NOVEMBER 2022 NEWSLETTER
Apple releases iOS 16.1, iPadOS 16.1, macOS 13 Ventura, etc.
First the good news: iOS 16.1 has proven stable for us in testing. If you have an iPhone that can run iOS 16.1 we say go for it. iOS 16.1 has lots of nifty features like iCloud Shared Photo Library, Live Activities, Wallet Key Sharing, Apple Fitness+, Matter support, and Clean Energy Charging. This is on top of all the features in iOS 16 proper.
For those who like taking things slowly, it's no crime to continue to hang out on iOS 15.7.1 for a bit. No, it's not entirely secure any more, but you're not a high value target either. No nation-state is trying to find your location or see your browser history. No offense, but neither you nor I are that important. So while there are some hacks out there that could impact 15.7.1 iPhones, it's highly unlikely anyone reading this would ever be subject to them. Even so, you should upgrade to iOS 16.1 by the end of the year or early next.
We're more tentative about iPadOS 16.1. Apple held back releasing iPadOS 16 last month, reportedly to give them more time to fix bugs, so 16.1 is the big jump from iPadOS 15.7.1. Unless you are especially desirous some new iPadOS 16 feature—these are roughly what we listed above for iOS 16.1—we'd probably wait for iPadOS 16.2 (now in beta).
Our long-standing advice about macOS remains: Do NOT upgrade to a .0 release. macOS 13.0 Ventura may look alluring, but you're asking for pain if you upgrade now. We'll recommend Ventura in our Software Recommendations section of the newsletter when we think it's time, but that's highly unlikely to be before 13.3 (rumored to be a February release).
WatchOS 9.1 has been...great, really. Really good for battery life, too. Recommended.
Similarly, tvOS for the AppleTV has been running for us with no problems. The biggest update here is probably Matter support which has to do with Apple's HomeKit and home automation.
Apple releases new iPad, iPad Pro, and Apple TV
In a series of press releases—no big video event this time—Apple has announced upgrades to the iPad, iPad Pro, and Apple TV. The new models are largely evolutionary, with changes that are welcome but unlikely to change your iPad or Apple TV experience. All are available to order now, though ship times may be lengthy.
New Tenth-Generation iPad has iPad Air-like design, higher price
The product receiving the most significant changes is the iPad, now in its tenth generation. Apple redesigned it to look and work more like the iPad Air, with squared-off sides, an all-screen design, a 10.9-inch display, USB-C instead of Lightning, and Touch ID in the top button. Also like the iPad Air, the iPad now has a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and features Wi-Fi 6 plus 5G support in the cellular models for faster connectivity. Perhaps most interestingly, Apple finally repositioned the front-facing 12-megapixel camera along the landscape (long) edge of the iPad so you’ll be looking into the camera for video calls. Oddly, the new iPad Pro models didn’t also receive this improvement.
Despite the similarities, the iPad Air retains its technical superiority (and justifies its higher price) in two big ways. First, the tenth-generation iPad relies on the A14 Bionic chip that’s faster than the ninth-generation iPad’s older A13 Bionic but slower than the iPad Air’s higher-performance M1 chip. Second, the tenth-generation iPad remains compatible only with the first-generation Apple Pencil, presumably because Apple left the wireless charging hardware out to cut costs. Since the new iPad switches from Lightning to USB-C, you’ll need a $9 USB-C to Lightning adapter to pair and charge the Lightning-based Apple Pencil—that’s awkward.
Apple also introduced a new keyboard exclusively for the tenth-generation iPad, the Magic Keyboard Folio. It features full-size keys, a large trackpad, and a 14-key function row. The two-piece design separates the keyboard from the back cover, so you can fold the keyboard behind the iPad or detach it entirely when you’re not using it. The back cover has an adjustable stand for positioning the iPad at several angles. It’s available only in white.
The only problem is that all these changes come at a cost. Historically, the iPad has been Apple’s best value, with the ninth-generation iPad’s price starting at just $329. The new tenth-generation iPad now starts at $449 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi model. Add $150 if you prefer 256 GB of storage, and another $150 if you want cellular capabilities too. You can choose from blue, pink, yellow, and silver finishes.
