Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services

Mac

Troubleshooting | Basic Software | Security Notices

Mac Information

Mac Security | Mac News | Reference | History

macOS Sierra includes Siri, auto-unlock, Apple Pay and better integration with iOS devices.

macOS Sierra promises to be Apple's most intelligent, convenient, and accessible desktop operating system yet. — iMore

General

The Internet is the best source for help with your challenges other than Mac user groups.

  • Apple — the place to start for Mac products and information.
  • Mactopia — Microsoft products for the Mac.

Switching to a Mac

The Mac provides a stable platform for those that dislike the direction Microsoft has taken with Windows 10 or those that need to run both Windows and Mac on the same machine.

The switch from Windows to OS X has really paid off for me from a reliability standpoint. Sure, the Mac ecosystem is far from perfect, and there are still plenty of annoyances to contend with, but I'm wasting a lot less time hand-holding systems these days. — ZDNet.com

The integration with iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad make it even more attractive if you run those devices. You can even run Windows on a Mac by using Boot Camp or on a virtual suite like Parallels.

Should you switch? Have a look at When replacing your Windows 7 PC: Should you switch to Windows 10 -- or a Mac?

High end Windows-based ultrabooks are priced near (or even above) similarly equipped MacBooks and MacBook Pro machines. — ZDNet

There are online resources and books to help you in the transition.

Apple Resources

Other Resources

Mac Security

You need to be running security (antivirus) software on your Mac.

The use of security software for Mac OS X should not fail due to false vanity. — AV-TEST

Once of the reasons people love Macs is because of the relative lack of security vulnerabilities compared to Windows.

However, reports are increasingly appearing about malware and viruses infecting Apple computers (as well as the ever-more-ubiquitous hand-held devices).

New Security Threats

With the increased popularity of Macs has come a new set of security threats (see sidebar).

Don't Be Part of the Problem

Do not click on links sent via email and be wary of websites or sudden warnings that “you're infected.” Know how your security software provides protection and alerts so you can identify fake warnings.

Be aware of what you're sharing on social media sites and how it could affect your security and privacy.

Install Security Software

I strongly recommended that you install security protection onto your Mac.

You'll find a listing of Mac security software in the software section.

Mac News

These news sources will keep you informed about what is new and upcoming regarding the Mac.

Mac Reference

MacTracker provides detailed information on every Apple Macintosh computer ever made, including items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options.

Tips & Tricks

Information About Older Macs

These are sites don't appear to be maintained but still contain useful information:

History

Feeling nostalgic or curious about early Macs?

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Troubleshooting

Macs are very reliable, but sometimes things go wrong.

Unresponsive Programs

Apple has a Force Quit option for programs that don't respond to a normal shutdown request. This should be your last resort option.

Hardware

Storage Options

Traditionally, the only option for a hard drive was a spinning magnetic platter. Today, SSDs have changed that but you need to be aware of the risks and benefits of each choice.

Backing Up Your Mac

If your hard drive fails, you'll lose all your data and perhaps the information necessary to recover your computer. Backing up your Mac stores that information so that you can recover. You might want to read a bit about backups to fully understand the main concepts and risks.

Backing Up Your Email

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Basic Mac Software

Security | Photo & Graphic Design | Internet | Office/Text | Accounting | Utilities | Games

This Mac software listing is not extensive but provides some basic apps. A more extensive listing can be found on the Apple downloads page and the Mac App Store.

The Mac App Store provides a more secure source for software. If given the choice, look there for apps.

Security Software

You need to be running security (antivirus) software on your Mac. The effectiveness of security programs varies. See this not all products as effective.

Many Mac OS X security products adversely affect system performance. These reviews may help you decide:

Recommended

The recommendation is mainly based upon comparing the reviews and personal experience. I'm unlikely to recommend a product that causes your system to slow down considerably or which provides poor protection, but it is a balancing act.

  • Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has less impact on system performance than most others and provides for more customization. On-demand detection is excellent.
  • Sophos Antivirus for Mac rated “best free Mac antivirus” by Tom's Guide in 2016. Near perfect detection with minimal system impact.
  • ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac provides enhanced protection with little system impact.
  • Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac features strong e-commerce protection and additional features with reduced impact on system resources, but didn't perform quite as well in on-access malware tests as some others.

Alternatives

These alternatives may be good, but often suffer from poorer system performance. If price is your main consideration, value protection over performance.

Firewall

OS X's built-in firewall provides only inbound protection. There is no outbound protection and provides no additional protection if you're behind a router.

  • Little Snitch provides both incoming and outgoing firewall protection and includes a network monitor.

Photo & Graphic Design

Affinity products are extremely powerful and very reasonably priced.

