ways. A stop button always appears on the menu bar; click it to finish and save the recording. On a smaller laptop screen, it’s possible for the menu bar button to be obscured, so here’s an alternative method: press Command-Shift-5 again, and the recording controls are replaced by a stop button.
You can record yourself speaking while you make a movie of what’s happening on the screen. To do that, open the Options menu and choose Built-in Microphone. Another special movie recording option is Show Mouse Clicks, which puts a dark circle around the pointer in the recording whenever you click.
That’s it! Mojave’s new screenshot and screen recording controls offer more options and are easier to use than the previous techniques, as long as you remember the Command-Shift-5 keyboard shortcut to bring them up. Practice that a few times, and you’ll be ready the next time you want to capture a funny dialog or strange occurrence on your Mac.
With macOS 10.14 Mojave, Apple has beefed up the Mac’s privacy so it more closely resembles privacy in iOS. You’ve noticed that when you launch a new app on your iPhone or iPad, it often prompts for access to your photos or contacts, the camera or microphone, and more. The idea behind those prompts is that you should always be aware of how a particular app can access your personal data or features of your device. You might not want to let some new game thumb through your photos or record your voice.
macOS has been heading in this direction, but Mojave makes apps play this “Mother, May I?” game in more ways. As a result, particularly after you first upgrade, you may be bombarded with dialogs asking for various permissions. For instance, when you first make a video call with Skype, it’s going to ask for access to the camera and the microphone. Grant permission and Skype won’t have to ask again.
Skype’s requests are entirely reasonable—it wouldn’t be able to do its job without such access. That applies more generally, too. In most cases, apps will ask for access for a good reason, and if you want the app to function properly, you should give it access.
However, be wary if a permission dialog appears when:
- You haven’t just launched a new app
- You aren’t doing anything related to the request
- You don’t recognize the app making the request
There’s no harm in denying access; the worst that can happen is that the app won’t work. (And if it’s malicious, you don’t want it to work!) You can always grant permission later.
To see which permissions you’ve granted or denied, open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy. A list of categories appears on the left; click one to see which apps have requested access. If you’ve granted access, the checkbox next to the app will be selected; otherwise it will be empty.
You’ll notice that the lock in the lower-left corner is closed. To make changes, click it and sign in as an administrator when prompted.
Most of these categories are self-explanatory, but it might not always be obvious why an app wants permission. In the screenshot above, for instance, Google Chrome has been granted access to the Mac’s camera. Why? So Google Hangouts and other Web-based video-conferencing services can work.
There are five categories (including three not showing above) that could use additional explanation:
- Accessibility: Apps that request accessibility access want to control your Mac. In essence, they want to be able to pretend to click the mouse, type on the keyboard, and generally act like a user. Utility and automation software often needs such access.
- Full Disk Access: This category is a catch-all for access to areas on your drive that aren’t normally available to apps, such as data in Mail, Messages, Safari, Home, and more, including Time Machine backups and some admin settings. Backup and synchronization utilities may need full disk access, in particular. An app can’t request full disk access in the normal way; you must add it manually by clicking the + button under the list and navigating to the app in the Applications folder.
- Automation: The Mac has long had a way for apps to communicate with and control one another: Apple events. An app could theoretically steal information from another via Apple events, so Mojave added the Automation category to give you control over which apps can control which other apps. You’ll see normal permission requests, but they’ll explain both sides of the communication.
- Analytics: The Analytics privacy settings are completely different—they let you specify whether or not you want to share information about how you use apps with Apple and the developers of the apps you use. For most people, it’s fine to allow this sharing.
- Advertising: Finally, the Advertising options give you some control over the ads that you may see in Apple apps. In general, we recommend selecting Limit Ad Tracking, and if you click Reset Advertising Identifier, any future connection between you and the ads you’ve seen will be severed from past data. There’s no harm in doing it. It’s worth clicking the View Ad Information and About Advertising and Privacy buttons to learn more about what Apple does with ads.
So if you’ve been seeing repeated requests for permission after you upgraded to Mojave, now you know why these dialogs keep popping up. They’re a bit annoying at first, but the added privacy is worthwhile, and once you’ve granted permission to an app, you shouldn’t hear from it again.
With last year’s macOS 10.13 High Sierra, Apple made no sweeping changes, instead focusing on refinements and bug fixes. In keeping with the company’s alternating cycle of releases, this year’s macOS 10.14 Mojave boasts plenty of new features.
Dark Mode and Dynamic Desktop
In a major visual change, Mojave features a new Dark mode that reverses the standard black-on-white look with light gray text on a dark background throughout the interface—change it in System Preferences > General. If your eyes find white window backgrounds too bright, Dark mode will be a boon. Or, if the current bright approach doesn’t bother you, Dark mode may seem muddy and hard to read because of its reduced contrast.
