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macOS Sierra: TIPS & TRICKS


Contents News 4 7 9 11 13

Apple increases price of its products in UK End of the road for the 11in MacBook Air Apple’s Q4 results Apple leads the field in tablet sales… Release of AirPods postponed until next year

Hands-on 15

MacBook Pro (2016)

Mac Features 20 23 28 30 35 37 44 47

Meet Apple’s complete MacBook line-up Introducing Apple’s new Touch Bar Touch Bar doesn’t herald a touchscreen Mac MacBook Pro signals a shift in strategy Technologies new MacBook Pro drops The fastest stock laptop in the world Hands-on with macOS Sierra’s Console Help Desk

Round-up 61

Latest Mac games

iOS Features 72 79

Pick your perfect iPhone partner Ask the iTunes Guy

How To 83 88 92 2  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

Set up macOS Server’s Contacts Service Disable macOS’s hotspot log-in window Organise your Mac’s menu bar

Welcome... W

e barely had time to catch our breath after the release of macOS Sierra, two new iPhones and an Apple Watch before Apple unveiled its latest MacBook Pro. It’s thinner, lighter and smaller all round, but that’s not why we’re excited. It’s all about that gorgeous Touch Bar. We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on Apple’s latest laptop and give our top tips for mastering the new Touch Bar on page 23. We also give our first impressions of the MacBook Pro on page 15, plus we reveal why it signals changes in Apple’s Mac line-up (page 30). This issue isn’t all about the MacBook Pro, though. Our guide on page 72 will help you pick your perfect iPhone partner. Whether you want a handset with a great camera or something that will easily fit in you pocket, we’ve got it covered. Plus, we’ve over 40 pages of macOS Sierra tutorials to help you master Apple’s latest OS.

96 98 100 103

List Folders first when sorting a Finder window macOS Sierra Use Caps Lock to switch between keyboards Launch Mac apps from the keyboard Use dictation on your Mac

Opinion 106

Why 2016 is a terrible year for the Mac DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  3

News: Apple increases price of its products in UK Apple products now more expensive after fall in the value of sterling. Ashleigh Allsopp reports


s with every Apple event, the online Apple Store closed its doors for a few hours while the company took the wraps off its latest MacBook Pro. What we hadn’t expected, though, was for those doors to reopen to price hikes in the UK, even on products that were not new. It’s thought that the fall in the value of the pound following the vote to leave the European Union is to blame. An Apple spokesperson said:


“Apple suggests product prices internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, local import laws, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business. These factors vary from region to region and over time, such that international prices are not always comparable to US suggested retail prices.”

iPhone iPhone SE (16GB): £379 (£20 increase)

iPad 9.7in iPad Pro (32GB): £549 (£50 increase) 9.7in iPad Pro, 128GB: £639 (£20 increase) 12.9in iPad Pro (32GB): £729 (£50 increase) 12.9in iPad Pro cellular (128GB): £939 (£40 increase) iPad Air 2 (32GB): £379 (£30 increase) iPad Air 2 cellular (32GB): £499 (£50 increase)

MacBook 13in MacBook Pro 2015 (128GB): £1,249 (£249 increase) 15in MacBook Pro 2015 (256GB): £1,899 (£300 increase) DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  5

13in MacBook Air (128GB): £949 (£100 increase) 13in MacBook Air (256GB): £1,099 (£100 increase) MacBook: £1,249 (£200 increase)

Accessories Apple Pencil: £99 (£20 increase) Apple Watch Sport Band: £49 (£10 increase) Smart Keyboard for 12.9in iPad Pro: £169 (£30 increase) Apple Battery Case for iPhone 6s: £99 (£20 increase) 6  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

News: End of the road for the 11in MacBook Air Is Apple sacrificing the MacBook Air for the MacBook, MacBook Pro and iPad Pro? Caitlin McGarry believes it is


s Apple phasing out the MacBook Air? It certainly seems so, with the 11in Air no longer for sale and the 13in model getting a new rival in the 13in MacBook Pro. That’s right, Apple introduced two 13in MacBook Pros at its recent ‘Hello again’ event in Cupertino. One has a Touch Bar, which replaces the keyboard’s function keys. The other keeps all of its keys, but is 12 percent thinner than a MacBook Air with two Thunderbolt 3 ports to replace the MagSafe connector and standard USB ports. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  7

Apple won’t be updating the 13in MacBook Air going forward, according to CNET, but you can still pick one up for £949 if all you care about is price – oh, and battery life. The Air lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge, while the 13in Pros last up to 10. The Pros are more expensive than the Air, but they are also more powerful. The new 13in Pro with function keys starts at £1,449 with a 2GHz dual-core i5, Intel Iris Graphics 540, 256GB flash and 8GB of RAM. For £300 more, you get the Touch Bar, Touch ID, and 2.9GHz Intel Core i5 processor. With just one MacBook Air model hanging around, it’s clear that Apple is focused on the 12in MacBook (which has just one USB-C port – kind of a problem if you use a lot of peripheral devices) and its new Pro laptops. But none of those options are cheap, and without the MacBook Air, Apple won’t have a single sub-£1,000 laptop in its line-up. (The 12in MacBook starts at £1,249.) There’s always the iPad Pros – there you have a 9.7in and 12.9in to choose from. The smaller model starts at £549, but that’s the base 32GB model and doesn’t include accessories like the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. The MacBook Air is a solid laptop and it would be a shame to see it disappear altogether. The Pro is more computer than most people need, and the 12in MacBook’s single port and high price tag can be tough to stomach.


News: Apple’s Q4 results Better than expected sales with 45.5 million iPhones sold, but revenue continues to slide, reveals Caitlin McGarry


pple sold 45.5 million iPhones in the fourth quarter – also its final quarter of fiscal 2016 – though that includes just two weeks of iPhone 7 sales and only the earliest signs of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 catastrophe impact. The iPhone sales were better than expected. Analysts had forecast 44.8 million phones shipped in Q4, which Apple handily exceeded. The firm made a $9 billion profit off of $46.9bn in revenue in Q4, down year-over-year from an $11.1bn profit off $51.5bn in Q4 of 2015. And while profits and DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  9

revenue are down pretty much across the board, Apple is again choosing to focus on its services, a bright spot in the company’s portfolio. Services revenue, which includes iCloud, Apple Music, iTunes, and the App Store, grew 24 percent to $6.3bn in the fourth quarter. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s earnings report that the company is “thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 2,” as well as the popularity of its services. Analysts had expected Apple to sell 45 million iPhones, 8.5 million iPads, and 5.1 million Macs, resulting in revenue of $47bn – better than most companies, but down from $51.5bn year-overyear. Apple itself anticipated revenue of $45.5to $47.5bn. The company did both better than expected, with iPhone sales better than anticipated and 9.2 million iPads sold, and worse, with 4.9 million Macs sold. Mac revenue continued its decline with a 17 percent drop year-over-year, a trend Apple may be able to reverse by refreshing its MacBook line-up this week. But Q4 is never a stand-out for Apple. Instead, we look to the company’s holiday quarter, where the company is forecasting revenue of $76- to $78 billion in Q1 2017. Apple has watched its revenue grow by leaps and bounds every year since 2001, as VentureBeat noted, when it reported $5.36bn in revenue, but that ended in the fourth quarter of 2016. The company reported its first full yearover-year decline with $215.6bn in revenue for its fiscal year 2016 – clearly not a failure, but still a slight drop from last year’s $233.7bn. 10  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

News: Apple leads the field in tablet sales… …but the iPad Pro is not its best seller, writes Oscar Raymundo


ablet sales continue to slip, and not even the iPad Pro has helped salvage the market. Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and other tablet vendors shipped just a combined 43 million units in the third quarter of 2016, according to a new report by IDC. These figures mark a year-over-year decline of 14.7 percent. IDC analysts blame the tablet sales slump to low-cost two-in-one laptops flooding the market. Despite Apple pushing sales for its latest high-end iPad Pro models, the earlier iPad Air DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  11

and iPad mini models are Cupertino’s best-selling tablets, accounting for two-thirds of its shipments in the third quarter. Apple continues to be the tablet leader, but it still saw sales decline by 6.2 percent year-overyear. IDC points out that revenues remained flat, however, thanks to some sales of the more expensive iPad Pro. Samsung, Lenovo, and Huawei were also strong tablet sellers this quarter, although like Apple these vendors all saw sales decline. Even though Samsung’s two-in-two TabPro S got good reviews, it remains uncompetitive, according to IDC. And sales of Lenovo’s Yoga Book, another well-received product, were not counted because IDC considered it a traditional PC. The only vendor on the top five list of tablet manufacturers to see an increase in sales in Amazon, largely thanks to a Prime Day sale in July when Fire tablets were 30 percent off. In the third quarter, Amazon saw a 319.9 percent sales increase year-over-year. Even though prices for both two-in-ones and slate tablets continue to decrease, IDC predicts that prices will remain stable. “We’re witnessing real tectonic movements in the market with slate companion devices sold at the low-end serving a broader platform strategy, like Amazon is doing with Alexa on its Fire Tablets, and more expensive productivity tools closer to true computing and legitimate notebook replacement devices that should manage to keep average prices up,” IDC’s tablet research director Jean Philippe Bouchard concluded. 12  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

News: Release of AirPods postponed until next year The AirPods were meant to hit stores in October, but that’s not going to happen. Oscar Raymundo reports


pple has confirmed that the release of the new AirPods has been postponed, though it didn’t divulge a new release date or any other specifics as to what caused the delay. Apple first announced the £159 AirPods during its iPhone 7 even in early September, and claimed that they truly-wireless version of the EarPods would go on sale in late October. It’s now looking as though we’ll have to wait until early next year before we can get our hands on them. “The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  13

before AirPods are ready for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. The AirPods have a first-of-its-kind W1 chip for improved wireless connection, better battery life, and making it possible to automatically pair to a nearby iOS device. Apple’s truly-wireless headphones also incorporate special sensors to detect when they’re in your ears. According to Apple, the fully-charged AirPods last for about five hours of playback, and their carrying case can recharge them up to five times. During the iPhone 7 event, the AirPods took the spotlight. Macworld US executive editor Susie Ochs found the AirPods to be surprisingly awesome. They stayed put in her ears even after considerable head-banging, and boasted impressive sound. Now, it seems Apple may have been too ambitious with the AirPods and all its new wireless features and technology. Or, at least too ambitious given the original timeline. It makes sense that Apple would want to take the time to perfect the AirPods and get its technology right. They may help pave the way for Apple’s future as a truly-wireless product maker.


Hands-on: MacBook Pro (2016) From £1,449 inc VAT •


t’s thinner, lighter and smaller all around, but the new MacBook Pro makes a big impression. The trackpad on the 15in version is downright ridiculous – twice as large as the trackpad on the previous generation – but we didn’t look down and DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  15

say, “Wow, that is a seriously huge trackpad”. That is until we’d been using it for a couple of minutes because it’s all about that gorgeous Touch Bar. Apple doesn’t do touchscreen Macs, but the Touch Bar adds a strip of ultra-handy iOS-style contextual controls right where you need them, and the rest of the MacBook Pro got great updates, too. After our limited hands-on time, we think it’s got the right mix of power, portability, and ports to satisfy users of previous MacBook Pro and Air models. Let’s dive right into our first impressions – we’ll follow up with a full review next month.

