Main Michling Consultants

When did your Mac last start up? Mine’s only been running continuously now for nearly ten days, but unless something forces me to, I don’t intend restarting it for another couple of weeks, and only shut it down completely a couple of times a year. Which is better, then: a daily boot, or leaving your Mac on as long as possible?

Traditional arguments about this have been based on the last generation of computers, with internal hard drives. I’ve been leaving my desktop Mac running constantly for many years now, and started doing so largely to reduce the risk of hard drive failure. This iMac Pro no longer has internal storage which spins platters, so it’s time to reassess what I do.

Factors to consider include:

Which model it is. Laptops are engineered for intermittent use, with periods of sleep or shutdown in between. Even if you’re using a MacBook Pro as your desktop system much of the time, you’re very unlikely to be interested in running it continuously.
Whether any part of your system still uses rotating disks. Although my iMac doesn’t contain them, it backs up to an external RAID which contains four conventional hard drives.
Pattern of use. If your Mac is unused from Friday evening to Monday morning, it’s likely to make sense to at least shut it down for that period each week.
Location and your presence. Similar considerations apply when the Mac is in an office which is only occupied during working hours.
Servers and services. If your Mac provides services to other Macs or devices, it needs to be running when those services may be required.
How often you replace it. I aim to replace my desktop when its AppleCare runs out, but many users will want a longer life.
Energy consumption and cost. Even when sleeping, a desktop system uses electricity of course.
Hardware reliability.
Reliability of services (power, heat, cooling) and provision of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Desktop Macs should always be protected by a UPS, but when they’re unattended for long periods you may want one with a higher specification to cope with mains outages when you’re not there. Automatic shutdown is essential, and needs to be tested too.
Security. If your Mac is going to be unattended for long periods, you need confidence in its physical (local) and Internet security.
Ease of access. If you do have access out of ‘working hours’ but shut your Mac down then, you are unlikely to want to start it up just to check something out quickly over an evening or weekend.
The biggest argument in favour of leaving computers running constantly in the past has been to minimise the risk of mechanical failure of hard disks. Evidence shows that repeatedly spinning up and spinning down rotating hard disks reduces their working life, on average. Leaving a disk running at constant speed at all times generally results in longer life before mechanical failure. That should be a key consideration if any part of your system relies on conventional hard disks.

One way around this is to use networked storage for backups; you can leave that storage running constantly, but still shut your computer system(s) down when you wish.

It’s generally accepted that electronics which warm up in use, as computers do, tends to run with fewer problems when they are left running at normal working temperatures for long periods. One factor which has been implicated in this is the use of lead-free solder. It has been claimed that repeatedly cycling the temperature of some components soldered without the use of lead – which has been banned throughout the EU for more than a decade – increases the risk of joint failure.

However, since lead-free solder and its use with surface-mount components have undergone considerable improvement over that period, it’s hard to know how true or significant this might be. Most electronic engineering advice, though, continues to recommend that systems are left running in stable conditions as much as possible to ensure their maximum working life.

Pattern of use is very important here. If your Mac is in a separate workplace, you may only use it from Monday to Friday between 0800 and 1700, say. Although I do go out daily, at least, my desktop system is essentially in use seven days a week between about 0700 or earlier and 2330. Out of the 168 hours that it’s running each week, it could only sensibly be shut down for less than 50 hours, which is under 30%.

Following on from that is the question of how much energy you’d save by shutting your Mac down. This is relatively simple to estimate: in my case I’ve got an iMac Pro and my RAID, which together will use around 100-120 W when idle. So if I shut them down for 50 hours each week, I should save around 5 kW each week, or 250 kW per year, which costs me roughly £45 per year. If my Mac were to be shut down outside ‘office’ hours, say 120 hours each week, instead, then those savings would rise to just over £100 per year.

In the days when Macs had hard disks, that sort of saving was probably less than the cost of replacing disks which failed as a result of accelerated ageing. With hardware savings even tougher to guesstimate now, the answer in terms of cost isn’t as clear.