Dark mode may be useful, but Dynamic Desktop is just eye candy. Select either Mojave or Solar Gradients in System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop, and your wallpaper will change throughout the day.
Finder Stacks and Groups
Turning to more practical changes, Mojave’s Finder boasts a few new features to help you better navigate a cluttered Desktop and overflowing folders. Control-click the Desktop and choose Use Stacks, and the Finder will combine all the related icons on your Desktop into stacks. It collects them by kind by default, but you can instead have it group them by various dates or even by tags. Click a stack to see what’s inside.
Groups are like Stacks, but within a Finder window. With a Finder window open, choose View > Use Groups, and note that you can use the View > Group By submenu to change the grouping from kind to application, date, size, and tag.
Quick Actions in the Finder and Quick Look
The Finder’s new tricks go even further, with Quick Actions. Controlled in System Preferences > Extensions > Finder, these quick actions let you rotate or mark up a document within the Finder’s preview pane or a Quick Look window (select a file and press the Space bar). Other quick actions let you create PDFs and trim video.
Most useful of these is the Markup quick action, which gives you most of Preview’s editing tools—cropping, annotating, and more—right in a Finder or Quick Look window.
Still and Video Screen Captures, with Editing
Markup also features prominently in Mojave’s new screen capture interface. You’ve long been able to press Command-Shift-3 for a screenshot of the entire screen and Command-Shift-4 for a portion of the screen. Now, press Command-Shift-5 for an interface to those capabilities, plus video screen recording, which was also possible before with QuickTime Player.
These capabilities may not be new, but they’re a lot easier to use in Mojave, and there are a few new options, such as being able to keep the same size selection across multiple screen captures and include the pointer in screenshots.
Continuity Camera with iPhone
Have you ever wanted to insert a photo or scanned page into an email message or document? Mojave makes this easier with Continuity Camera, a feature that lets you use your iPhone within a Mac app. In Mail, for instance, start a new message, and then choose File > Insert from iPhone > Take Photo/Scan Documents. Either way, your iPhone immediately switches to the appropriate photo or scanning mode, and the resulting photo or scan lands in your message.
iOS Apps: News, Stocks, Voice Memos, Home
Apple has been emphatic that it is not planning to retire macOS in favor of iOS. However, the company does want to make it easier for developers to write apps that run in both operating systems. As the first phase of that strategy, Apple has ported four iOS apps to the Mac: News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home.
They look a little different from their iOS cousins, as they should, but they work similarly, and you can sync their settings and data between your devices via iCloud (look in System Preferences > iCloud on the Mac and in Settings > Your Name > iCloud in iOS).
There are a variety of other small changes throughout Mojave and in Apple’s standard apps, and we’ll share more of those in future posts, so stay tuned!
Social Media: There’s a lot going on in macOS 10.14 Mojave, so read on to learn about Dark mode, Dynamic Desktop, Stacks, Groups, Quick Actions, and even four apps that Apple brought over from iOS.
Find Wasted Space with Storage Management
Between photos, videos, music, and downloads, it’s easy to fill up your Mac’s drive, particularly if it has fast but small flash storage. A MacBook Air might have only 128 GB of drive space, and that goes quickly. Numerous utilities exist to help you find and delete unnecessary files, like GrandPerspective, OmniDiskSweeper, and WhatSize, but as of macOS 10.12 Sierra, Apple provides a built-in tool to clean house: the Storage Management window.
Storage Management is hidden inside the System Information app and is most easily accessed by choosing > About This Mac, clicking the Storage button, and then clicking Manage…but wait! Before you click Manage, look at the About This Mac window’s Storage view.
Hover over each colored bar to see how much space is taken up by a particular type of data. The white space at the end of the bar is what’s still available. You can’t do much here, but the view gives you a quick overview of your drive usage.
When you click Manage, System Information launches, and the Storage Management window appears. (You can also open System Information manually and choose Window > Storage Management.) In the sidebar at the left, ignore Recommendations and look at the rest of the categories. They will vary a bit between Macs, depending on what apps you use, but they correspond to the colored bars you saw in the About This Mac window’s Storage view.
For some, mostly app-specific categories, like Mail and Photos, Storage Management merely tells you how much space the app’s data occupies and lets you either enable space optimization (downloading only recent attachments for Mail, and keeping only optimized photos on the Mac) or if that has been done already, open the app. To save more space, you must delete unnecessary data from within the app itself.