Touch Bar The Touch Bar, which replaces the row of Fn keys on top of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, enables new functionality like Touch ID to unlock the Mac and make Apple Pay purchases in Safari without


needing to authenticate with an iPhone or Apple Watch. It’s made of smooth glass, so it feels great under your fingers, just like the trackpad itself. The Touch Bar supports multi-touch, in case you need to tap or slide on more than one control at once. This would come in handy in some apps, such as djay Pro, but since the bar isn’t tall enough for common multi-finger gestures like pinch-tozoom, we were content to poke at with one finger. We love how you can customise the Touch Bar’s default controls. Just pick View > Customize Touch Bar from the Finder menu, and you get a full suite of buttons you can drag right down to the Touch Bar. The options are similar to what you see when customizing the toolbar in your Finder windows. But the best part of the Touch Bar is how quickly it changes as you switch apps. We used it to scroll through a full-screen album in Photos, as well as for scrubbing through the timeline in Final Cut Pro. Both were fast and responsive. However, when we opened a new Mail message and started typing, the QuickType suggestions shown in the Touch Bar lagged behind our fingers. We had to consciously slow down to be able to see the predictions and select them from the Touch Bar, so it was faster to just type the entire word with our fingers. Happily, pulling up the scrolling emoji menu in Messages and choosing an emoji from the Touch Bar is a lot times faster than pressing Cmd-Ctrl-Space and using the Characters menu, like we have to do on our MacBook Air. The other killer Touch Bar feature might be predictive suggestions in Mail. When you’re looking at a list of messages in your Inbox, you’ll DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  17

see a button on the Touch Bar that says ‘Move to Vacations’ or the name of another folder the app thinks is suitable. Mail seems to be guessing based on context, such as the sender and content of the message, and we can’t wait to see how well it does with the volume of email we get every day.

The new keyboard The new MacBook Pro models have a low-travel keyboard similar to that used on the 12in MacBook, but Apple says it uses a second-generation butterfly mechanism to give the keys a better feel. The firm has also used slightly different materials for a different feel under your fingers. No haptics in the keyboard. The keys feel about the same to us as on the MacBook. They don’t wiggle back and forth if you happen to strike one off-centre, and they make a deep clicking sound when you pound on them. But when we switched back to our trusty 2013 MacBook Air to write this hands-on, our fingers immediately preferred the bouncier mechanism of Apple’s old laptop keys. We’ve never had trouble


with the MacBook keyboard, and we’re sure we’ll get used to this one too, but we prefer the old kind.

Ports on both sides If you were worried Apple would ditch the headphone jack on the MacBook Pro, you can exhale now. Every model has a headphone jack on the righthand edge. You also get four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13- and 15in models (only two on the lower-end 13in MacBook Pro with Function Keys, but we’re discussing the Touch Bar models here). Apple put two on each side, and it’s handy how all the ports can charge the laptop or connect to Thunderbolt, DisplayPort 1.2 and USB-C devices. We’re used to having dedicated ports for each IO method, so the flexibility is appreciated, and it’s a relief Apple went with four instead of, say, two. You’ll still need adaptors for some things, such as peripherals that use USB-A or Thunderbolt 2 ports, or an SD card reader, since that slot is gone. But having multiple ports might let you avoid picking up one of the USB-C docks that MacBook owners need if they want to connect more than one device at a time.

First impressions The beautiful Retina screen is unchanged from previous generations, and with the new Mac lineup, every notebook Apple sells is now Retina. In our full review we’ll dive more deeply into the performance of the updated processors and GPU, as well as Apple’s promised 10-hour battery life. But from what we’ve seen so far, the updated MacBook Pro is going to be worth the wait. Susie Ochs DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  19

Feature: Meet Apple’s complete MacBook line-up Leah Yamshon takes a closer look at Apple’s laptop range


fter September’s annual iPhone-focused event, it was time for the Mac to have its turn in the spotlight. Apple recently revealed three new MacBook Pros, two of them featuring the Touch Bar, the firm’s brand-new touch control panel at the top of the keyboard. The MacBook Pro got a minimal refresh in October 2015 to introduce the Force Touch trackpad, but it’s been a minute since the line has seen a major update. As new products come in, old products must go out, so the MacBook line-up now looks a little different. Here’s a look at each of Apple’s laptops.


MacBook Pro The 2016 MacBook Pro is available in three versions: two 13in models, one featuring the Touch Bar and one featuring standard function keys; and a 15in model with the Touch Bar. 13in MacBook Pro Price: From £1,449 Configuration: 2GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB memory, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 540, two Thunderbolt 3 ports 13in MacBook Pro, with Touch Bar and Touch ID Price: £1,749 (256GB), £1,949 (512GB) Configuration: 2.9GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB memory, 256GB/512GB SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 550, four Thunderbolt 3 ports 15in MacBook Pro, with Touch Bar and Touch ID Price: £2,349 (256GB), £2,699 (512GB) Configuration: 2.6GHz/2.7 quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB/16GB memory, 256GB/512GB SSD, 2GB Nvidia Radeon Pro 450 Graphics, four Thunderbolt 3 ports 13in MacBook Pro (2015) Price: £1,249 Configuration: 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz, 8GB 1866MHz memory, 128GB PCIe-based SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 6100, two Thunderbolt 2 ports 15in MacBook Pro (2015) Price: £1,899 DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  21

Configuration: 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz, 16GB 1600MHz memory, 256GB PCIe-based SSD, Intel Iris Pro Graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports

MacBook Apple’s 12in notebook launched in 2015, and introduced us to lots of new features that other MacBooks now have (like the Force Touch trackpad, butterfly key mechanism and USB-C port). Price: £1,249 Configuration: 256GB PCIe-based onboard flash storage, 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.2GHz, 8GB memory, Intel HD graphics 515 Price: £1,549 Configuration: 512GB PCIe-based onboard flash storage, 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz, 8GB memory, Intel HD graphics 515

MacBook Air Some bad news for MacBook Air fans: as we report on page 7, Apple quietly killed the 11in MacBook Air, and while the 13in option is currently still available, Here’s what you’ll find in the remaining models: Price: £949 (128GB); £1,099 (256GB) Configurations: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz, Intel HD graphics 6000, 8GB memory, 128GB/256GB PCIe-based flash storage 22  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

Feature: Introducing Apple’s new Touch Bar Oscar Raymundo’s tips will help you master the Touch Bar 1. System controls are all there When we first heard rumours of the impending Touch Bar (or the so-called ‘Magic Toolbar’ at the time), we were afraid that it would get rid of our beloved system controls, including the Escape key. The good thing about this digital bar is that it can transform into anything. The Esc key is still there, albeit it’s not a physical key anymore, as well as playback controls and buttons to adjust the volume and brightness. These controls are now tucked away in a Control Strip to make room for other contextual commands and for the all-new Touch ID button. Lastly, pressing down on the function key reveals the function commands, as well. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  23

2. Touch ID to unlock and verify Apple Pay The new Touch Bar also gives the MacBook Pro a Touch ID sensor. By registering your fingerprints to your new Mac, you can use Touch ID to unlock your machine, as well as switch users. The Touch ID on the MacBook Pro is powered by the new Apple T1 Chip which supports secure enclave. This means that you can use your Mac’s Touch ID to verify Apple Pay payments on the web – a new feature found in macOS Sierra.

3. Send emojis in Messages Before the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar came along, you had to hold Ctrl-Cmd-Space to emojify your messages on the Mac. But not anymore. Along with QuickType suggestions, the Touch Bar now has an emoji button. You can browse through all the emojis right on the Touch Bar and even jump to different categories. In addition, whenever you click on a message, the Touch Bar surfaces quick Tap Back reactions like ‘LOL’, a heart, or thumbs-up. With the Touch Bar,


the Messages experience on the Mac is now more similar to what we just got with iOS 10.

4. Launch your favourite websites in Safari When you open Safari on the new MacBook Pro, you will have the option to launch a new tab from the Touch Bar or open a website from your Favorites list. Once you have a new tab open, you can use the Touch Bar to access the search field, or tap to go back. The Touch Bar also helps to navigate between tabs. If you have several tabs open, you can scroll through all of them directly on the Touch Bar, which will actually show a tiny preview of each web page.

5. Edit images in Photos Editing your photos has never been easier than with Touch Bar, which turns into a dial when you want to straighten out your images. You can also swipe from left to right to adjust the brightness and contrast. Lastly, the Touch Bar lets you scroll through and preview different photo filters, and there’s even a new button for reverting to the original image. In addition, the Touch Bar also lets you navigate through your extensive photo library, and you can even play videos from it without having to click on the screen. The Touch Bar is perfect for scrolling through your media in full-screen.

6. Get contact suggestions in Mail The Touch Bar in Mail does a lot more than offer you QuickType suggestions. It actually surfaces potential contact suggestions based DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  25

on your email history, as soon as you click on the address or the CC field. While going through your email, the Touch Bar lets you quickly compose a new message, flag or reply to an email, and even predicts whether you might want to move an email to a certain folder, based again on your history. And while composing an email, you can highlight certain text and the Touch Bar will then surface formatting options, so you can change the font and colour, or make your text bold or italicised.

7. Customise the default controls Not happy with the Touch Bar’s layout? Make it more functional and helpful by customizing the default controls. The process is similar to customizing the Finder Toolbar – you can add commands like a Share button or the all-new Screenshot function. Simply drag them all the way down to see them surface on the Touch Bar below. This way, you can also select which primary system controls make it on the Control Strip.

8. Find places in Maps Open the Maps app and the Touch Bar gives you a quick way to find nearby places with one tap. You can tap to see listings from eight categories, including Food, Shopping, and Services.

9. Answer a FaceTime call If you get a FaceTime call, the Touch Bar will automatically surface certain actions like answer or decline. Once you initiate a video call, you can also use the Touch Bar to make the window full-screen. 26  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

10. Flip through your Calendar The Touch Bar can be also be used to browse through your Calendar and view any appointments scheduled in upcoming weeks. It will display weekly time frames, so you can easily jump to a different part of your calendar.

11. Search your Apple Music in iTunes When you launch iTunes, you’ll notice a new search button on your Touch Bar so you can easily find your favorite Apple Music tracks. You also get basic playback controls like skipping a song or viewing your Up Next queue.