Finally, you need to know whether your Mac can sleep and wake reliably. This is my third iMac in succession which hasn’t been reliable in this respect, now probably because of the kernel extension for the RAID drive, which tends to be unstable when waking up. When it does sleep, regardless of the Energy Saver pane settings, it also tends to put the drives in the RAID to sleep too, which defeats part of the purpose in not shutting it down.

Some users even question the value of putting a display to sleep: over the working lifetime of a computer like an iMac, never putting the display to sleep is extremely unlikely to cause any persisting faults in its modern display.

At the end of the day, it’s a personal decision on the balance of these different factors, and what you feel most comfortable doing.

Here is a pdf showing some of them. ENJOY!
Remember to leave a comment if you are so inclined.
Did you know the Mac has built in malware protection. Some people refer to this as “virus” protection, but it is really malware as it would need to be downloaded and installed on your Mac, which is not an easy thing to do because of all the protections Apple has provided.

There are three parts to this protection system : Gatekeeper (Security and Privacy), XProtect and the Malware Removal Tool…

To ensure all your systems are working go to System Preferences… under the Apple menu.
Then click on Security & Privacy select the General tab

Click the lock to make changes:
You can choose Allow Apps downloaded from:
App store or App store and identified developers.
This will make sure you are downloading ONLY from the app store or the app store and trusted developers that you trust.

Go back to System Preferences:

Then click on Software update:

Then click on the Advanced… button

Make sure the Install system data and security updates is checked.

Then close System Preferences

Your Mac is protected from known malware and Apple will update automatically for you as needed.

I did not forget about you iPad users.

Here is a multipage PDF loaded with iPad features for you to use. Enjoy. Click on the Comments below to leave a comment.

You might find this an interesting read...

AT&T said, "Don't do it"...

Here is a multi page pdf to show you how:
Adobe Acrobat is a fine editing tool (if you enjoy being pestered with constant updates). But Mac users have a built-in alternative that comes with features comparable to the free version of Acrobat.

The list of ways you can manipulate a PDF or photo (including JPEG or PNG) in Preview is long. Here is just a sampling to get you started.

How to fill in and sign a form on Preview

This is the most basic function of a good PDF reader. In Preview, just click on the fillable sections and start typing.

You can also sign a fillable form in Preview.

1. Open the PDF in Preview.

2. Click Tools > Annotate > Signature.

Signature option in Tools menu
You can insert your signature into PDF documents.

3. If you've already added a signature to Preview, it will appear in a pop-up box. Click your signature to add it, then drag it to the appropriate spot on the form.

4. If you don't have a signature or want to create a new one, click "Manage Signatures." A window will appear that allows you to create a signature on your trackpad, or scan one with your camera. Once you are satisfied, click "Done" and your signature is saved.

You can create a signature with your trackpad, or by scanning one with your computer's camera.

One caveat: If you save a fillable form and send it to someone who will open it in Acrobat, Acrobat may see your entries on the form. You can get around this by printing and scanning the document or by printing to PDF.

How to annotate a PDF in Preview

There are numerous ways you can edit a PDF in Preview. Most of the editing tools are found under Tools > Annotate.

You can add text, arrows, circles, rectangles, and more. To customize these annotations, click the appropriate icon on the menu above the document.

Change the thickness of a line by clicking the line icon. A menu of line options will drop down.
To change the color of an arrow, shape, or line, click the outline icon. A color palette will pop down. Click on the color you want.
To change the fill of a shape, click the box icon. A color palette appears. For no fill, choose the white box with a red line across it.
Click the text icon to change the font, size, alignment, or style of added text. To change the text color, click the color box on the upper right side of the font box. A color palette will pop down.

Preview allows you to change the color of most annotations.

You can annotate text that's already in the document with options such as highlight, strikethrough, and underline. Simply place your cursor on the text you want to annotate. Choose Tools > Annotate to see your options.

How to edit a photo in Preview

You can annotate a photo with the same tools you can use on a regular PDF. In addition, you can flip a photo horizontally or vertically, crop it, or adjust the size.

To change the orientation of a photo, the tools menu gives you options to rotate or flip the image. If you want to adjust the size, choose Tools > Adjust Size. Size adjustment comes in handy if your image is too large to send or add to a social media profile.

Here are the steps to crop a photo:

1. Place your cursor at one of the corners where you want to start cropping.

2. Drag your cursor until the dotted line is the size you want to crop.

Select what you want to be saved after the crop.