  • Affinity Photo ($57.99, no subscription) is professional photo editing software for the Mac. In the works for 5 years, it has an incredibly intuitive interface. System requirements.
  • Affinity Designer ($57.99, no subscription) is professional graphic design software for the Mac. Affinity Designer won the 2015 Apple Design Award, “honoring outstanding design and innovation.” System requirements.

Internet Software

Web Browsers

  • Safari Browser is the Mac OS X default web browser and supports the latest standards and features.
  • Firefox Browser is available for Mac OS X 10.2.x and later.
  • iCab Browser. This alternative browser for the Mac is highly customizable and includes image filtering, which eliminates banner ads.

Email

FTP

  • Interarchy ($49.99 USD) is a good Mac FTP program that requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.
  • FileZilla is a free cross-platform graphical FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with many features.

Accounting Software

Manager is free accounting software that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

  • It includes modules such as cashbook, invoicing, receivables, payables, taxes and comprehensive financial reports.
  • The Desktop edition doesn't support multi-user capabilities. If you require multi-user access, you will need to sign up for Cloud edition and your data will be stored in the “cloud” rather than on your computer.

Multimedia

  • VLC media player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.

Office Suites & Text Editors

LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice: Free Office Alternatives

LibreOffice Apache OpenOffice

LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice provide the core features of Microsoft Office and both are free to download, use, and distribute.

Governments, education, businesses, not-for-profits, IT businesses and more are using Apache OpenOffice products (and LibreOffice) as their standard office software.

System Requirements for Mac OS X

LibreOffice runs on Windows, MacOSX, and Linux. Java is required for certain features of the software. The Mac OS X requirements have been included below.

  • Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or higher.
  • Intel processor.
  • 512 MB RAM.
  • Up to 800 MB available hard disk space.
  • 1024x768 graphic device with 256 colors (higher resolution recommended).

Apache OpenOffice runs on many operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Java is required for certain features of the software. The Mac OS X requirements have been included below.

  • OS X 10.7 (Lion) or higher.
  • Intel Processor.
  • Free memory of 512 MB RAM.
  • 400 MB available disk space.
  • 1024 x 768 or higher resolution with 16.7 Million colours.

About the Java Requirements

Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice will run without Java for most users but certain features depend upon Java, particularly the database program.

Java is mainly required for the HSQLDB database engine (used by our database product Base) and to make use of accessibility and assistive technologies. — Apache OpenOffice

Java is known to make Windows insecure. Mac and Linux users now share that vulnerability by running Flash and Java.

Remove Java if you don't need it. If installed, be sure to frequently update it and to remove older versions.

Download Java. | Test your current Java installation. | Learn more about Java.

See Java for Mac OS X or Oracles Java Downloads for All Operating Systems pages for information specific to Mac OS X.

Writing

HTML and Text Editors

HTML Editors

  • BBEdit ($49.99 USD) is an excellent HTML text editor.

Text Editors

Notes, the Mac OS X built-in editor, was improved greatly in El Capitan, but you might find one of these products better for your needs.

  • TextWrangler is now free, and considered the replacement for BBEdit Lite. There is a TextWrangler FAQ that should answer questions about the intended market for this product and the advantages of moving to the full-featured BBEdit.
  • BBEdit Lite is discontinued. There is still a download available here, which you'll need if you are not running OS 10.

Utilities

Your Mac has utilities built in that do much of what is done by these third-party utilities, but sometimes they simplify the process.

Disk Cleanup

When deleting files, be careful to avoid system files and files related to programs as they may not run properly (or at all) if you do). Duplicate files on the system may be named the same but used for different purposes.

  • CCleaner for Mac protects your privacy and makes your Mac faster and more secure.
  • CleanMyDrive 2 is great for copying files to thumb drives including removing hidden junk files from external drives.
  • AVG Cleaner tracks down forgotten duplicate files.
  • AppCleaner can help uninstall apps that distribute many files throughout your System.

Zip Utilities

Games

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This page is maintained as a service to Macintosh users.

www.RussHarvey.bc.ca/resources/mac.html
Updated: February 16, 2017

Macintosh information, sites, software and  user groups.

Security Notices

See Apple Product Security for an overview of Apple's security and Apple Security Updates for a listing of fixes.

Reports are increasingly appearing about malware and viruses infecting Apple computers (as well as the ever-more-ubiquitous hand-held devices).

User Groups

Macintosh user groups provide a place to interact with other Mac users, to ask questions and socialize. There are often special interest groups (SIGs) that meet regularly to discuss specific topics.

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Related Resources

Related resources on this site:

or check the resources index.

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