12. Create mixes in GarageBand The new MacBook Pro is making it (even) easier for people to become music producers. Use the Touch Bar in GarageBand to adjust all Smart Controls on your track, adjust volume, or to fine-tune the sound of different instruments and effects. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  27

Feature: Touch Bar doesn’t herald a touchscreen Mac Apple’s design chief Jony Ive says Apple won’t turn the MacBook into a tablet, writes Caitlin McGarry


s we’ve already seen, Apple’s two new MacBook Pros have slim OLED displays that replace the keyboard’s function keys. Apple launched its latest products just one day after Microsoft unveiled its massive Surface Studio desktop designed for creative professionals, a demographic once solidly in Apple territory. Why didn’t Apple go fully touchscreen with its new MacBooks? Is the Touch Bar an interim step, a sign that Apple is unsure of its footing? No. Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, told Cnet that Apple had decided “many, many years


ago” that touchscreen Macs were not the right approach. Why? Well, Ive didn’t really get into specifics (of course): “When we were exploring multitouch many, many years ago, we were trying to understand the appropriate application and opportunities for [it]. We just didn’t feel that [the Mac] was the right place for that. It wasn’t particularly useful or an appropriate application of multitouch. “It’s difficult to talk without going into a lot of details that puts me starting to talk about things that we are working on. I don’t really want to talk much more about it.” He revealed the company develops prototypes that employees, then live with for awhile to see if the approach is a good one. Two years ago, Apple began developing larger trackpads with haptic input, then decided to combine a touch display with a mechanical keyboard. But the Touch Bar “still just marks a beginning,” Ive added. He avoided hinting at where Apple will take the Mac, but the Wall Street Journal reported recently that the company is planning to swap out the mechanical keyboard for a Kindle-esque e-ink display. That change would come courtesy of e-ink keyboard creator Sonder Design, an Australian startup backed by Apple supplier Foxconn. According to the WSJ, that new keyboard won’t make its way to the MacBook until 2018. And as for why Apple is more interested in putting touch in its MacBook keyboards than its MacBook screens, well, it’s unclear. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  29

Feature: MacBook Pro signals a shift in strategy Apple’s decisions with its Pro laptops could signal a further shrinking of its Mac product lines. Michael Simon reports


here was a time when differentiating between Apple’s pro and consumer lines was easy. Even after Apple stopped painting its entry-level Macs with candy-flavoured colours, there was always a clear separation between the machines meant for professionals and the ones for everyone else. They didn’t just look the part, they delivered the power, performance and features the majority of people didn’t need but pros demanded (and could afford). As the first major revision in more than four years, Apple’s new notebooks seem to tick off the right boxes. They’re fast. They have improved


Retina displays. They’re fitted with the latest expansion ports. The 15in MacBook is powerful enough to drive a pair of 5K displays. And that’s before we get to the svelte and powerful Touch Bar. But it’s hard not to see a shift in Apple’s thinking. While its price is certainly commensurate with its predecessors, the new MacBook Pro isn’t your standard professional notebook. Rather, the latest flagship portables from Cupertino are more in line with the iPad Pro than the MacBook Pros they replace, and it could signal major changes ahead for the rest of the line-up.

Pros and cons As Apple’s strategy has shifted to focus on devices that fit in our pockets, the concept of the PC has changed with it. What was once the centre of our lives has been relegated to something most people use for heavier lifting. The new MacBook Pros might be thinner and lighter than ever, but they’re also less likely to leave the house when an iPhone or iPad is such a good travel companion. And that’s how Apple wants it. Over the past decade the Mac has comprised an increasingly smaller portion of Apple’s bottom line, and it’s hard to not see last week’s Hello Again event as the beginning of the pro Mac’s retirement party. It won’t happen overnight, but the day when Apple is only selling a single Mac desktop and notebook line is within sight. That’s why it seems like there’s a little less pro in this year’s MacBook. With the Air on life support, the MacBook Pro needs to pull double-duty, appealing to both its namesake professionals and DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  31

millions of people who want a new Mac at home. Much like the iPad Pro kept the tablet’s central tenet intact but added simple tools to help users work faster and more efficiently, the MacBook Pro’s marquee feature isn’t the kind of input or I/O gamechanger professionals are accustomed to getting. If anything, the Touch Bar probably has more mass appeal than any prior MacBook Pro feature. While it will surely streamline some professionals’ workflows, few of the things it does are geared toward professional use, and many of its primary uses are things veterans will eschew in lieu of standard keyboard shortcuts.

Touch of class Conspicuously absent from the year’s only dedicated Mac event was any mention of the desktop models. It’s been over a year since the iMac last saw an update – and much, much 32  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

longer for the Mac mini and Mac Pro – but it’s unlikely that we’ll see anything new before the first quarter of next year. But when a new version of Apple’s iconic all-in-one finally arrives, it’s almost certain to be the most powerful Mac in the family. The 12-month-old iMac can hold its own against the brand-new Surface Studio, and assuming a refreshed iMac would get the newest Kaby Lake processors and a handful of USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, the iMac will have the soul of a pro Mac. And then there’s the Touch Bar. While it’s exclusive to the MacBook Pro for now, it’s doubtful it’ll stay that way. In 2015 Apple brought Force Touch from the MacBook Pro to the iMac with Magic Trackpad 2, so incorporating the Touch Bar into a Magic Keyboard 2 seems like a natural progression. With the power of Bluetooth 4.2 and the new T1 chip there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t work, and it would continue to elevate the iMac as the flagship pro desktop workstation.

Heads up Apple’s product matrix is filled with devices of all shapes and sizes, but while they may have disparate functions and features, one thing is clear: the screen is king. In fact, there are only two headless Macs in Apple’s catalogue and neither has gotten much love recently. The Mac mini hasn’t been refreshed in more than two years, and the Mac Pro hasn’t received a single update since its launch in December 2013. And what’s more, Apple has bowed out of the standalone screen business, opting instead to DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  33

partner with LG for the long-overdue successor to its Thunderbolt Display. Screens aren’t just central to Apple’s strategy, they’re essential. And when the iMacs are updated next year we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Mac mini get axed from the lineup once and for all. The Mac Pro will probably stick around for while for the ultra high-end niche, but it’s doubtful to see any meaningful upgrades beyond USB-C and speedier chips. Just like the new MacBook Pro straddles the line between consumers and professionals, the iMac will become the de facto pro desktop in all its retina-and-Thunderbolt glory. And that’s how we think it’ll stay, at least until iOS on the iPad is able to gain enough feature parity with macOS. Apple proved that it isn’t ignoring the Mac, but it is preparing for a day when the model you buy isn’t what makes you a pro. It’s what you’re able to create with it that does.


Feature: Technologies new MacBook Pro drops Brad Chacos reveals five technologies Apple has dropped


pple has never been shy about shaving off features in its quest for slimmer, faster computing. The new MacBook Pro line-up is no exception. Following in the footsteps of the radical 12in MacBook, Apple’s latest laptop culls five old standbys from its design.

1. MagSafe The MacBook’s vaunted, brilliant MagSafe used magnets to gently attach your power cord to your DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  35

laptop, rather than relying on a hard connector jammed inside a port. MagSafe clamped on tightly enough to stay stable under normal conditions, but lightly enough to disconnect when tugged. The new MacBook Pro relies on USB-C for power instead, just like the aforementioned 12in MacBook.

2. SD card support The SD card slot on MacBooks comes in handy for photographers and folks looking to expand their laptop’s storage – or at least it used to. The overhauled MacBook Pro ditches native SD card support as well as most other auxiliary connections. It’s streamlined down to four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connections and a solitary audio jack.

3. HDMI Better pick up a USB-C to HDMI connector while you’re at it, if you plan on connecting your notebook to an external display.

4. Discrete ESC and Function keys That swanky new OLED strip of adaptive touchscreen keys in the new MacBook Pro needed to fit in somewhere. That ‘somewhere’ is where the MacBook Escape and Function keys previously called home, just underneath the display.

5. Optical drive “But wait!” I hear you screaming. “Apple still sells a legacy non-Retina MacBook Pro, too!” No, Apple has discontinued that as well, and with it goes the last MacBook with a built-in optical drive. Time to snag Apple’s USB SuperDrive. 36  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

Feature: The fastest stock laptop in the world New PCIe solid-state drives could double the performance of last year’s MacBook Pro, writes Lucas Mearian


pple, a company that has led the laptop industry in its use of PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs), again upped the ante in performance with its latest refresh of the MacBook Pro, which may be the highest performing stock system on the market. The early 2015 refresh of the MacBook Pro sported an M.2 form factor, PCIe SSD that boasted peak sequential read speeds of 1.6GB/s and max sequential write speeds of 1.5GB/s. Benchmark tests with Blackmagic software on a 2015 13in MacBook Pro with Retina display revealed DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  37

it could pin the needle at more than 1.4Gb/s for writes and more than 1.3Gb/s for reads. The new MacBook Pro’s specs smoke its predecessor. The 2016 13in MacBook Pro’s specs claim it has sequential read/write speeds of 3.1GB/s and 2.1GB/s, respectively. The new 15in MacBook Pro ups the write speeds to 2.2GB/s, while the reads remain the same as the 13in. The new MacBook comes with either a 2.6GHz or 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 8MB of shared L3 cache, and a Radeon Pro 450 or 455 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching. (Upgrades are available for a faster Core i7 and a Radeon Pro 460.) Both new MacBook Pro models offer SSD capacities that include 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB. Apple has led the industry in using PCIe SSDs in its laptops, a move some tech pundits say may have sparked an industry-wide trend to adopt the technology more quickly. Serial ATA, the most common interface for consumer NAND flash products, communicates through a high-speed serial cable over two pairs of conductors. PCIe, which stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, uses a switch architecture that has multiple end points to allow the sharing of one end point with 38  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

multiple end devices. In addition, the newest PCIe SSDs use the NVM Express (NVMe) or Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface Specification, which is a logical device interface for accessing flash storage via the PCIe bus. “With regard to PCIe, Apple has been a pioneer when it comes to PCIe/NVMe storage,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research vice president at IDC. “They were the first PC company to broadly adopt it across its laptop portfolio while other companies today are still just using it in a very limited portion of their PC line-up.” By adopting the PCIe/NVMe standard, Apple has been able to deliver higher performance in terms of read/write speeds and latency when compared to traditional SATA-based PC designs, “thus, making the new MacBook Pro more responsive and faster,” he added. The best consumer SATA III SSDs today become saturated at about 500MB/s, according to Jim Handy, an analyst with Objective Analysis. It’s not a surprise, Handy said, that Apple settled on PCIe, as the price for the controllers are already approaching those of SATA controllers. “If they both cost the same, then why use SATA?” Looking forward, Janukowicz said he expects to see more PC makers using PCIe/NVMe drives, but he doesn’t expect them to be broadly available until later in 2017. Handy believes M.2 PCIe SSDs will “sweep” the new PC market within two years. But a lot of the PC SSD market will be upgrades to older PCs, “so SATA will remain strong in that market for the next five plus years,” he argued. A big question is whether higher performance DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  39

in an SSD will make much difference to an end user, Handy added. Most PC programs and data fit comfortably within a system’s DRAM memory, so there are few disk input/output (I/O) requests made from the main storage. That means that the only time users will notice the difference between a PCIe-based and SATA-based SSD will be when the system boots, and when a new application or file is being loaded, Handy said. “The performance difference will be the smallest for file loads, since most users’ files are pretty small (like 1- to 5MB). Loading a program will be more noticeable, but still not a big difference, since most programs’ splash-screens are timed to remain active long enough for the user to read them,” Handy said. “So that leaves boot. Not something to write home about!”


Feature: Hidden features in macOS Sierra Roman Loyola reveals the features you may have missed 1. Messages: Per-conversation read receipts Messages: Per-conversation read receipts Instead of having Messages send a read receipt for every conversation, you can do it on a per conversation basis. During a chat session, click on the Details link at the top right of the window. You’ll see information on your chat partner, and below you will find a checkbox for ‘Send Read Receipts’. Check the box to activate.

2. Apple Mail: Quick filter In your Apple Mail inbox, you’ll see a new icon of a circle with an upside-down triangle of lines. Click DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  41

on it and ‘Filtered by’ will appear it will filter your email based on what the blue text says. Click on the blue text to adjust the filter. Reader @dogolaca points out that the quick filter will not appear if you are using classic view. To turn off classic view, go to Mail > Preferences > Viewing and then uncheck the box for ‘Use classic layout’.