More interesting are the Applications, Documents, and iOS Files categories, all of which may contain gigabytes of unnecessary data. iOS Files, for instance, shows any device backups and software updates that are stored on your Mac’s drive. It’s worth keeping the latest backup of devices you still use, but many people have older backups and unnecessary updates kicking around.
The Applications category shown above lists your apps and is sorted by size by default. But try clicking the column header for Kind and scrolling down. You can probably delete most apps tagged as Duplicates or Older Versions. Similarly, click the Last Accessed column header to see which apps you haven’t launched in years. Many of them can probably go too. Plus, you can redownload anything tagged as coming from the App Store, so you can toss those apps if you want.
In Documents, you’ll see three buttons: Large Files, Downloads, and File Browser. Large Files focuses on files over 50 MB in size, Downloads shows you the contents of your Downloads folder (much of which you likely don’t need), and File Browser gives you a column view that’s sorted by file size and shows sizes next to each item. It’s great for trawling through your drive to find see what’s consuming all that space.
In any of these views other than File Browser, hover over any item and you see an X button for deleting the file and a magnifying glass button that reveals the file in the Finder. To delete multiple files at once, just Command-click or Shift-click to select them and then press the Delete key to remove them all at once. Storage Management gives you the combined size of all the selected files and warns you before deleting the files, so you can use this technique to preview how much space a multi-file deletion will save. In File Browser, select one or more files and either drag them to the Trash icon in the Dock, or press Command-Delete.
If your Mac’s drive is filling up—if it has less than 10 percent free space—consider using the Storage Management window’s tools to search out and delete files that are just wasting space.
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When Apple first announced macOS 10.13 High Sierra and iOS 11, one of the promised features was Messages in iCloud, a way of syncing your conversations in Messages via your iCloud account. Despite the fact that Messages already tries to sync its conversations between your devices, this feature proved difficult for Apple to deliver, and it didn’t appear until the recently released macOS 10.3.5 and iOS 11.4.
The idea behind Messages in iCloud is that it, as the name suggests, stores your conversations and their attachments in your iCloud account, rather than on each device individually. That’s a win because it can offload non-trivial amounts of data to iCloud, freeing up more space on that 16 GB iPhone.
Because the primary source of Messages data is in iCloud, the conversations should also sync perfectly and more quickly than in the past, something that was often frustrating when conversations didn’t quite match up across device. (iOS 11.4 also fixes a bug that could cause some messages to appear out of order.) Even better, deleting a conversation or attachment on one of your devices deletes it from all of them.
The main thing to be aware of before enabling Messages in iCloud is that it does count against your iCloud storage space. That said, if you back up your iOS devices to iCloud, removing Messages data from each device—such as your iPad and iPhone—and storing a single copy in iCloud should result in less overall iCloud usage. (And, realistically, if Messages in iCloud would make you need a higher tier of iCloud storage, you were probably going to need to upgrade soon for other reasons anyway.)
Enabling Messages in iCloud is simple.
- On the Mac, open Messages > Preferences > Accounts and select the Enable Messages in iCloud checkbox.
- In iOS, go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud, and turn on Messages.
There are three quirks to be aware of:
- You won’t be able to enable Messages in iCloud unless you’ve enabled two-factor authentication for the Apple ID associated with your iCloud account. It’s a good idea for security reasons anyway!
- On the Mac, in the Messages account preferences, there’s a Sync Now button you can click if, for some reason, Messages hasn’t synced automatically. We don’t yet know if or when that will be necessary.
- When you first enable Messages in iCloud in iOS, you may see a note at the bottom of the screen saying that uploading to iCloud requires the device to be plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi. That’s necessary only for the first big upload.
Should you wish to turn off Messages in iCloud, be aware that it may take some time for each device to download all the messages.
For most people, Messages in iCloud is a no-brainer. Its syncing works the way you’d expect, complete with quick updates and universal removal of deleted conversations. The main reason you might not want to enable the feature is if you have only the free 5 GB of iCloud storage and aren’t interested in paying for more space.
Social Media: With macOS 10.13.5 and iOS 11.4, Apple finally delivered the long-promised Messages in iCloud feature. What’s the point of it, and should you turn it on? Here’s the answer:
As students prepare to head off to college, Apple has updated the Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro line to provide even more powerful options for students and professionals alike. The changes are primarily under the hood, focusing on faster performance, more RAM, and larger SSD-based storage, but there are a few modest physical changes too, including a quieter keyboard and a True Tone display.
Despite these improvements, pricing remains the same as for last year’s models.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro that has function keys instead of a Touch Bar remains the same, as do the 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Air.