So now, when pondering a full-size iPad, you have three options. The ninth-generation iPad remains available at $329 for those looking to pay the least. The tenth-generation iPad is now the middle choice at $449. And for those who want a better Apple Pencil experience, faster performance, and slightly better specs, the iPad Air starts at $599.
New iPad Pro offers M2 chip, faster Wi-Fi, and Apple Pencil Hover
Apple has also updated the iPad Pro, but with fewer changes. Foremost among them is Apple’s M2 chip, which provides the iPad Pro with the ultimate in performance. The M2 enables users to capture ProRes video for the first time and to transcode ProRes video up to three times faster than before.
That said, only those already pushing the limits on the previous iPad Pro models should consider upgrading from the previous M1 models since the difference isn’t likely to be that noticeable for less demanding workflows. Similarly rarified is the move to Wi-Fi 6E, which supports wireless networking at up to 2.4 Gbps, or twice as fast as the previous generation. Apple also expanded the 5G networking for the cellular-capable models to support more 5G networks around the world.
The new iPad Pro can also detect when the second-generation Apple Pencil is hovering up to 12 millimeters above the screen, displaying a circle that helps you position the tip of the Apple Pencil more precisely.
The new iPad Pro retains the same pricing, with the 11-inch model starting at $799 and the 12.9-inch model starting at $1099.
Increasingly, Apple is targeting the iPad Pro at video, audio, and graphics professionals interested in iPad-focused workflows. If that’s you, the new iPad Pro is worthwhile; those just looking for a high-performance iPad would be more economically served by the M1 iPad Air, which is $200 less expensive.
Third-generation Apple TV 4K boasts better specs for lower prices
Along with the new iPads, Apple also refreshed its Apple TV lineup, introducing the third-generation Apple TV 4K and dropping the old Apple TV HD. The design remains essentially the same, with the big change being an upgrade from the previous model’s A12 Bionic chip to the faster A15 Bionic for faster performance and more fluid gameplay. Apple also doubled the storage and added support for HDR10+ to provide the best possible video quality across more TVs. Finally, the Siri Remote now charges via USB-C instead of Lightning.
The new Apple TV 4K comes in two models, much like previous generations, but this time there are differences beyond storage, which is important only for apps and games. The $129 Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi) provides 64 GB of storage and supports only wireless networking, whereas the $149 Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi + Ethernet) comes with 128 GB of storage, includes a Gigabit Ethernet port for faster wired connectivity, and supports the Thread mesh networking protocol for smart home accessories.
Those prices are $50 lower than the previous generation’s. For those who aren’t interested in Apple TV games, home automation, and wired networking, the $129 Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi) is significantly more compelling than last year’s more expensive model. That said, we'd advise spending the extra $20 for the $149 model just in case your interests or needs change.
(Featured image by Apple)
Text flight numbers to people you’re visiting so they can track your flight
Next time you’re flying to visit your Apple-using family or friends, send them your flight number using Messages when you leave. Then they can easily track your flight in the air and see when you’re arriving.
Just text them the flight number prefixed with the airline’s abbreviation, like AA for American Airlines, AC for Air Canada, BA for British Air, DL for Delta, or UA for United Airlines. If Messages recognizes the flight number, it will underline it to indicate that tapping or clicking will bring up the current flight information.
This feature also helps you extract more information from a texted flight status update that an airline sends to you. If you know a flight number but don’t have it in Messages, you can get the same information on the Mac using Spotlight (press Command-Space). On an iPhone or iPad, use the Search feature (pull down on the Home screen).
(Featured image by iStock.com/SamAntonioPhotography)
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Always have a current backup of your Apple device prior to upgrading.
macOS 12.6.1 Monterey We recommend Monterey for any Mac capable of running it.