3. Coordinated alerts So you’re sitting at your Mac, with your iPhone in your pocket and your iPad docked to your Mac, and you get a text message. In the past, you’d get a cacophony of alerts, one from each device. Now, with Sierra and iOS 10, the alert appears only on the device you’re using.

4. Notes: Collaboration The Notes app in Sierra has a new feature where you can invite others to edit and write in a note. Next to the Share button on the upper right is a button you can click to “Add people to this note.” Invites are sent via Mail Messages, Facebook, Twitter, and other methods.

5. Time Machine: SMB support Time Machine now includes support for the Server Message Block (SMB) network protocol. That means better compatibility with third-party networkattached storage (NAS) devices.

6. Autocapitalization and full stop shortcut In System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, you have two new options: ‘Capitalize words automatically’, and ‘Add period with double-space’. 42  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

7. New dictionaries Apple has updated its dictionaries. You can activate the new dictionaries in preferences of the Dictionary app. The new dictionaries are:

• Traditional Chinese definition dictionary • Danish definition dictionary • Italian-English bilingual dictionary • Dutch-English bilingual dictionary Other new features

• Autocorrect is better at learning proper nouns • • • • • •

and non-dictionary terms Push email and calendar events for Exchange Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew Safari extensions in the Mac App Store (coming soon) Safari plug-ins enabled per website Spotlight search improvements Transit support in Maps for Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  43

Feature: Hands-on with macOS Sierra’s Console Kirk McElhearn shows how to get the information you need


f you’ve ever looked at the Console app in OS X, you’ve seen how frustrating it can be to glean any useful information from its overladen logs. Console displays log information that can help you troubleshoot on your Mac, but it also records a plethora of status messages. Wading through a never-ending stream of messages in Console has always been difficult, but Apple has reworked Console in macOS Sierra, making it a lot more usable. Here’s a brief overview of what’s new. In the current Console, log entries show up as long lines of text. The names of processes and


The Console’s display is daunting

applications are bolded, but that’s about it. In Sierra, Console gets a whole new display. As you can see on the next page, there are now columns that make it easier to view and sort messages. There are four columns by default, and if you right-click on a column header, you can choose others. The default columns are Type, Time, Process, and Message, but you can add others, such as Library, PID, Thread ID, and more. Most of these are only of interest to developers, but users will find it easier to troubleshoot when they can more easily view additional information. Another change is the ability to pause the display by clicking the Now button in the toolbar. Click that and the river of messages freezes, so you can see what’s happening in the moment. And when you click on a log entry to view it, a new Info Pane below the entry list gives you more information, and lets you focus on a single entry even if you haven’t paused the display. Console displays status and error messages, and an option above the message list lets you choose DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  45

to view all messages, or just errors and faults. It’s these latter that you are more often interested in, and this is a boon for solving problems. The Errors And Faults option is actually just a saved search. Another new feature in this version of Console is an improved search feature. Type a search term in the Search field, press Return, and Console displays a menu next to the term. Click this and you can choose from a number of search criteria. As with the columns we mentioned previously, these include Process, PID, Message Type, and more. This makes it easy to narrow down messages from a specific app or process. And you can save these searches, as you save smart folders in the Finder. Click the Save button, and your search displays in the search bar above the messages. (You can already save search queries in El Capitan, but this method is easier, and offers more options.) If you’re a developer, you’ll find this saves a lot of time when you need to check on what your app is doing. Not everyone needs the Console app, but those who work with it will find these improvements make their work a lot easier.

The Console app lets you create targeted searches


Feature: Help Desk Kirk McElhearn answers your Mac questions How to resurrect a Fusion drive from a destroyed Mac Q: A very long story short, but I’ve an iMac that suffered catastrophic damage in shipment. I’ve extracted the 1TB hard drive and the 128GB SSD from the carcass of the machine, but the rest of it (save the RAM and processor) is rubbish. In the end, I simply want to pull the files off the hard drive, but none of the local computer-repair shops seem to know what to do. Any suggestions Christopher Bender A: Apple’s Fusion system is a combination of a high-capacity hard disk drive and a low-capacity but superfast SSD. You can uncouple them and DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  47

reformat them, but this problem was new to me. He tried mounting the hard drive, but it’s unrecoverable separate from the SSD. Fusion Drive is a hardware-locked solution, so we suggested he beg, borrow or rent any Fusion-capable Mac of a vintage that could run his version of OS X, stick the drives in and boot, and then clone onto a plain drive. Without an Apple Store nearby, he was ultimately able to get one of the local shops to open up a computer they had on hand, drop the drives in, run an OS update, and recover the data.

You can’t play most protected digital video on an external monitor Many years ago, High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) was born because the film industry freaked out over releasing digital movies that would flow digitally – rather than through analogue conversion – across a cable to a monitor or television. The standard requires a cryptographic handshake between the software in a dedicated player or on a computer or mobile device and the display. Without that handshake, no video would flow. We wrote about HDCP earlier this year, offering a variety of troubleshooting advice for people trying to sort out why their software on a Mac wouldn’t allow them to playback any video on a connected display, or why they received a warning about degraded content because an HDCP handshake wasn’t happening. We’ve received a spate of additional emails since then, and we’ve been researching the issue 48  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

further. We discovered that we were wrong about a fundamental part of the question. We’ve provided a corrected explanation below. We also looked at a cheap hardware bypass for streaming video to an external monitor, and whether it works for OS X. (Sorry, it doesn’t.) Finally, we summarise what each major streaming service notes about requirements and troubleshooting, and finish up with how to fix DRM errors even with a built-in display by resetting or removing Silverlight. Only iTunes in OS X supports external monitors The accurate answer to HDCP and externally connected Mac monitors has three parts:

• iTunes can detect the connection correctly, •

and play the highest-resolution video on HDCP-capable monitors Non-Apple firms offering digital streaming or other digital playback options through browser DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  49

plug-ins, HTML5 video, or freestanding OS X apps will always report an HDCP or other error for an external display Apple doesn’t expose the required information to third parties (via an API that developers can use) to determine whether HDCP is in place, according to Adobe

This also prevents using HDCP over AirPlay, because AirPlay-supporting devices apparently also don’t expose to third-party developers whether the associated device is an authorised device. The Apple TV works fine with HDCP and external displays, and in what should be bitter irony, fourth-generation Apple TV apps from Netflix, Hulu, and others, firms that can’t stream DRM-protected video in OS X to an external monitor are perfectly able to while wrapped in the embrace of tvOS. Oddly, Apple doesn’t provide information about HDCP, OS X, and external displays on its site. Macworld asked Apple for more details, and we’re still waiting to for more insight. Macworld reader Kevin Kelly wrote in recently to report that he couldn’t get Flixster software to play on an Apple Thunderbolt Display, and that Apple customer support had told him that the Apple monitor wasn’t HDCP certified, and that one needed to have a certified display. It’s possible it’s not HDCP certified, but it doesn’t seem like the second part of that statement is correct. We contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organisation that works on securing digital rights for individuals, whether anyone on staff knew about this issue, as EFF has issued opinions on and 50  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

litigated about digital-rights management (DRM) control of media playback. They had none. This writer recently encountered this on a recent cold day, when our family retreated into a room in the house with a roaring fire and we set up a 2015 MacBook with an HDMI output adaptor to connect to an external 1080p computer monitor. Amazon’s software wouldn’t let us watch the first Harry Potter movie in high definition. We also tested various methods with a Mac mini and external displays of different types, and it failed consistently, as now expected. It’s the end One area of exploration was using a powered HDMI splitter, an inexpensive small box that takes HDMI input and then allows the output to be fed out DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  51

through two or more HDMI ports. These splitters aren’t designed to bypass HDCP, nor would we suggest you buy a box designed for piracy. However, some (not all) apparently terminate HDCP handshaking within the box, satisfying the DRM software on the host device, and then output unencrypted video, so that a monitor or other HDMI-capable hardware doesn’t balk. Those who want to record themselves playing video games have turned to these splitters with PlayStations and other gaming systems. We tested this with one recommended splitter that can handle up to 4K displays, and it didn’t work. We weren’t precisely expecting it to, because OS X seems to simply not allow HDCP via external monitors at all (as noted previously), but we wondered if third-party software might somehow recognise the box differently than a monitor. No luck. We could try more splitter boxes, but it’s likely the problem remains the same. Each streaming service has unique requirements Here’s some of the services claim about Macs and playback errors; most of the details relate to playing in a browser, not using a connected monitor. Amazon: Recommends ( use of HTML5 video with Chrome (version M42 or newer), Firefox (version 47 or newer), and Opera (version 31 or newer). Safari isn’t in this list, as the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in is required to watch in Safari. Flixster: Claims complete compatibility through browsers using Flash. Also offers its own desktop 52  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

software, which reader Kevin (cited before) couldn’t get to recognise HDCP playback recently from his Mac to an external monitor. iTunes: Apple has no documentation about HDCP or troubleshooting, except with the Apple TV. However, in the past five years, there are almost no forum posts about Mac-related HDCP playback problems, only with Windows. Netflix: No specific browser or plug-in recommendations, but it notes that: “Apple only supports playback on internal monitors or through HDCP… compatible monitors.” DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  53

Some people report problems using an integral monitor in a laptop or iMac and across many services and many forums, have found that disabling screen-sharing software fixed their problem. This includes third-party sharing options, like AirParrot and iTeleport, and Apple’s built-in screen-sharing (Sharing system preference pane). It apparently doesn’t have to be in active use for it to be problem; disabling the option or quitting the app running in the background or via its system menu did the trick for many people. For many people, removing the third-party DisplayLink software sometimes required for certain external Mac monitor combinations helped, too. There’s no on/off switch, but you can use an uninstaller to remove it by downloading the full package from DisplayLink ( jrusLgm), which includes the removal software. Then reinstall it after you’re done with the video content; it’s not ideal at all. Switch off Silverlight Silverlight is often the common denominator for problems with internal displays that should otherwise allow playback. It’s an older Microsoft technology that must have advantages relative to Flash for playing video, because many streaming services adopted it. It’s no longer necessary in many circumstances, as noted. If you want to continue to use Silverlight, try emptying the Silverlight cache for the site. Amazon 54  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

has detailed instructions under Resolve Silverlight Issues heading ( Alternatively, dump a cached DRM error. Silverlight apparently logs and caches any DRM problems. If you set something up the plugin didn’t like or there was a transient HDCP handshaking problem – which is extremely common – you might just need to delete a file, through the following steps: 1. Quit the browser 2. In the Finder, choose Go > Go To Folder 3. Enter /Library/Application Support/ Microsoft/PlayReady 4. Delete the file mspr.hds and empty the trash 5. Relaunch the browser You can also delete Silverlight altogether, though that means not using Amazon Video with Safari. 1. Quit the active browser 2. In the Finder, choose Go > Go To Folder 3. Enter /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ 4. Delete the files Silverlight.plugin and WPFe. plugin (either or both may appear) and empty the trash 5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ 6. Relaunch the browser Is Apple to blame? Yes, seemingly, although it’s maddening as a technology writer and consumer to not have a definitive answer about a basic piece of protective DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  55

software from the maker of the operating system and hardware that interacts with it. It would seem that OS X supports HDCP for integral monitors, and, with iTunes, for external ones to meet licensing requirements. There’s no excuse we can see for not exposing the API to third parties. And, even if it were a browser issue, it seemingly extends to Safari, which can’t handle HTML5, Flash, or Silverlight protected streaming to external monitors. Apple could easily rectify this problem. Failing that,the firm could clearly document it.