The new MacBook Pros move to Intel’s 8th-generation Core i7 and Core i9 processors. Previously, the 13-inch MacBook Pro used dual-core CPUs, but they now get quad-core chips. And the 15-inch models jump from quad-core chips to processors sporting 6 cores. More cores are better because more tasks can be split up between them, preventing one processor-intensive task from bogging down others.
Processing power is just one aspect of overall performance. If your Mac doesn’t have enough RAM for the apps you’re using, it has to fall back on much slower virtual memory. For those who use memory-intensive apps, the new 15-inch MacBook can now take up to 32 GB of RAM, up from a maximum of 16 GB. RAM in the 15-inch models is also DDR4, which is faster and uses less power than the DDR3 RAM used before.
Finally, if you don’t have enough fast SSD storage in a MacBook Pro, you may be forced to store large items like your Photos library and Parallels Desktop virtual machines on a slow external hard disk. The new MacBook Pros can have a lot more built-in SSD storage, but it’s pricey. The 13-inch models max out at 2 TB, which will add $1400 to your bill, and the 15-inch models can go to 4 TB, assuming you have $3400 to spare. The 512 GB ($200) and 1 TB ($600) upgrades are more reasonably priced.
Apple continues to tweak the controversial butterfly-switch keyboard. Some people haven’t liked the shallow key travel and how much noise it makes, and its keys have a tendency to stick. The new MacBook Pros feature a keyboard that’s quieter and hopefully more reliable.
You’ll also notice the new Retina displays with True Tone. First introduced with the iPad Pro and added to the iPhone in 2017, True Tone adjusts the white balance of the screen based on ambient light to make the screen more comfortable to view. It should be particularly appreciated by students working late into the night.
You know how you can issue commands to Apple’s virtual assistant on your iPhone or iPad by saying “Hey Siri”? That’s possible in the new MacBook Pros also, thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s new T2 chip. The T2 also manages the Touch Bar, facilitates a secure boot feature, and encrypts files on the fly to increase security.
These MacBook Pros are the first to support Bluetooth 5.0, which is backward compatible with Bluetooth 4.2. As Bluetooth 5.0 peripherals become more widespread, they’ll be able to communicate with the MacBook Pro at higher data rates and longer ranges—think of Bluetooth working across your entire house, rather than being limited to a single room.
Price and Availability
The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1799, and the 15-inch model at $2399. With both models, you can choose between silver and space gray, and they’re available now.
Our take is that, like most of Apple’s speed-bump upgrades, these new MacBook Pros are simply better than the previous models—who turns down better performance for the same price? The True Tone display is also welcome, as is the quieter keyboard. And it’s nice that we can finally talk to Siri without having to hold down a key or click a button.
For many years now, Apple’s AirPlay feature has made it possible to stream audio from an iOS device or Mac to an AirPlay-enabled speaker, AirPort Express base station, or most recently, a HomePod. Because AirPlay transfers sound over a Wi-Fi network, it eliminates the need for stereo wires and lets you put your speakers where you want them.
In June 2017, Apple threw back the curtains on AirPlay 2, saying it would play the same song on multiple speakers (with AirPlay 1, this is possible only in iTunes) or play different songs on different speakers. Subsequently, Apple released the HomePod, promising to add multi-room audio and stereo sound with linked HomePods in the future.
Apple recently released three updates—iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and HomePod 11.4—with an eye toward delivering AirPlay 2 and these promised features. Once you’ve installed these updates, here’s how to start enjoying AirPlay 2’s improvements.
AirPlay 2 in iOS
To take advantage of the multi-room audio capabilities in iOS, start playing some audio. Then open Control Center, press the audio card to expand it, and tap the AirPlay button in the upper right. You see a list of available output devices; those that support AirPlay 2 have a circle to the right of the name. Tap one or more of those circles to send the audio to that speaker. If an app has its own AirPlay button, you can also tap that to access the same controls.
The iPhone can’t play audio simultaneously with an AirPlay 2 speaker, which is why there’s no circle next to iPhone in the image above. Although AirPlay 1 devices—such as the AirPort Express base station (Speaker Express above)—still work singly, they can’t be included in a multi-room set.
AirPlay 2 in tvOS
Once your Apple TV is running tvOS 11.4, it can become an AirPlay 2 speaker, sending audio through your TV, soundbar, or home theater system. It can also broadcast its own audio to other AirPlay 2 speakers.
To enable an Apple TV for AirPlay 2, go to Settings > AirPlay > Room, and bring your iPhone or iPad close to the Apple TV. Accept the prompt that appears on the iPhone or iPad, and the Apple TV joins other AirPlay 2 devices associated with your Apple ID.
