Category: macOS

How to Find Friends or Family with Find My (iPhone, iPad, Mac)

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The FindMy app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac can be used to easily find people, whether they are friends, family, or anyone else sharing their location with you. You can quite literally find them on a map where ever they are located with this feature, a very handy feature for many people.

We’ve already explained how to find a lost iPhone, iPad, or Mac with FindMy and now we’re going to show you how to find people, too.

Finding people is super easy and it can be very useful, too. You’ll be able to find anyone who is part of your family, plus anyone who has…

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How to Setup a VPN on Mac

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Need to setup a VPN on Mac? Setting up a VPN on MacOS is very easy, as this tutorial will walk you through the steps to accomplish a manual VPN configuration on the Mac.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and VPN services are often used by businesses, enterprises, agencies, and individuals for a wide variety of purposes. Often consumers will use a VPN as a means of improving privacy, security, or being a bit more anonymous online, or to protect data that is being transferred from the Mac to the internet. Basically how a VPN works is that, when enabled, it…

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Where are Notes Stored on Mac?

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Want to access Notes data on your Mac? Wondering where Notes are stored on the Mac? This article will show you where Notes are stored locally on a Mac and how to access that data. This of course assumes you use the Notes app, with or without iCloud, and if so all Notes will be kept on the Mac locally, including locally kept notes, and caches of notes from iCloud. This stored Notes data includes all Notes texts, images, graphics, drawings, doodles, media, movies, videos, and any other data stored and kept in the Notes app.

This article is aimed for more technical…

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How to Backup iPhone or iPad to Mac in MacOS Catalina with Finder

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Wondering how to backup your iPhone or iPad in macOS Catalina? Since iTunes is gone, even the most experienced of iPhone and iPad users can be thrown for a loop when they come to back up their devices after updating a Mac to macOS Catalina. With the loss of iTunes, everything has changed, and now managing your iPhone and iPad is done via Finder. Don’t worry it still works fine, but it is different. We’re going to tell you how to use the Finder in macOS Catalina (or later) to backup an iOS or iPadOS device.

As you may already know, when Apple released macOS…

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How to Download and Install Older macOS Versions With Terminal

When it’s time to install a new version of macOS or download a new update, nearly everyone turns to the Mac App Store to start the process. While the App Store makes OS installations easy and relatively painless, it doesn’t always work—and it might be time to turn to Terminal (and a little creativity) instead.

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How to Prevent iOS 13.2 From Breaking Your HomePod

Apple released iOS 13.2 the other day, which adds some neat features for your HomePod—including the ability to detect and differentiate between multiple voices and pass audio from an iPhone to the Homepod by bringing the phone near the speaker. The bad news is that this update seems to be bricking some HomePods…

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How to Try Out Apple’s New iCloud Website (and Reminders)

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse (

Apple’s Reminders app—an incredibly helpful way to stay organized on iOS and macOS—is once again available via your web browser, thanks to an updated version of Apple’s iCloud website. But you won’t see this, as well as Apple’s other changes, unless you enroll in the iCloud beta test.

Along with resurrected Reminders app, the new iCloud portal comes with an all-new interface (as well as the staple iCloud apps: Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Notes, Photos, and the newly updated “Find My” device feature, previously known as “Find my phone.”)

Screenshot: David Murphy (iCloud)

Getting into the iCloud beta is easy, as it’s open to anyone with an Apple account. Just pull up and sign in. You’ll then be able to access all the normal iCloud apps you’re used to, and you can (finally) play with Reminders again. Changes you make will synchronize to any iOS or macOS device where you’ve enabled iCloud, which is likely everything you own—most people sign into iCloud, we wager.

Apple’s beta interface for iCloud is expected to roll out alongside iOS 13 and macOS Catalina when both launch (likely in less than a month). If you want an early look at more features coming to Apple’s updated operating systems, head over to our guide on how to install the public betas for iOS 13, iPadOS 13, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS Catalina.


How to Enroll in the iOS 13, macOS Catalina, and iPadOS Public Betas

The public betas for iOS 13, macOS Catalina, iPadOS, and tvOS 13 are finally available. Here’s a quick recap of how to sign up, and what testers can expect from these beta builds.

How to sign up for and download iOS 13, macOS Catalina, iPadOS, and tvOS

In order to receive access to each beta, you’ll need to sign up to Apple’s Beta Software Progam, which requires an Apple ID (naturally).

  1. Open the Apple Beta Program page on whatever device you want the beta (and use the Safari browser to make this easy).
  2. Click “Sign up” and use your Apple ID to sign in
  3. Accept the user agreement.
  4. Select the beta you wish to enroll in, then scroll down to the “Get Started” section and click the “enroll you [device]” link.
  5. Apple will give you some additional instructions to follow. The short version: You’ll have to install a beta profile to your device, which will then unlock the beta as a regular Software Update—found within your device’s settings menu.

What to expect

While these betas only recently became open to the public, the dev community (and Lifehacker readers) have been able to play around with them for a bit longer. If you’re just getting started, we’ve published lots of stories about the latest and greatest features available in iOS 13, macOS Catalina, and iPadOS. (And if you’re interested in how iOS 13 is shaping up against its Google-y competitor, here’s how the iOS 13 and Android Q betas compare.)

As we always say about installing beta software, these operating systems are still being finalized. You’ll probably run into bugs, glitches, and find that some apps aren’t yet supported. While you probably shouldn’t run the beta on your primary device—especially if you need it to always be operational for, say, your job—the public beta is at least a little bit more stable than the first developer betas for these operating systems. (Not perfect, just better.)