More ways to convert rich text to plain text on the clipboard Recently, we explained how to use special paste options ( in several programs to remove rich-text formatting when you just want to paste the actual letters and symbols you’ve copied from one place to another, rather than preserve the font choice, type size, and other parameters. Readers had a load of suggestions for more ways to make this simple.

FastScripts let you assign keystrokes to trigger AppleScripts


Create an AppleScript and assign a keystroke Sage Humphries wrote in with this AppleScript that converts text after being copied to the clipboard into plain text. If you’re not using a program to trigger AppleScripts, here’s the easiest way to get started: install FastScripts, which allows free use for up to 10 script keystrokes. It costs £7.99 from the Mac App Store. 1. Install FastScripts 2. Select FastScripts from the system menu bar, and select FastScripts > Open Scripts Folder > Open /Users/[account name]/Library/Scripts 3. Launch Script Editor (from Applications > Utilities 4. Paste in the exactly: set the clipboard to (get the clipboard as text) 5. Save the script in the FastScripts user folder you opened in Step 2 6. Select FastScripts > Preferences from the FastScripts menu, and click Script Shortcut 7. Double-click the ‘(none)’ to the right of your script name, and type a keystroke combination to assign. We’re using Cmd-Ctrl-Alt-V 8. Close FastScripts Now whenever you want convert the clipboard, press that key combination, and you can paste plain text into any app. (We tried to get Apple’s Automator to handle this AppleScript by creating it as a Service and then assigning a keystroke in the Keyboard system preference pane’s Shortcuts tab to make it available to all apps that handle text. But text services in OS X apparently only apply when you have a range of text selected.) DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  57

Trigger Plain Clip with a macro The free Plain Clip ( has the sole function of stripping formatting from text, but it doesn’t do anything else. The developer created it for people to be triggered via launching and macro apps such as QuickSilver (used by Sage), Keyboard Maestro, and the like. Use TextExpander If you’re already using this (textexpander. com), it’s easy to convert the clipboard to text and paste in a single step, and one that reader Guy Scott uses all the time. 1. Open TextExpander 2. Click New Snippet (+) 3. In the Content area, make sure Plain Text is selected from the pop-up menu 4. Type %clipboard in the field The TextExpander shortcut is easy to use


5. Set a label such as ‘Paste plain text’, and an abbreviation – Guy uses ‘ppp’ TextExpander can also launch AppleScripts, but this built-in approach is superior. Use a clipboard utility Readers use various clipboard utilities, some of which offer buttons, preferences or menu items that strip formatting. If you use LaunchBar ( ovtwfty), one of its preferences lets you enable a clipboard history with an option to paste via a keystroke; this can be set to convert to plain text.

Print an email to PDF in iOS 10 iOS added print support years ago, and Printopia and then other software rose to meet a challenge: supporting printers that didn’t use Apple’s AirPrint. But they also added a nifty workaround to the missing ability to create PDFs from email and other software that supported print via a Share button, but didn’t have a workflow that led to a PDF. Printopia had to be hosted on a Mac, and it let you share any printer a Mac could access, as well as add printer and file-storage devices as printers. You could print to PDF on the attached computer or print to Dropbox. iOS 10 adds a subtle way to get the same effect without needing extra software. 1. In Mail, View a message 2. Tap the Share button 3. Select Print 4. In the Printer Options screen, you’ll see a preview. You can either pinch and expand DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  59

it or poke it (the harder 3D Touch). A PDF preview window opens 5. Tap the Share button at the bottom of that window 6. You can choose any Share option, including Copy to switch to an app that supports PDFs into which you can paste, share it Dropbox, add it to iCloud Drive, and the like 7. Once it’s shared, tap the back arrow (upper left), and then tap Cancel In our testing, images on a page don’t always load. With two images from Apple, one from TestFlight and one from its beta program, the TestFlight images previewed and the beta message didn’t. The beta message had a whole lot of CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) formatting, and it’s possible that affected how images were loaded. The same email previewed fine in OS X, though.

In a mail view, tap Share, choose Print, then expand or drag the PDF preview. It opens in a separate view


Round-up: Latest Mac games Andrew Hayward looks at the best new releases


een a while since you played a new Mac game? Well, it’s a pretty great time to change that, as we’ve a stack of standout releases. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is easily the biggest of the bunch, launching the same week as the PC version and delivering an even larger and more engrossing take on the legendary turn-based strategy experience. Other large-scale options include Farming Simulator 17 and Mad Max, while smaller indies such as Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator, GoNNER, and Burly Men at Sea all have their charms as well. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  61

1. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Price: £49.99 from Steam ( Wave hello to your new time sink, strategy fans. Firaxis Games’ beloved historical simulation series is back with a brand-new entry, and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is another massive and wildly in-depth experience that’s well worth getting lost in. While the primary goal of building up and advancing a classic civilisation remains intact, the latest entry brings some neat tweaks. For example, cities now span multiple tiles, letting you play better with the local terrain and customise the layout as you wish, plus the Active Research feature lets you make faster progress over time through varying objectives.


2. Farming Simulator 17 Price: £29.99 from Steam ( While some of our readers might be incredulous to hear that a game like Farming Simulator 17 exists, the millions (yes, millions) of people who bought the last entry are probably pretty pumped to get back into the digital fields. Giants Software’s game is something of a surprise phenomenon, but it’s back in action and the new entry sounds like a huge experience. You can command hundreds of acres of land and drive more than 250 real-life farming vehicles, with new types of crops (sunflowers) and livestock (pigs) in the mix, along with forestry elements and even trains to commandeer. Farming Simulator 17 also has 16-player online cooperative play, along with the ability to download and install mods.


3. Mad Max Price: £24.99 from Steam ( Originally released last autumn on other platforms, the official Mad Max game just made the leap to Mac, bringing vehicular action and raw onfoot combat set in a desert wasteland. It’s not a direct tie-in with last year’s brilliant Mad Max: Fury Road, but you’ll play as Max and be able to find the same kinds of thrills within the seemingly endless, open landscape. Car customisation is a big part of the experience, as you can augment your ride (the Magnum Opus) with parts and weapons scavenged or stolen in the world, and that’ll come in handy when you’re fending off aggressive foes trying to bash you into oblivion. Mad Max also wasn’t as acclaimed as Fury Road, but critics’ reviews were slightly better-than-average for licensed games. 64  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

4. Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator Price: £1.49 from the Mac App Store We covered the original prototype version of this game, which was built in 42 hours for a game jam and released freely last December, but now the developers have expanded it out into a much richer experience – and it’s still only £1.49. As the title implies, Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator is seemingly the first of its kind: a competitive game built around brutal verbal slams. Each player takes a turn picking a term out of the shared pool, all in the hopes of building the most savage (and grammatically correct) insult to toss the other way, and there’s a delightfully British sensibility about it all. Along with enhanced graphics, this version features online play, a tournament mode, and different scenarios to battle within. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  65

5. The Jackbox Party Pack 3 Price: £18.99 from Steam ( Jackbox makes the best trivia and party games around – You Don’t Know Jack, Quiplash, and Drawful – and now it’s dropped a whole new bundle to busy up your next bash. The Jackbox Party Pack 3 comes with five fresh games and is headlined by Quiplash 2, the expanded ‘say anything’ party game in which players vote on the best answer to a prompt. Elsewhere in the package is the horror-themed Trivia Murder Party, the stats-centric Guesspionage, the white lie-rewarding Fakin’ It, and Tee KO, a game about comparing witty T-shirt slogans. Sound silly? We’re absolutely sure of it, but nobody does it better than Jackbox. All can be played with paired phones and tablets as controllers, and nearly every game supports up to eight players. 66  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

6. GoNNER Price: £6.99 from Steam ( Blast-happy players will certainly want to put GoNNER on their radar right now. This sidescrolling shoot-‘em-up/platformer has drawn comparisons to the great Downwell on iOS, serving up a series of procedurally-generated environments filled with enemies for you to decimate. You can shoot foes or jump atop them, plus there are backpacks and different heads you’ll find that bring special abilities as you clear the challenging areas. GoNNER seems to have a nicely oddball personality too: it’s about an initially-headless creature who goes out in search of a special item to please his sad land-whale friend, which somehow leads to all of this stylised violence. Critics and Steam reviewers alike are largely loving it.


7. Aragami Price: £14.99 from Steam ( The stealth-action genre has become increasingly dominated by military-centric entries such as Metal Gear Solid and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, but Aragami seems like a throwback to the classic Tenchu series. This stealth-centric affair lets you play as a skilled ninja assassin, and he’s got some pretty astounding tricks up his sleeve. For example, he can manipulate shadows to shroud him in his approach on enemies, teleport short distances to get the jump on a foe, or summon a shadow dragon to devour someone. You can choose to let people live, but with overthe-top attacks like that, why bother? The cellshaded art design looks spectacular, too.


8. Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered Price: £29.99 from Steam ( Despite the peculiar title, Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered seems worth a look from anyone still curious about the guitar-centric game, and certainly anyone who already owns the 2014 Edition. In essence this expanded re-release and free upgrade for the existing game brings in some helpful tweaks and adds a handful of extra songs. Unlike Guitar Hero or Rock Band, Ubisoft’s Rocksmith uses a real guitar as its main instrument, and you’ll need the physical Real Tone Cable to play, though you can use whatever kind of guitar you want. Rocksmith has been credited with teaching a new generation of guitar players, but it’s also meant to be a fun game, and finds that fine line between the two experiences.


9. Burly Men at Sea Price: £6.99 from Steam ( For anyone who seeks a break from tedium and has a thirst for adventure, Burly Men at Sea may be for you. To be clear, it’s not a game that lets you experience a lot of adventure: this adorable quest feels like a lightly interactive children’s book, letting you make small choices to guide the quest or peer around the environment to look for a next destination. The cartoonish aesthetic nails that storybook-like design, and although individual games may only last 10- to 20 minutes apiece, the branching paths allow for numerous single-session playthroughs. It’ll probably be too thin on in-depth gameplay for some, but Burly Men at Sea should charm the pants off of nearly anyone lured in by the look.