Once it’s set up, you can send audio from the Apple TV to different speakers. In a video app, swipe down from the top of the Siri Remote, select Audio, and then select one or more speakers (not all video apps offer this feature).
For music, the steps are a little different. Start playing some music and then, from the Music app’s Now Playing screen, swipe up and to the left to highlight the AirPlay button (if no icons are showing at the top of the screen, press the Menu button to display them). Or—this is much easier!—just press and hold the Play/Pause button on the Siri Remote. Then, as in iOS, select the desired AirPlay 2 speakers with circles to the right of their names by swiping down and clicking the touchpad.
You can also send all Apple TV audio to AirPlay 2 speakers by going to Settings > Video and Audio > Audio Output and selecting the desired speakers.
Other AirPlay 2 Improvements
AirPlay 2 includes a few welcome performance improvements. A larger streaming buffer makes for fewer audio drops, and tighter device syncing provides a faster response when you play or pause the music. Another plus for iOS users is that taking a phone call or playing a game won’t interrupt playback.
Siri works better with streaming audio as well. You can specify which speaker Siri should play through, as in “play David Bowie’s Hunky Dory on Dining Room,” and play the same music through all your speakers with a command like “play the Brandenburg Concertos everywhere.” You can even move audio from one speaker to another—try asking your HomePod to “move the music to the Apple TV.”
AirPlay 2 speakers are now HomeKit accessories, so you can start and stop them in the Home app. That’s about it for now, but we hope a future update will let us integrate audio into HomeKit scenes and automations, so your HomePod could automatically start playing soft jazz when you walk in the door from work.
Finally, although it’s unclear whether this feature is part of AirPlay 2, a pair of HomePods can now act as stereo speakers. Once each HomePod is running 11.4, a new option to pair them appears in the HomePod settings in the Home app. Select the HomePods, assign them to the left and right sides, and you can enjoy true stereo music.
It may sound as though all AirPlay 2-compatible speakers come from Apple, but in fact, a wide range of speaker manufacturers—including names like Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Denon, Marantz, Polk, and Sonos—have committed to supporting AirPlay 2, either with updates to existing products or in new speakers. Look for such products later in 2018, and, in the meantime, we hope you enjoy using AirPlay 2 with HomePods and Apple TVs.
Data breaches have become commonplace, with online thieves constantly breaking into corporate and government servers and making off with millions—or even hundreds of millions!—of email addresses, often along with other personal information like names, physical address, and passwords.
It would be nice to think that all companies properly encrypt their password databases, but the sad reality is that many have poor data security practices. As a result, passwords gathered in a breach are often easily cracked, enabling the bad guys to log in to your accounts. That may not seem like a big deal—who cares if someone reads the local newspaper under your name? But since many people reuse passwords across multiple sites, once one password associated with an email address is known, attackers use automated software to test that combination against many other sites.
This is why we keep beating the drum for password managers like 1Password and LastPass. They make it easy to create and enter a different random password for every Web site, which protects you in two ways.
- Because password managers can create passwords of any length, you don’t have to rely on short passwords that you can remember and type easily. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. A password of 16–20 characters is generally considered safe; never use anything shorter than 13 characters.
- Even if one of your passwords was compromised, having a different password for every site ensures that the attackers can’t break into any of your other accounts.
But password security hasn’t always been a big deal on the Internet, and many people reused passwords regularly in the past. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if any of your information was included in a data breach, so you’d know which passwords to change?
A free service called Have I Been Pwned does just this (“pwned” is hacker-speak for “owned” or “dominated by”—it rhymes with “owned”). Run by Troy Hunt, Have I Been Pwned gathers the email addresses associated with data breaches and lets you search to see if your address was stolen in any of the archived data breaches. Even better, you can subscribe to have the service notify you if your address shows up in any future breaches.
Needless to say, you’ll want to change your password on any site that has suffered a data breach, and if you reused that password on any other sites, give them new, unique passwords as well. That may seem like a daunting task, and we won’t pretend that it isn’t a fair amount of work, but both 1Password and LastPass offer features to help.
In 1Password, look in the sidebar for Watchtower, which provides several lists, including accounts where the password may have been compromised in a known breach, passwords that are known to have been compromised, passwords that you reused across sites, and weak passwords.
LastPass provide essentially the same information through its Security Challenge and rates your overall security in comparison with other LastPass users. It suggests a series of steps for improving your passwords; the only problem is that you need to restart the Security Challenge if you don’t have time to fix all the passwords at once.
Regardless of which password manager you use, take some time to check for and update compromised, vulnerable, and weak passwords. Start with more important sites, and, as time permits, move on to accounts that don’t contain confidential information.