3. Choose Tools > Crop. This option will be grayed out until you have set the crop area.

You can undo any of these changes in Preview by choosing Edit > Undo. You also have the option to revert to an earlier version of the image or PDF.

Just click File > Revert To. A box will pop out showing you previous saved versions of the document.
You probably noticed that there is a microphone button on the iOS keyboard for iPhone and iPad (see below). When you tap this button, you can dictate text by speaking. Some users may find this helpful. Because tapping this button will give you you the ability to talk to your iPhone or iPad instead of typing. However, I sometimes accidentally tap this, and further I almost never use this feature. If you are like me, you may want to remove this button. In this article, I explain how you can remove or add this microphone button. Please note that if you remove this (also this means you are disabling Dictation), you will still be able to use Siri.

Please note that the steps described here will also disable or enable dictation on your iPhone or iPad.

How to remove the microphone button (disable dictation)

1-Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPadSettings app iPhone iPad

2-Tap General

3-Tap Keyboard

4-Find the “Enable Dictation” option and turn it off. Doing so will produce a popup saying “The information Dictation uses to respond to your requests is also used for Siri and will remain on Apple servers unless Siri is also turned off.” It may also say, if you have a paired Apple Watch: “Turning off Dictation on your iPhone will turn off Dictation of your Apple Watch”

If you are still want to get rid of the button, tap Turn Off Dictation.

Exit settings and now go open your keyboard and you will see that the microphone button is gone:

If you change your mind, you can simply add the button by going to Settings > General > Keyboard and then toggle on Dictation.

Siri everything
Siri is the fastest way to open an app. It’s the fastest way to open Settings for an app – just ask Siri to “open Settings” while you are in the app. It’s also the fastest way to send a fast message to someone and the quickest means by which to dictate an email. You can even ask it to switch on Do Not Disturb or schedule meetings with named contacts.

Fast response
Received a message and want to send a response fast? Just long press the message to open its preview and then slide your finger up the screen to find three quick responses you can use.

Long press links on a page
Long press any link on a Safari page and gently swipe up. You’ll get a range of options including opening and sharing the site. Or long press the Safari icon to open a new session. Or long press any app icon to find numerous shortcuts.

Read later offline
Found a webpage in your lunch break you’d like to take a closer look at later when you’re offline? Long press the Bookmark option and add it to your Reading list.

Need power in a hurry? Use AirPlane mode
Switch your iPhone to AirPlane mode and your iPhone will charge more efficiently in the time you’ve got.

Call handling
Call comes in and you can’t take it? Tap Message on the incoming call screen and you can choose a text message to let the caller know you can’t pick up right now.

Want to speak to one of your contacts on speakerphone? Just ask Siri to call that contact and finish the request with the words “on speakerphone”.

Maps control
Double tap to zoom in Maps. If you keep holding after the second tap you’ll be able to zoom in and out of the map just by moving that your finger up and down the screen.

Fast App Switching
Swipe right in the indicator area at the bottom of the display to get to the last used app. Keep swiping to move between apps.

Quick currency
When you want to type another currency symbol just press and holdthe dollar key and you’ll see a bunch of alternatives you can use. This also works on other characters, so try this on all the keys.

Which number?
Someone made contact and you don’t know which number they used? Just open up their Contacts app listing and the last method they used to make contact with you will be marked as ‘Recent’.

You can ask Mail in iOS to tell you when a new message comes through in a key conversation. Just tap the flag icon and choose 'Notify Me...' in the options that appear.

Refuse the call
When you receive a call you can’t take then swipe down the screen and use one of the commands you’ll find there: Message will send a text message to the caller saying you can’t speak, while Remind Me will remind you to call them back.

The one everyone knows and so many forget: Double-tap the Space bar to add a period.

The other one everyone knows but sometimes forgets – when you enter an incorrect number in the Calculator app you don’t need to start the sum all over again, just swipe back in the numbers field.

Take a snap
Using the Camera app and want to keep the iPhone steady? Just tap one of the volume buttons on the device, or tap the volume up button on your wired earbuds.
I do hope these come in useful from time to time.