November 2019 Newsletter
Status on all the latest operating systems
Apple continues to revise and bug-fix their most recent releases, and it's been a little more hairy than predicted. Specifically, iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 were awful for a whole lot of people.
How the bug was introduced after a relatively stable 13.1.2 is unclear. The end result was that background apps were being rather harshly shut down by the system. Let's say you were watching YouTube and a new email came in. Normally, you'd switch to Mail, read/respond to the email, then go back to watching YouTube. Under 13.2, you'd have to reload your YouTube video and start from the beginning once you switched back. This displeased many people.
Happily, the latest versions of iOS and iPadOS appear to fix this problem. We've only had a few days to test 13.2.2, but as far as we can tell, it seems to be okay. Our somewhat convoluted advice: If your iPhone or iPad is on 13.2 then you should definitely upgrade to 13.2.2. If your iPhone or iPad is on 13.1.2, you might want to wait. There's only so much testing one can do in a few days. If your iPhone or iPad is on 12.4.1 (or 12.4.2 for some models), you're okay hanging out there awhile long if you like. Anything running 11 or earlier needs to update for security reasons.
We are also happy to report that WatchOS 6.1 fixes the battery issues that plagued some Series 4 and Series 5 watches. You'll have to have your iPhone on iOS 13.x to update your watch, but so far it seems like a good update.
AppleTV software seems okay. We're not big fans of the TV app, but we've not found any problems.
macOS 10.15 Catalina remains a dumpster fire. Our advice remains the same as last month: Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
As always, you can see all our current hardware and software recommendations at the end of this newsletter.
Are you a fan of Apple’s AirPods, or have you had trouble with them staying in your ears? Either way, you might like the just-released AirPods Pro
, which offer a new design with three sizes of soft, flexible, silicone ear tips and welcome new capabilities. The ear tips should make the AirPods Pro fit better for more people, and an Ear Tip Fit Test will tell you which size is right for your ears.
The hot new feature is Active Noise Cancellation mode, which significantly cuts down on the background din of planes, trains, and automobiles. Alternatively, Transparency mode reduces surrounding noise while still letting you hear important announcements and stay aware of the environment around you. And, of course, Apple promises superior sound quality. The AirPods Pro cost $249 and come with a Wireless Charging Case.
Fantastic update to the AirPods line-up.
iOS 13 Mail - Careful when using trash
For unknown (and perhaps unknowable) reasons, Apple redesigned the toolbar in the iOS 13 version of Mail to place the Trash button where Reply used to be. You can readily intuit why this might have been a bad idea.
Lots of people who have become accustomed to tapping Reply are now finding themselves deleting messages inadvertently, since a tap in the same location in iOS 13 deletes the message. It’s hard to retrain muscle memory—the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought—but if you find yourself deleting messages accidentally, you’ll need to slow down and remember to tap the new location of the Reply button.
Determining your exact Mac model
Apple likes to keep Mac names simple, but that’s not always helpful. For instance, if you want to add RAM to your Mac, it’s not good enough to know that it’s an iMac. You’ll need to know that it’s a 27-inch iMac with Retina display from late 2014.
To find that out, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu. In some cases, you might even need to know the model identifier, which is a numeric code that’s accessible if you click the System Report button in the About This Mac window, and then click Hardware at the top left of the System Information window. It will be something like iMac15,1.
MacAtoZ closed Thanksgiving week
MacAtoZ will be closed the week of November 25-29 for Thanksgiving so we can visit with family and overindulge in pumpkin pie. We will continue to monitor Macs for Sentinel/+ clients, and alert folks if necessary. We'll also be available for emergency remote support, though only for existing Sentinel/+ clients.
We wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!
macOS 10.14.6 Mojave
. macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra is acceptable. Earlier versions should be upgraded ASAP. 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." Don't even think about macOS 10.15 Catalina yet.
iOS 12.4.1 (or 12.4.2 for some models) acceptable. Any device that can run iOS 11 should be upgraded to 12.4.2 or 13.2.2. You can see your iPhone or iPad's operating system version by going to Settings > General > About > Version.
iPadOS 12.4.1 (12.4.2 for some models) also acceptable.
. 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.
. tvOS 12 also acceptable. Note that earlier models of Apple TV do not run tvOS and are fine for what they do. You can see if there's a software update available for your Apple TV by going to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software.
- iMac: iMac10,1 (Late 2009) or newer
- Mac mini: Macmini4,1 (Mid 2010) or newer
- Mac Pro: MacPro5,1 (Mid 2010) or newer
- MacBook: MacBook6,1 (Late 2009) or newer
- MacBook Air: MacBookAir3,1 (Late 2010) or newer
- MacBook Pro: MacBookPro7,1 (Mid 2010) or newer
- 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.
These are minimum
hardware recommendations based on what is necessary to run a secure operating system (macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra).
The following are the macOS 10.14 Mojave/10.15 Catalina system requirements. If your Mac does not meet these specifications, it will need to be replaced by fall of 2020, when High Sierra will no longer be secure.
macOS 10.14 Mojave/10.15 Catalina system requirements
- MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
- MacBook Air (Mid-2012 or later)
- MacBook Pro (Mid-2012 or later)
- Mac mini (Late 2012 or later)
- iMac (Late 2012 or later)
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
macOS 10.15 Catalina was released in October 2019 and has the same system requirements as Mojave.
iPhone and iPad
- iPhone 6S or newer. Older iPhones cannot run iOS 13.
- iPhone 7 models have a higher than normal failure rate over time. Given the choice, we would recommend iPhone 8 models as a strong alternative to iPhone 7 models.
- iPad Air 2 or newer will be needed for the new iPadOS coming this fall
- iPad mini 4 or newer will be needed for the new iPadOS coming this fall
- iPad Pro (all models)
- iPad 5th generation or newer
The iPad line is made confusing by the multitude of model names and types (Air, mini, Pro, and just plain iPad). Generally speaking, devices introduced in October 2014 and later will run iPadOS. iPads that will not run iPadOS and should be replaced unless they will not be used on the internet.
- Apple Watch Series 5 is highly recommended.
- All versions are secure and acceptable though Apple Watch Series 0 will not run the latest version of WatchOS and therefore lacks both the speed and features of later Apple Watches.
- Apple TV 4K is recommended. Apple TV (4th generation) is fine as well.
- 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.