Apple will be releasing new versions of watch OS, tvOS, iOS, and macOS 10 very soon, maybe even this week. Once macOS 10.13 High Sierra, iOS 11, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11 become available for free download, you’ll need to decide when you’re going to install them.
We strongly advise against installing new operating systems right away. Let others (like us!) test things out and discover any show-stopping bugs that might exist. If you choose to ignore this advice it is possible that the operating system updates break something you rely upon. If that happens there might not be a fix until Apple pushes out an update—whenever that might be.
If history is any guide, we'll be recommending the watchOS and tvOS upgrades in the next newsletter.
What about iOS 11? Although iOS 11 has received good reviews from beta testers, there is no reason to rush an upgrade. Especially if you use an iPad, install iOS 11 only once you’re ready for a major interface change, what with the new Dock, the redesigned Control Center, the new Files app, and improved multitasking and drag-and-drop. It’s all good, but it’s noticeably different. Will we let you know in this newsletter when we think it's okay to upgrade to iOS 11? Yes we will.
The macOS 10.13 High Sierra upgrade probably won't be something we recommend until the ".3" update (likely in about 6 months). High Sierra focuses on under-the-hood enhancements, most notably the switch to the new APFS file system and behind-the-scenes HEVC/HEIF formats for videos and photos. Waiting for the ".3" gives you time to make sure your key apps are compatible with High Sierra and for Apple to resolve any unanticipated problems. Again, you can count on us to say when to "come on in, the water's fine."
As much as change can be hard, we’re excited about Apple’s new operating systems. Like you, we probably won’t end up using all the new features, but some will definitely enhance the experience of being an Apple user.
Crashplan is ending, switch to Backblaze advised
The golden rule of backups is to have your data in three places, one of which is offsite. For many people that offsite backup has been Crashplan. Late last month, however, Crashplan announced that they were exiting the home user market and that their home backup product would be discontinued.
If you use Crashplan we highly recommend a switch to Backblaze
to download the software and start a free 15-day trial). Backblaze costs just $5 a month per Mac—even less if you pay for an annual subscription—and each Mac is allowed to backup unlimited data.
Check it out, and be sure to do so before your Crashplan account expires.
Beware tech support scams!
Apple does a great job with Macs, iPhones, and iPads, but stuff goes wrong all the time—as professional providers of technical support we know that better than anyone. So we’re really cheesed off by tech support scams that try to defraud unsuspecting users in the name of fixing problems that don’t exist. Here’s how to protect yourself.
How Tech Support Scams Work
Tech support scams start by trying to get you on the phone. You might see an alarming pop-up message informing you of some problem and giving a number to call for help, end up on a Web site that offers a free “security scan” that will pretend to find problems and urge you to call, or even receive a direct cold call from someone claiming to be from Apple, Google, or Microsoft.
Once you’re on the phone, the scammers’ goal is to convince you to pay them to solve your “problem.” They do this by throwing around technical terms and having you look at low-level files that, they’ll say, show evidence of issues like malware infection or file corruption. They may even ask for remote access to your Mac using legitimate software like TeamViewer and use it to show you log messages that look like concerning errors.
If you fall for this tech talk, the scammers close in for the kill. They may ask for your credit card number to pay for the “services” they’ve rendered, enroll you in a fake maintenance or warranty program, sell you software that is normally available as a free download, or install malware that will give them continued access to your computer. Not good.
How to Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams
Here's what to do to ensure that you don’t get scammed:
- Never call a phone number that appears in a pop-up dialog, no matter what it says. Legitimate messages will never ask you to do that.
- If you get an unexpected call from someone you don’t know claiming to be tech support, hang up immediately. Don’t be fooled by caller ID, since it can be spoofed to look like the call is coming from a legitimate company, like Apple.
- Don’t give your passwords to anyone who contacts you on the phone, and never allow anyone you haven’t met in person (and trust!) to control your Mac remotely.
Of course, the awkward part here is that if we do tech support for you, we might be the ones calling. Particularly if you're in Sentinel or Sentinel+—where we provide proactive notification of problems—MacAtoZ may need to call you and even ask for remote control of your Mac. MacAtoZ will always email first, identify ourselves clearly during a call, and if you’re at all concerned, you can call us back on our business line (503-507-0410) or ask us for some piece of information no scammer could know. Your data's safety and your peace of mind are both priorities for us.
How to Recover from Being Scammed
First, we’re here to help for real, so please feel free to contact us for assistance. That said, there are three main things to focus on:
- Change any passwords that you shared. Plus, if you use the same passwords on any Web sites, change those passwords too. (And start using a password manager like 1Password so every site can have its own secure password without you having to remember and type them.)
- If you're in Sentinel+, run Maintenance so that any malware that might have been installed will be detected and quarantined.
- If you paid for any bogus services, call your credit card company and reverse the charges. You can also report the incident to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
Finally, beware of the “refund scam.” Several months after you’ve been scammed, you might get a call asking if you were satisfied with the service and offering a refund if you weren’t happy, or saying that the company is filing for bankruptcy and providing refunds. Either way, the scammer will then ask for your bank account or credit card number to process the refund, but instead of depositing money, will extract more. If you get a call like this, hang up immediately.
SMUG Security & Privacy presentation tonight
Our Senior Apple Technician, Ty Davison, will be providing a presentation on Security & Privacy for the Salem Mac Users Group, on Tuesday, September 12 at 7 PM. The event will be held at the Salem Comfort Inn Suites on Hawthorne Avenue. Visitors are welcome, and should you decide to join the group, dues are a very reasonable $25 per family per year.
We'll hope to see you there!