If you are upgrading from Mojave (or earlier) to Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey you should check that your important apps will run. (Apple apps are generally fine.) You may need to upgrade. You can check your apps here: https://roaringapps.com/apps?platform=osx
macOS versions before Catalina should be upgraded ASAP unless your Mac never goes online. You can see your Mac's operating system version by going to the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and choosing "About This Mac."
Do not upgrade to MacOS 13 Ventura.
iOS 16.1 All iPhones capable of running iOS 16 should be upgraded to this version. Any iPhone from the 8 and 2nd generation SE onward can run iOS 16. Phones earlier than that should be replaced. If you're not sure what iOS version you have, you can see your iPhone or iPad's operating system version by going to Settings > General > About > Version. You could also ask Siri, "Which version of iOS do I have?"
iPadOS 16.1 Similar to the iPhone, any iPad running iPadOS 16.1 should be upgraded to it. iPads incapable of running 16.1 should be replaced. For now, those iPads running 15.7.1 can stay there, but plan an upgrade to 16.1 by the end of the year.
watchOS 9.1 Older versions of WatchOS acceptable if necessary; upgrade if your devices (iPhone and Apple Watch) support it. You can see your Apple Watch's operating system version by going to Settings > General > About > Version. Generally, one does not have to worry about AppleWatch software security.
tvOS 16.1 Some other versions (tvOS 15.6, 14.7, tvOS 13.4.8, and tvOS 12) also acceptable. Note that earlier models of Apple TV do not run tvOS and are fine for what they do; not all channels, features, or apps will be available. You can see if there's a software update available for your Apple TV by going to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software. Generally, one does not have to worry about tvOS security.
These are minimum hardware recommendations based on what is necessary to run a secure operating system (macOS macOS 11.7.1 Big Sur). If your Mac does not meet these specifications—that is, it will not run at least Big Sur—it needs to be replaced unless you will not be using it online. macOS 10.15 Catalina and earlier are not secure.
- MacBook (2015 or later)
- MacBook Air (2013 or later)
- MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or later)
- Note that 2016-2019 MacBook Pro models have a higher than usual keyboard failure rate. Used 2015 models, which use a different style keyboard, may be a more reliable option. The new 2019 MacBook Pro 16" model uses a new keyboard mechanism and should be fine.
- Mac mini (2014 or later)
- iMac (2014 or later)
- iMac Pro (2017 or later)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
macOS Monterey was released in October 2021; macOS Ventura iwas released in October 2022. Both have their own set of system requirements.
If we were buying a Mac today, we would look exclusively at machines that use Apple's M1 or M2 chips. Intel-based Macs are being phased out and however good the pricing might be, we believe those Macs will have a shorter useful life.
iPhone and iPad
The iPad line is made confusing by the multitude of model names and types (Air, mini, Pro, and just plain iPad). Generally speaking, all iPads Pro and any iPad introduced from 2016 or later will run iPadOS 16. iPads that will not run iPadOS and should be replaced unless they will not be used on the internet.
- iPhone 8 or newer. Older iPhones, including the SE (first generation) cannot run iOS 16.
- iPad Air 3rd generation or newer
- iPad mini 5th generation or newer
- iPad Pro (all models)
- iPad 5th generation or newer
- Apple Watch Series 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, SE, or Ultra highly recommended.
- All AppleWatch models are secure and acceptable though Apple Watch Series 0, 1, 2, and 3 will not run the latest version of WatchOS and therefore lack both the speed and features of later Apple Watches.
- Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is recommended. Apple TV 4K (1st and 2nd generation) and Apple TV HD are fine as well, though the older one goes the fewer features are available.
- The latest version of the AppleTV Remote is available for stand-alone purchase ($59). It works with Apple TV 4k (all generations) and Apple TV HD. It's a lot better than previous remotes.
- Older models of Apple TV do not support tvOS and cannot run Apple TV Store apps, though we are unaware of any major security issues.
A secure operating system
See Software Recommendations for details. If you're not running a secure operating system, it will be difficult to impossible to protect your data.
We recommend using Apple's built-in whole disk encryption, FileVault. It can be turned on in System Preferences > Security & Privacy.