Should you join the public beta, be sure to be a good tester and report any bugs or other feedback through Apple’s Feedback Assistant page (or app). If you’re simply giving the new operating systems a test run, be sure to follow Apple’s backup steps—do not forget to make a backup of your device before you install the beta—so you can undo the updates and keep most of your data intact if you ever want to roll back to iOS 12. (You can also find backup and restore options for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV in Apple’s beta software program information.)


How to Get Your MacBook Ready to Sell

Photo: David Murphy

I’m getting rid of my MacBook. It’s nothing personal; I have to swap out my G/O Media-owned device for another, slightly slower MacBook. It’s an annoying process, but it doesn’t take a lot of time. In fact, it probably took me more time to come up with the “checklist of things I should do before you get rid of your MacBook” than to do the actual work.

And now, Lifehacker readers, I impart that knowledge to you. Regardless of the reason, there will one day come a time when you’ll be looking to get rid of your MacBook. When you do, there are a few things you’ll want to do to your trusty laptop before you send it off into the sunset—to ensure data security, a smooth transition, and no hiccups for whoever owns it next (unless it’s going right into the recycling bin).

Turn off FileVault

If you’ve been using FileVault, your Mac’s handy full-disk encryption feature, you’ve been living life secure and happy. However, now that you’re getting rid of your MacBook, it’s time to turn this off. It sounds like the exact opposite of what you’d want to do, I know, but you’ll be wiping your drive and reinstalling a fresh copy of macOS. Disabling FileVault will ensure this process goes smoothly—and it’s a good step to take if you’re looking to reset your Mac back to “factory default” settings.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Click on the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of your MacBook and click on System Preferences. From there, click on Security & Privacy, and then the FileVault tab, to turn the feature off. Depending on the speed of your MacBook and how much data you have, the decryption process could take anywhere from tens of minutes to a few hours.

Turn off Find My Mac

This is probably a superfluous step, but it doesn’t take very long and it’s something you always have to do when you’re getting rid of an iPhone or iPad. So, why not?

Screenshot: David Murphy

I like to take a minute to make sure I’m no longer using Find My Mac on my soon-to-be-gone MacBook. You won’t be able to toggle this off within the app itself; instead, visit your MacBook’s System Preferences and click on iCloud. Uncheck Find My Mac, type in your password for your iCloud account, and you’ll be set.

Deauthorize your computer

I always forget this step, and I invariably have to reset all of my iTunes authorizations more frequently than most. Before you box up your MacBook and ship it off to wherever it’s going, pull up iTunes—or if you’re on macOS Catalina, the new Music and Apple TV apps—and deauthorize your system via the Account menu (and then “Authorizations,” naturally).

Screenshot: David Murphy

If you don’t do this, then you’ll have to deauthorize everything once you hit five authorized computers and you want to access your account (and all your purchased media) on another. You can only do this once per year, but most people don’t need to authorize that many systems so much.

Unlink other accounts

This one is particular based on how many other services you’ve integrated with your device. However, it doesn’t hurt to deauthorize your MacBook with other services like Google or Dropbox (to name two I use frequently).

Screenshot: David Murphy

If you use some subscription service that limits how many devices you can use, make sure you’ve done this before you ditch your MacBook—especially if the only way to do this after-the-fact is to deauthorize everything, which will require you to sign back in on your other devices.

Sync your Messages to iCloud

If you’ve been doing a ton of chatting on your MacBook, and you want to reference these conversations later, make sure you’re synchronizing your messages to iCloud. Open up the Messages app and click on Messages, and then Preferences. Click on iMessage, and select “Enable Messages in iCloud” for your account. Click “Sync Now” to start the process, and give it a little time to throw everything onto the cloud (viewable by any other Apple device with a similar setting enabled).

Screenshot: David Murphy

While you’re at it, you might as well synchronize other data you aren’t already sending to Apple’s cloud—like your Notes, Contacts, Reminders, et cetera—via the iCloud option in System Preferences (or Apple Account and then iCloud, if you’re already in macOS Catalina).

Log out of iCloud

This one’s easy, and it helps ensure that your old MacBook will never be associated with your iCloud account going forward—especially useful for the buyer, who would likely prefer you to have no visibility whatsoever into where they are.

Pull up System Preferences, click on iCloud, (or Apple Account, in macOS Catalina), and click on “Sign Out.” Your MacBook will ensure that your data is correctly synced to the cloud, but you can skip this process if you know everything is already there.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Once you’ve done this, pull up iCloud’s Settings page—on the web—and confirm that your MacBook is no longer listed as one of your devices. If it is, click on it and remove it.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Back up your stuff

You could put this step anywhere, really. Whenever you do it, make sure you do a thorough scrub of your device to ensure that everything critical to you is backed up elsewhere. Whether you’re dumping your photos (or data) to another cloud service, cloning a drive in Disk Utility, dragging and dropping your critical files to a USB-connected external drive, or making ample use of Time Machine, spend some time with your Mac to ensure you haven’t missed anything.

Don’t do this step in a rush. Make a mental map of everything you do in a typical day (or week), and make sure the files you regularly access are saved somewhere else.

Erase all your stuff

When you’re ready to wipe your laptop clean, restart it. As your system boots, hold down Command + Option + R. Once you see your MacBook’s loading screen pop up, you can stop holding the keys down. After a bit of time, you’ll boot into your MacBook’s recovery mode. Open up the Disk Utility app, click on your primary disk or volume, and select the Erase option. I recommend reformatting it with APFS and using the GUID Partition Map scheme (as does Apple).

Once you’ve wiped your drive clean, exit Disk Utility and select Reinstall macOS. This will install a clean copy of the latest macOS version that’s compatible with your device, a nice gesture for whoever is getting your MacBook next (if anyone).