10. Shadowverse Price: Free; in-game purchases ( With its many millions of active players, Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft feels like the de facto collectible card game today, but there are alternatives. Shadowverse is the latest, although it appears to have garnered a significant following in Japan before getting translated into English. In fact, many of the Steam reviewers claim that it scratches an itch that Hearthstone simply cannot. On the surface, however, they seem very similar: you’ll take turns playing a creature or hero card on the board, and then they’ll battle it out, while the 400+ collectible cards offer a load of deck variety. It’s a free-to-play game too, which means pumping in money can bring big advantages, but at least you can try it out and probably play quite a bit without spending. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  71


Feature: Pick your perfect iPhone partner Susie Ochs’s guide will help you choose the right iPhone


icking out an iPhone used to be easier – just get the newest one with all the storage you can afford. We still recommend plenty of storage, but the choice of which iPhone to go with that storage isn’t quite so cut-and-dry. Do you want the phone with the best camera, the one with the lowest starting price, or maybe just one with a headphone jack? We’re here to help, with this always-updated guide of every iPhone currently sold by Apple, and how to decide which is the best for you.

iPhone 7 Plus: Best overall, best camera Price: From £719 The flagship of flagships is the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s got an absurdly fast A10 Fusion processor that combines two high-performance cores to run desktop-class apps, and two low-power cores that stretch battery life during less-intensive tasks. Apple quotes 13- to 15 hours of Internet use, 14 hours of video playback, or 60 hours of audio playback per charge. In our testing, we got seven hours, 55 minutes of video playback between 100 percent and 50 percent charged – this thing just goes and goes. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  73

But the biggest selling point of the iPhone 7 Plus is its two-lens camera system. It combines a wide-angle lens with an f/1.8 aperture to let in more light, with a ‘telephoto’ lens with f/2.8 aperture for getting in close. The Camera app still does all the work for you (sometimes even choosing 2x digital zoom over 2x optical zoom if the result will be a better image), but the real magic happens when it combines data from both lenses. The Portrait mode, currently in beta as part of iOS 10.1, is a great example of that, automatically blurring the background while keeping your subject’s face in focus. While our reviews of the iPhone 7 Plus and the 7 took issue with the new ‘clickless’ Home button and the lack of a headphone jack, the speed, power, and camera still make 7 Plus the best iPhone overall. Prices start at £719 for 32GB, £819 for 128GB and £919 for 256GB.

iPhone 7: Best 4.7in phone Price: From £599 The iPhone 7 is perfect for anyone who wants the speed and battery life of the iPhone 7 Plus, a 74  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

camera that’s nearly as good, and a smaller size. Oh, and the accident-prone should definitely consider an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus over previous generations, since the new phones come with an IP67 water resistance rating. The single iSight camera on the back has a wider f/1.8 aperture than before, which really makes a difference in low-light conditions. You don’t get optical zoom or Portrait mode, which are exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus’s two-lens camera. But the photos the iPhone 7 takes are a big step up from all the models that came before. Opting for the iPhone 7 over the 7 Plus comes down to a preference for the 4.7in size, over the larger 5.5in Plus. But keep in mind that the iPhone 7 is also £120 cheaper across the board if you buy it outright. (It’s £599 for 32GB, £699 for 128GB and £799 for 256GB.) So you could pick the iPhone 7 and spend the savings on another tier of storage.

iPhone 6s Plus: Best bargain for big hands Price: From £599 When a new iPhone comes out, Apple keeps the previous generation on sale at a substantial discount. That means, right now you can get a DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  75

5.5in iPhone 6s Plus with 32GB of storage for £599, or 128GB of storage for £699. We loved the iPhone 6s Plus when we reviewed it in 2015. The A9 chip is still plenty fast for iOS 10 applications. The 6s and 6s Plus were the first to get 3D Touch, which lets you deep-press on the touchscreen to get more functions, kind of like the mobile version of a right-click. When the feature launched, it was a nice-to-have, but iOS 10 has made it much more essential. The 6s Plus also supports Live Photos and 4K video, thanks to its 12Mp iSight camera. This is a single-lens camera, and you won’t get quite the same low-light performance as you would with the wider-aperture lenses on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. But if the camera isn’t your main reason for upgrading your iPhone, you’ll still be able to take good photos with the 6s Plus, which does have optical image stabilization.

iPhone 6s: Best for headphone jack diehards Price: From £499 One other advantage to last year’s iPhones is that you can plug in any old headphones you 76  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

want. Want to charge your phone while you’re listening? No problem, because those use two different ports. As we know, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus no longer have a 3.5mm headphone port, but the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and the SE all do. And like the 6s Plus, the 6s is no slouch. Its 4.7in screen size makes it easier to carry in a jeans pocket, or strap it to your arm for a run. It’s got the exact same A9 chip as the iPhone 6s Plus, and the same 12Mp camera that shoots 4K video – only without optical image stabilization, which in this generation is exclusive to the iPhone 6s Plus. Plus, it’s a bargain. The entry-level 32GB iPhone 6s is £499, in gold, rose gold, space gray, and silver. If you need more storage, a 128GB version is £59. That’s the same price as an entry-level iPhone 7, but with four times the storage. If you’ve got a lot of files and an aversion to headphone adaptors, this might be the right choice.

iPhone SE: Best value, best for small hands Price: From £379 But the best bargain on the iPhone market is still the iPhone SE. This is essentially the guts of an DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  77

iPhone 6s shoved into the pocket-friendly body of an iPhone 5s. You get a 4in screen, the same size as the iPhone 5/5c/5s, before Apple went big with the iPhone 6. But you won’t sacrifice speed or battery life compared to the 6s. The iPhone SE has the same A9 chip as the iPhone 6s, so it handles iOS 10 just fine, though it doesn’t have 3D Touch, which is a minor drawback. You can press-and-hold on notifications to see an expanded view, for example, but you can’t 3D Touch an app icon for Quick Actions. The 1624mAh battery in the iPhone SE is a little bit smaller than the 1715mAh battery in the 6s, but it still lasts longer because the 4in screen needs less power. Another advantage to the iPhone SE is that it fits into cases made for the 5s and 5, which you might already have lying around. The 12Mp camera supports Live Photos and 4K video, so you aren’t losing out there, but the iPhone SE does have limited storage sizes. The entry-level 16GB version is £379, but we recommend most people quadruple that storage for another £50 with the £429 64GB model. 78  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

Feature: Ask the iTunes Guy Kirk McElhearn answers your iTunes questions Does iTunes convert? Q: My iTunes library contains a lot of MP3 files that I ripped with software other than iTunes. When I add these files to iTunes, or sync them to my iPhone, does iTunes convert them to AAC DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  79

files? If so, does this mean that the files take up extra space on my hard drive? A: There are two questions here. The first is about the file formats that iTunes supports, and the second is about syncing. Since iTunes uses AAC as its default format for ripping CDs and files purchased from the iTunes Store are in that format, many people think that iTunes only handles AAC files. iTunes supports files in the following formats: AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF and Apple Lossless. (It also supports Audible audiobooks.) iTunes can store and play files in any of those formats. Also, there seems to be a common belief that AAC is a proprietary audio file format created by Apple. This is not the case. AAC stands for Advanced Audio Coding, and is part of the MP4 specification. iTunes only converts files in two specific situations. The first is when you add WMA files to an iTunes library on a Windows PC. When you do this, iTunes converts them to the format you’ve set in the Import Settings dialog of the General preferences, because it does not support the WMA format. iTunes does not, however, delete the original WMA files, and it’s up to you to do so if you don’t want to keep them. The second is when you tell iTunes to convert high bit rate files to lower bit rate versions during a sync to an iOS device. You control this on the Summary pane of your iOS device when syncing. When iTunes performs this conversion, it doesn’t keep two versions of the files, but converts the files on the fly, putting the lower bit rate versions on the 80  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

iOS device. This allows you to save space on your iOS device by choosing a lower bit rate for syncing, yet keeping higher bit rate versions of your files in your iTunes library.

Which playlist is a song in? Q: I have lots of playlists in my iTunes library. Sometimes I want to find which playlist a specific song is in. Is there any way I can do that? A: If you right-click or Ctrl-click a song you can choose Show in Playlist to see all the playlists that contain the song. Choose one of the playlists from the sub-menu to go to the selected track in that playlist.

Choose Show in Playlist to see which playlists contain a given song


Deleting an artist Q: Is there any way to remove all of an artist’s music from my iPhone? I only see options to remove songs or albums. A: To delete a song or album, find the item, then tap and hold until a dialog displays. Tap Remove or Delete from Library. This works for music you’ve synced or downloaded from the cloud. If you try to do this with an artist, the only option available is to start an Apple Music radio station. You can, however, delete an artist’s music if you know where to look. Go to Settings > Music > Downloaded Music, and you’ll see a list of the music on your iOS device, listed by artist. Swipe to the left on an artist’s name and then tap Delete to remove their music. Since each entry in the list shows how much space an artist’s music takes up, you may want to do this when you need some free storage on your device.

Artwork in my car Q: My car system only supports low-resolution album art, but I have lots of artwork in my iTunes library that is very high resolution. Is there a way to reduce the file size of all my artwork? A: Doug Adams’ Re-Apply Downsized Artwork ( does exactly what you want. You select some tracks, set the resolution you want, run the app, and it changes the artwork. There are lots of options for the final artwork: size, padding, and more. The only limit is that iTunes won’t let it work on more than about 10- or 20 tracks at a time. 82  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

How To: Set up macOS Server’s Contacts Service Jeffery Battersby explains how to set up Contacts Services for access on your network


ver the recent weeks we’ve worked with the Server app on macOS Sierra to set up the Calendar service. The Calendar service uses CalDAV, a web standard that allows you to connect to calendar services, add and update events using a variety of calendar apps. In fact, when we were working with the calendar service you could have just as easily added your server’s calendar service to Fantastical or BusyCal because both support the CalDAV standard. Server’s Contacts service works using a similar standard called CardDAV, which, like CalDAV, allows a variety of contact apps to connect to and update data stored on your server. And, in fact, CalDAV and CardDAV are linked to each other on your server. You can see this link using the Server apps log tools. 1. Open the Server app 2. Select Logs in the sidebar of the Server app 3. Locate and select the Calendar and Contacts log Note that the two are linked together in the log. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  83

Look at Contacts without connecting to the Contacts service Server’s Contacts service allows you to provide a centralised database of contacts that can be used by edited and updated by anyone using your server and contact data can be used in any CardDAV capable app. Before we set the service up on your Mac, let’s look at the Contacts app to see what’s available before we set up and connect to the Contacts service. So, open the Contacts app. When you open Contacts you should see the Groups sidebar to the left of your list of contacts. If you don’t see the sidebar: 1. Open the View menu 2. Select Show Groups If you’re using iCloud you’ll see an iCloud group. This is synced across all your iCloud-connected devices. If you’re aren’t using iCloud you should see an All Contacts group in addition to any other groups you may have created. This syncs only on your local hard drive.


Setting up the Contacts service Turning the Contacts service on is simple, all you need to do is flip the service’s switch on. 1. Select the Contacts service in the sidebar of the Server app 2. Turn the Contacts service on Once the Contacts service is turned on it’s simple to get the contacts app set up with it.

If you don’t have a server account set up on your Mac 1. Open System Preferences 2. Select the Internet Accounts preference 3. Scroll to the bottom of the list of preconfigured accounts 4. Select ‘Server account’ 5. Authenticate as one of the users you created when you set up Open Directory. (Remember, if you haven’t set up Open Directory you’ll need to jump back to our Primer on Profile Manager.) 6. Select Contacts from the list of available services on you server

If you already set up an account As soon as you turn a new service on in the Server app, that service immediately becomes available on any device already connected to your server. But you do need to enable that service on every device you want to have access to that service: 1. Open System Preferences 2. Select the account you created before DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  85

3. Put a check in the box next to Contacts 4. Close System Preferences

Create contacts in your shared directory Now go back and look at the sidebar in the Contacts app. You should now see new items in the list which includes contacts stored in your shared directory on your server. If you select that directory in Contacts you should note that there are no contacts listed. To create a contact in your server’s directory: 1. Select your server’s directory in the sidebar of the Contacts app 2. Click the ‘+’ button at the bottom of the Contact window


3. Select .New Contact 4. Enter a first name, last name, and add an email address, then click Done. Note: For testing purposes, enter an email address you know isn’t already in your contacts list, even if that means adding a fake email address

Test your server-hosted contact list To test the Contacts service: 1. Open the Mail app 2. Create a new email message 3. Begin typing the name of the user created in the previous step You should see the name of your test user and the new email address you created show up in the Mail App’s autocomplete list. Additionally, any other devices you use that are authenticated to this server account will have access to contacts created and stored on your server. You can think of it as your own private iCloud-ish contacts list.