We recommend and use Apple's built-in Time Machine backup system. You'll need an external hard drive so that the data is automatically saved to a second location. Off-site backup remains important in mitigating the risk of fire or theft. We use and recommend Backblaze. At a cost of $6 a month per Mac, Backblaze will encrypt then backup an unlimited amount of data from your Mac. Data has a 30-day retention window, though longer time periods are possible for an additional couple bucks.
Sentinel, Sentinel+, Sentinel Ultra, Sentinel AM [warning: we are tooting our own horn here]
Sentinel provides professional 24/7 oversight of the health of your Mac. We're monitoring all kinds of things (RAM, hard drive, Time Machine backups, battery, etc.)—150 different data points every hour.
Sentinel+ adds maintenance and security to Sentinel's 24/7 monitoring. Sentinel+ will handle most software updates so you don't have to and run maintenance routines to keep things tip-top. This is includes basic scanning and quarantine of malware.
Sentinel Ultra is our top-of-the-line, four-in-one service that includes everything in Sentinel and Sentinel+. Ultra blocks malicious web sites, filters objectionable content, protects against email phishing threats, and even increases the speed of your web surfing. It's proactive security. Ultra represents our best effort and the best tool in our arsenal to keep clients safe on the web.
Sentinel AM is our anti-malware offering. It's a $5/mo add-on for Sentinel+ or Sentinel Ultra services.
A secure web browser with ad blocking
Firefox with the free open source content blocker uBlock Origin is our first choice. Safari with AdGuard (and blocking cross-site tracking turned on) is another fine option.
There's really no good reason to use Google, Bing, or any of the other search engines. Not only does DuckDuckGo return excellent search results, you can use commands in the search bar (like "!g"—that's exclamation point plus the letter g) to search Google anonymously. You can search other search engines anonymously too via DuckDuckGo, and DuckDuckGo won't track you. In the search engine preferences for either Safari or Firefox, you can set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine.
A Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is an encrypted tunnel between your Mac (or iPhone or iPad) and another computer run by the VPN company. It protects your internet traffic so that anyone who might want to spy on your traffic locally can't. The need for a VPN while traveling is diminishing as an increasing number of web site adopt encryption (https). That said, your Internet Service Provider can legally spy on your web traffic, and little but a VPN is going to prevent that.
A Password Manager
We consider password managers like 1Password indispensible. Instead of having to remember lengthy passwords or reusing the handful that we can remember, we remember one password to unlock 1Password, and the program takes care of the rest. 1Password can be a little complex to set up, so we typically will help clients with that. Actual use isn't too bad though and is typically within the reach of even basic users.
A Spam Filter
Apple's built in Junk Mail filter works for most spam assuming your email address isn't widely dispersed on the internet. If you're swamped with spam email, though, SpamSieve can rescue you.
Avoid Social Media
If you're posting to social media like Facebook, you're not just telling your friends something. You're telling Facebook, and Facebook is hardly keeping your information top secret. Want to say something privately to a friend? Use Apple Messages or Apple's FaceTime. Both are end-to-end encrypted, and not even Apple has the keys.
|MacAtoZ LLC provides technical support, upgrade, installation, networking, training and tutoring, and remote support services for Apple products like Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPods, and iPads.
Ty Davison, Dyneé Medlock, and Kelly Robison, our Apple technicians, are the only Apple-certified, Apple Consultants Network members serving both residential and small business clients in Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley.
MacAtoZ has been providing computer services for clients in the Salem area since 2006 (and since 1999 as SiteRev.com). Our technicians are certified by Apple and carry $2 million in business liability insurance. We frequently present and are well-known at the Salem Macintosh Users Group (SMUG). You can count on us.
Our Sentinel, Sentinel+, and Sentinel Ultra services offer home users 24/7 Macintosh monitoring, maintenance, security, and web browsing protection. Join today!
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Offsite Backup: You should have one, and we recommend Backblaze. Only $7 a month for unlimited data. Get your 15-day free trial here.
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