Bonus directory search Server’s Contacts service offers one more directory option that is as simple as putting a check in a box. When you put a check in the box that says, ‘Allow users to search the directory using the Contacts application’ lets users to use information stored in your Open Directory database. So, any users you’ve created or imported into Open Directory that has related contact information will also be made available to anyone connected to your Calendar service. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  87

How To: Disable macOS’s hotspot log-in window Fed up with Wi-Fi login windows appearing whenever you are near a hotspot? Glenn Fleishman shows how to turn them off


acworld reader Alfabeck Lauder finds the way in which Apple manages Wi-Fi logins at public networks a bit maddening:

When I’m travelling, I frequently gain access to the Internet on my Mac via public Wi-Fi networks. Before I can connect, I’m invariably confronted with a window, (‘magic window’) giving me instructions and the means for connecting/disconnecting to/ from the internet and monitoring my usage. What on earth are these? 88  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

He dislikes these windows because they float above everything else, can’t be resized, and don’t seem to be attached to any app. Lauder lives in a remote location and uses a combination of mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi router, so he sees this magic window (we like the term) all the time, and it interferes with his ability to manage his setup. Among other things: …if I inadvertently leave a magic window open when putting my computer to sleep, the system sometimes freezes when waking, necessitating a restart. Lauder is hitting a feature Apple added to make it easier to log in at Wi-Fi hotspots that use a so-called ‘captive portal’ page with which you have to interact before you gain access to the network. iOS has a similar feature, presented in the same overlay manner, no matter what you’re doing. Captive portals have to let a computer or mobile device connect to the Wi-Fi network, but intercept all that traffic until it’s been given approval. These portals fake the domain name system (DNS) lookup values for any network connection made, including in a browser, which lets them display a login page. (These portals also typically use the unique network identifier – the MAC address – built into all Wi-Fi and ethernet hardware, to prevent a bypass without approval.) Gaining approval is sometimes as simple as clicking an I Agree button or entering an email (even a fake one) and checking a box that says you agree to network-use policies. Other times, you DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  89

This captive-hated screen can be disabled in macOS by renaming a system app

have to enter account information or pay for access if, for example, you are staying at a hotel. This captive portal screen floats on top of everything else as a design choice to help people figure out that they don’t truly have network access. Because you can’t reach the internet, every network activity you engage in or that your system handles in the background breaks. So you can see the thinking behind this. How does Apple know you’re connected to a captive hotspot? This is what’s tripping Lauder up. In iOS and on the Mac, whenever you connect to any Wi-Fi network, the OS tries to perform a DNS lookup for the address, then check in with an Apple server. If the returned address isn’t correct or the connection to a test page doesn’t go through but it gets some response, it means you’re connected to a portal. Apple then displays the page return in Lauder’s ‘magic window’. (Once Apple had trouble with its DNS, which prompted the hotspot login screen to appear on everyone’s attempt to connect to a network everywhere.) 90  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

In years past, you could modify system settings values and even use a defaults write command, but those seem to have stopped working with El Capitan. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. The easiest way to disable this behaviour is to rename the helper app that creates the login page. Because of System Integrity Protection (SIP), a feature introduced in El Capitan to protect system files from modification by malware, you can’t just move the file if you have that feature enabled (it’s on by default). Follow our instructions to restart your Mac in Recovery mode and disable SIP. Restart and follow the steps below. Then restart again to re-enable SIP. (The instructions are for El Capitan, but work identically for Sierra.) 1. In the Finder, select Go > Go To Folder 2. Enter /System/Library/CoreServices and hit Return 3. Find Captive Network Assistant, click it, and rename it with an extra word, such as Captive Network Assistant Do Not Launch and press Return 4. Enter your password when prompted to make the change Now, when you connect to any portal-protected hotspot, or even Lauder’s home network setup, the app shouldn’t launch and you should be able to proceed without any problems. Because macOS can be self repairing and install missing components during updates, you may have to repeat these steps in the future if it recurs. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  91

How To: Organise your Mac’s menu bar The menu bar is handy for quick access to apps and system preferences, but it can get crowded, writes Kirk McElhearn


our Mac’s menu bar is a useful tool. It displays ‘menu bar extras’, little icons that give you status information about your Mac, or that offer quick-access menus to certain settings. For example, you can click the Wi-Fi icon to turn


Wi-Fi on or off, or to select a Wi-Fi network. You can click the User icon to go to the login window, or to select a different user and switch to their account. Or you can click the keyboard icon to change input methods, if you work with different keyboard layouts. It’s not just OS X that puts menu extras at the top of your display; third-party apps do as well. Some offer similar features, such as access to oft-used functions, and others can provide status information. But all this comes at a price: clutter. If you have a Mac with a large display, then you probably don’t worry about how many icons are in your menu bar, though they can give you sensory overload. But if you have a laptop, you may find that not all of your menu bar extras display when an application you run has a lot of menus of its own. App menus get priority, and if you’re working with an app with lots of menus, some of your menu bar extras simply disappear. Below is the menu bar on a 27in iMac. From left to right it includes: Dropbox, Airfoil Satellite, TypeIt4Me, BusyCal, BitTorrent Sync, HazeOver, Moom, f.lux, Evernote, Plex, then a group of status menu bar extras from iStat Menus. Next come system menu bar extras: Messages, Wi-Fi, Eject, Time Machine, Volume, Bluetooth, Input, User, Spotlight, Notification Center. That’s a lot of stuff. The menu bar on my 27in iMac


Changing Positions Menu bar extras are in two groups: third-party items at the left, system items at the right. You can change the position of any third-party menu bar extra by pressing the Cmd key, clicking it, and dragging it to a new location. (And you’ll be able to do this with third-party extras in macOS Sierra.)

Removing Menu Bar Extras For system items, press the Cmd key and drag a menu bar extra away from the menu bar to remove it. For third-party items, you’ll need to check the apps that added the menu bar extras. Many of them can be removed, usually from a check box in the preferences or settings. However, some apps don’t let you do this; there would be no other way of accessing settings or features. For example, while Dropbox offers access to settings from its app, there’s no way to pause or resume sync, or to see what’s syncing without the menu bar extra. Bartender ( can solve this problem. It allows you to reorganise all your menu bar extras, creating a second bar that only displays on demand. You can also rearrange all the menu bar extras with Bartender, whether they’re part of OS X or come from third-party apps.

Adding Menu Bar Extras For third-party menu bar extras, as we said above, each app has a setting, and you may add or remove some of these. To add system items, you need to go into System Preferences. For example, the Wi-Fi menu bar extra setting is in the Network pane; the User extra setting is in Users & Groups; 94  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

the Volume setting is in Sound; and so on. There are some other menu bar extras you can add, but only if you know where they’re hiding. If you go to /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras you’ll find two dozen items you can add to your menu bar. Double-click any of these to add them to your menu bar. Some of these are available from System Preferences, but not all. For example, we use the Eject menu extra to be able to eject discs from my optical drive; and if you like to use AppleScripts, you may want to add the Scripts menu extra. Menu bar extras are useful, but only if you don’t get overwhelmed. Taking control of your menu bar can make you more efficient, and save you time.

A hard-to-find folder contains a number of useful menu extras


How To: List Folders first when sorting a Finder window macOS Sierra You don’t really need to use a blank space or a character to make folders list first, reveals Roman Loyola


f all the new features in macOS Sierra, one of our favourites is this really simple one that changes the way files and folders are displayed in the Finder. When you open a Finder window and then sort or arrange the window based on name, everything is listed alphabetically, and folders are mixed in with files. This is the default in Sierra, and has been the default in the Mac OS for as long as we can remember. Our preference, however, is to have the folders appear in the list first, so we used to name my folders with a blank space as the first character in the name (for example, ‘ Stuff’ instead of ‘Stuff’).

New option in the Finder preferences In macOS Sierra, you don’t really need to use a blank space or a character to make folders list first. There’s actually a new option in the Finder preferences to let you do this. 96  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

By default macOS Sierra, there’s no separation between folders and files when sorting by name. In this screenshot, the two Adobe folders and the Audacity folder are included in the alphabetical list of applications that are not in folders

1. In the Finder, click on the Finder menu and select Preferences, or press Cmd-, 2. Click on Advanced 3. In the list of checkbox items, the last one is ‘Keep folders on top when sorting by name’. Check the box if you want to do this 4. Close the Finder preferences window With this setting active, folders will appear first in the list, regardless of what view you are in. If you are in list view and you sort by Name, folders are listed first, followed by your files. If you use the Arrange function, folders will list first depending on the Arrange option you choose, such as Name. This screenshot is of the same folder in the first screenshot, but with the ‘Keep folders on top when sorting by name’ option on


How To: Use Caps Lock to switch between keyboards A feature new to Sierra is handy for those who switch between two languages while typing, writes Glenn Fleishman


witter buddy Michael Fessler alerted us to a great help for those who frequently type in keyboards for two different character sets, like Latin and Hebrew, Chinese, Arabic, and others. You can make a quick-switch option from the keyboard without resorting to a menu, by turning a tap of the Caps Lock key into a keyboard swap. The option appears in the Keyboard system preference pane in the Input Sources tab. It has a lot of explanation: “Use the Caps Lock key to switch to and from UK Press and hold to enable typing in all uppercase.” This won’t appear when you have two keyboards that use the same basic underlying set


of characters. That may be confusing, because, for instance, you can add a French keyboard that uses a different layout, like AZERTY, and it’s not an option. Both the UK and French keyboards derive characters from the same Latin set. Pick a non-Latin keyboard, and the option appears. If you have multiple non-Latin keyboards, the first one you added is the only one that Caps Lock swaps between. If you add more and then delete the first or more, the most recently added or the last one remaining becomes the swappable keyboard. This doesn’t work for all non-UK layouts, however. If you add Japanese, as Matthew Amster-Burton did, the checkbox doesn’t appear. That’s because macOS’s default input method for Japanese is Hiragana, which relies on the underlying roman syllables. You can seemingly predict this: if the keyboard preview in the preference pane shows Latin characters, the keyboard option doesn’t appear; if the preview shows non-Latin characters, it does.

The Keyboard preference pane now lets you set a simpler way to swap for certain keyboards


How To: Launch Mac apps from the keyboard Your hands never have to leave the keyboard when you need to open an app. Kirk McElhearn shows how


ou know how to launch Mac apps: you click an icon in the Dock, or you double-click an icon someplace else, such as in the Applications folder. But there are also a number of ways that you can launch apps without taking your hands off the keyboard.

1. Spotlight The simplest way to launch an app from the keyboard is to use Spotlight. Press the Spotlight keyboard shortcut (by default this is Cmd-Space) and type the first couple of letters of an app’s

Using Spotlight, you can quickly launch apps by typing a couple of letters


name. For example, if you want to launch Safari, type SAF. Spotlight should put Safari at the top of the list; press Return to launch it. If the app you want to launch isn’t the first one in the list, use the arrow keys to select it, and then press Return. You don’t always need to type the first letters of an app’s name for it to come up in Spotlight. If an app’s name has two words, such as GarageBand or Microsoft Word, you can type, for example, GB or MW to zero in on it.

2. Launchpad Launchpad presents your apps with big icons on your screen, laid out in a similar way to iOS app icons on an iPad. To invoke Launchpad, press F4 on newer Apple keyboards (older Apple keyboards use F4 to launch Dashboard); on a Trackpad, use a pinching motion with your thumb and three fingers. You’ll see some of your app icons with a Search field above them. That Search field has focus; when you start typing the characters automatically get entered into that field. Type the first couple of characters of the name of the app you want to launch. If it is the first app selected, press Return to launch it. If not, use the arrow keys to select it, and then press Return.

3. Applications folder Another way to launch apps from the keyboard is to do so in the Applications folder. It’s not that hard to get to that folder; in the Finder, just press CmdShift-A. As with Spotlight and Launchpad, you can type letters to access your apps. However, typing in a Finder folder merely selects an item; it doesn’t DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  101

hide other items in that folder, showing only the apps with the letters you type. So, to launch an app such as Preview, type PR, and, unless you have another app whose name begins with those two letters, Preview is selected. Press Cmd-down arrow to open the app. Note that for apps with two-word names, such as QuickTime Player or System Preferences, you can’t type QP or SP. The Finder’s selection will jump to the second letter you type, so just type the first letter or letters, use the arrow keys if necessary to get the app you want, and then press Return.

4. From the Dock You can navigate the Dock using the keyboard, and therefore launch any apps that are in the Dock. To do this, press Ctrl-fn-F3. If the Dock is hidden, it slides out onto the screen. Use the arrow keys to navigate the dock, or type the first letter of the app you want to launch. Press Return to launch the selected app. If you want to dismiss the Dock, press the Esc key.

5. Use a Launcher If you really want to use the keyboard to launch apps and do much more, you should probably look into using a launcher app. There are several of these: Alfred, Butler, LaunchBar and Quicksilver. This article discusses the different features of these launchers. The advantage to using one of these utilities goes far beyond simply launching apps. You can control many of your Mac’s functions, navigate the file system, open, copy, move, and delete files, and much more. 102  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

How To: Use dictation on your Mac Instead of pointing, clicking and typing, you can use your voice for input on your Mac, reveals Jeffery Battersby


ou may think you have to wait for Siri to appear in macOS Sierra before you can talk to your Mac, but your Mac already has a way to listen to everything you say and to turn what it hears into text. You can enable this feature, which supports over 30 languages and many more dialects, using the Dictation & Speech preference in System Preferences. Apple’s speech to text features are turned off by default, so before you can use this feature you need to turn it on. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  103

1. Open System Preferences 2. Click Dictation & Speech, which you’ll find in the middle of System Preferences’ fourth row 3. Click the radio button that says On. You will see a message warning you that using your Mac’s dictation option the way it’s currently set up will send your spoken text to Apple to be converted 4. Click Enable Dictation. The default keyboard shortcut to begin dictating is to press your Mac’s fn key twice. If you aren’t using an Apple keyboard with an f* key, make note of or choose a different shortcut key Let’s give this a test: 1. Open the TextEdit app 2. Select File > New to create a new document 3. Tap the fn (or your selected shortcut key) twice and began speaking to your Mac Note that what you say will almost immediately begin to appear on your screen. You should also note that your normal speech doesn’t make for very good text, because your normal speech doesn’t usually include punctuation. So, let’s work out a little ‘speech-to-text’.

Learning to speak again Instead of your normal speech, speak the following italicised text exactly as it’s written, but first, press the fn key twice: This is great Exclamation point 104  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

I’m using Apple’s speech to text feature Full stop New paragraph Pretty great Comma Isn’t it Question mark When you’re done, press the fn key. As you can see, this isn’t exactly pretty sounding speech, but, as you can also see, what you said is exactly what appears on the page.

So, about that warning By default, Apple’s dictation feature uses Apple’s servers to convert your speech to text. This can be a problem, because whatever you’re saying gets sent across the internet, converted to text and then sent back to you. If you don’t have access to the web you can’t use this feature. So let’s remedy that: 1. Open System Preferences 2. Click Dictation & Speech 3. Put a check in the box that says ‘Use Enhanced Dictation’ You Mac will download the speech-to-text translation files to your Mac’s hard drive. As soon as the download is complete you’ll have access to the dictation feature without an internet connection and you don’t have to worry about your romantic love poetry travelling to infinity and beyond to get turned into text. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  105

Opinion: Why 2016 is such a terrible year for the Mac Apple may still care about the Mac, but this year it’s been pretty hard to tell, writes Jason Snell


here’s a lot of unease out there among Mac users. First, there was the lack of 2016 updates to any Mac model that wasn’t the littlest MacBook. The Mac Pro and Mac mini have languished for several years with nary an update. And MacBook Pro users were hungry for a new model – and fuelled by constant rumours all year of brand-new laptops that were just over the horizon. Then we finally got the new MacBook Pro, and it’s loaded with a lot of cool stuff, but the reaction wasn’t quite what Apple might have expected from


the hungry crowd of Mac users. I suspect that the long delay between major Mac announcements has made everyone a bit anxious about what might come next. Certainly, a lot of people seemed to have invested a whole lot of concern about the future of the Mac into what Apple announced on stage recently.

Desktop doom It wasn’t an updated iMac, Mac Pro, or Mac mini. It was probably never going to be, but can you blame Mac Pro fans for being upset that yet another Mac event has passed while that model remains unchanged since its introduction? Then there’s the MacBook Pro itself, which is a quintessential Apple product in that it’s got a point of view, and like most points of view, it’s not for everyone. Among the issues these new laptops present to pro-level Mac users: They’re limited to 16GB of RAM due to a decision by Apple to optimise for power efficiency; their base prices are higher and currency issues make this doubly painful for users in many international markets; and they came right after Microsoft whipped up a lot of excitement for its forthcoming touchscreen Surface Studio, which seems targeted at Apple’s traditional market of creative professionals. Apple’s Phil Schiller told the Independent that he was surprised by the negative reaction to the announcements. Maybe Schiller wasn’t aware of the undercurrent of concern and anger among Mac users who feel that Apple has deprioritised the Mac, and that the lack of updates to the Mac Pro becomes more frustrating with every passing day. DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  107

Even the less reasonable reactions are Apple’s fault for letting it get to this point. Some of that concern and anger is reasonable, and some of it isn’t. But even the less reasonable reactions are Apple’s fault for letting it get to this point. The longer you go without Mac updates, the more time customers have to combine their anger and frustration with wishcasting about the product that will solve all their problems and make everything better. It’s hard to see how Apple would’ve been able to please everybody – though as Chuq von Rospach pointed out, a brief reassurance about the importance of the Mac and the fate of the Mac Pro might have been enough – but releasing an opinionated new MacBook Pro was never going to do it.

Apple shrugged Apple’s lack of Mac movement in 2016 plays on every Mac user’s fear of abandonment in the shadow of the success of the iPhone. The Mac is 12 percent of Apple’s business, and this year it felt like even less than that. The firm’s also yoked to Intel in terms of providing new Macs, a situation that the company doesn’t seem to like – and sometimes rebels against by releasing products on its own schedule rather than Intel’s. In this case, Apple’s timing appears to have been bad. There’s no way to know for sure, but it seems like Apple decided to dance to its own rhythm, skip an Intel chip generation, and then wait for the good stuff, only to get bitten by slippage in Intel’s schedule. If that’s what happened, it’s hard to blame it on Intel. After all, it was Apple’s gamble. 108  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

Regardless, the Mac Pro has not been updated in an unconscionably long time. The current Mac Pro, which you can still buy, is three years old. It hasn’t been updated once. The Mac Pro may not sell many units at all – and truth be told, even two years ago the 5K iMac was arguably a better Mac than the Mac Pro – but it’s also symbolic. It represents some part of Apple’s commitment to its professional user base, a small but enthusiastic group that includes developers and other highly technical folks. And users of the MacBook Pro had to look on and wonder if Apple’s commitment to them was wavering, too.

Does Apple care? I believe Apple is committed to the Mac. But it’s committed to it as a ‘classic computing’ device, a keyboard-and-mouse computer like the ones we’ve been using since the original Mac. Apple already has a next-generation operating system built for touch. The Mac still exists because it’s not iOS, and never will be. So Apple is left with finding ways to cleverly integrate the lessons it’s learned on iOS in ways that don’t break the metaphor. The Touch Bar is a good example of this. It’s essentially a miniature iOS screen turned into an input device to amplify the keyboard. Apple has also got to be realistic about the Mac. It’s a product in a declining category (personal computers) that the company is improving where possible while also keeping its fundamental metaphor in mind. Microsoft doesn’t want to do this. It doesn’t have a successful mobile operating DECEMBER 2016 • MACWORLD  109

system in its stable, so it’s adapting Windows PCs to serve both purposes. The Surface Studio is an example of the fruits of that approach. It’s far more likely that Apple would build a 24in iPad than release a touchscreen iMac in the style of the Surface Studio.

The danger at the margins A lot of the criticism of the MacBook Pro by high-end users seems justified. The 16GB RAM maximum, while irrelevant for most users, will be very tough for some users to swallow. In fact, some of them may be driven off of the platform. Similarly, there’s a lot of griping about the graphics processors in these new systems. The question is, did Apple do the right thing in optimising the MacBook Pro for thinness and lightness rather than high-end computing features? My guess is that Apple is well aware of what kind of people use its computers, and is going to make product decisions that appeal to the vast majority of those users. For those on the margins, the question will be if staying on Apple products is worth the pain, or if it isn’t. The danger for Apple is how many people are on those margins, and how influential those people are. If the company has miscalculated, it may cede users that keep the Mac platform strong, and that could slow the Mac’s momentum when compared to the PC industry at large. But Apple’s job is not to build a computer to reflect the needs of every current or prospective Mac user; it’s to make the best product for the largest number of people in the target market. 110  MACWORLD • DECEMBER 2016

People will complain about the move to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 on these new systems, but every change in ports inevitably leads to two things: complaints and adaptors. We’ll see a lot of both in the coming months, but then we’ll get over it. A larger danger for Apple, I think, is affordability. The move to Retina has dramatically increased the price of all of Apple’s laptops. The 13in MacBook Air is still kicking around at £949, but the new 13in MacBook Pro, by all rights the proper successor to the 13in Air, costs £500 more. Does Apple care about the Mac? I think it absolutely does, and that this year was a series of unfortunate events that made things seem worse than they are. But this is not to say that there aren’t some serious issues with the Mac. If, in six months, we’re still sitting here wondering what’s up with the iMac and Mac Pro, it might be time to revisit this. But I suspect than in six months Apple will have renewed most or all of the Mac product line (all powered by USB-C/Thunderbolt 3), and things will feel shiny and new again.