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OCTOBER 2022 NEWSLETTER

iOS 16 and the rest

iOS 16 has been out for a bit now. We've tested it and found it pretty stable. For security reasons, you should soon upgrade your iPhone to iOS 16. As a plus, iOS 16 adds a few nifty features which we'll discuss below. If your iPhone won't run iOS 16, it's time for a new iPhone.

(Because neither iPadOS nor macOS has been updated yet, this issue will focus mainly on the iPhone.)
 

New Lock Screen Customizations in iOS 16

When you take the plunge into iOS 16, the first new feature to check out is the capability to create, customize, and switch among multiple Lock Screens, each with its own wallpaper, clock font, and widgets. It’s reminiscent of how you customize Apple Watch faces. Plus, you can now link a Lock Screen to a Focus so you know when that Focus is active. 

To get started, touch and hold the Lock Screen until the Lock Screen switcher appears. (Your iPhone must be unlocked at this point, which can be a bit tricky with a Touch ID-based iPhone—gently touch the Home button to authenticate, but don’t press it or you’ll open the Home Screen.) 

Tap the blue plus button to create a new Lock Screen—see below for how to configure it. Once you have several Lock Screens, swipe left and right to pick one, and tap it to make it active. You can customize aspects of a Lock Screen after creating it by tapping the Customize button, and if you don’t like what you’ve done, delete it by swiping up and tapping the trash button.


 

Wallpapers

iOS 16 offers seven types of wallpapers, which you select while creating a Lock Screen by tapping buttons at the top or samples in a visual gallery below.
  • Photos: Most people will choose a photo for their wallpaper. iOS 16 uses machine learning to identify images that are likely to work well, separating them with image-selection filters into four categories: People, Pets, Nature, and Cities. You can also scroll through all your photos or particular albums and search for photos. Some people and pets will float above the clock (unless you add widgets), but you can toggle that with the Depth Effect option accessible in the ••• button.

  • Photo Shuffle: Having trouble deciding which photo you prefer? The Photo Shuffle wallpaper automatically selects and switches between photos for you, letting you specify which categories to use, which people to include, and even which individual photos to show or hide (tap the ••• button to remove a suggested photo from the rotation). You can set the photo to rotate with a tap on the Lock Screen, whenever you lock your iPhone, hourly, or daily.

  • Emoji: This wallpaper tiles up to six emoji in several different grid sizes and layouts, and you can change the background color by tapping the ••• button. Thanks to Apple’s quality emoji art, the Emoji wallpaper is surprisingly attractive.

  • Weather: Those who work in windowless offices might particularly appreciate the Weather wallpaper, which changes to reflect the current weather conditions (and time of day) in your location.

  • Astronomy: For a broader perspective, the Astronomy wallpaper lets you look at the Earth, Moon, or solar system whenever you pick up your iPhone. Swipe to pick your preferred celestial body and zoom level.

  • Color: Want something simpler? The Color wallpaper lets you choose a background color gradient from the color picker. Swipe to apply different effects.

  • Collections: This category, which appears only in the gallery, provides Apple-designed graphics such as Unity, Pride, and the clownfish wallpaper from the original iPhone.

Take some time to explore all the wallpaper types and their options—the combinations are nearly endless. There’s no downside to creating and switching among different Lock Screens as the mood strikes you.
 

Clock font and color

Once you decide on a wallpaper for a Lock Screen, you can customize the clock font and color by tapping the clock. There are only eight font options, but you should be able to find one you like. With color, Apple provides some suggestions below the font choices, but if you scroll all the way to the right and tap the color wheel, you can use iOS 16’s color pickers to select any color. The goal is to make sure it’s readable against the background image you’ve chosen.


 

Widgets

Beyond the eye candy of wallpapers and the customizable clock, widgets make the iOS 16 Lock Screen more useful than ever. Some iPhone users are accustomed to having flashlight and camera buttons on the Lock screen—everyone can now add widgets to two distinct zones on the Lock Screen, above and below the clock. The widget zone above the clock holds only a single line of text or other controls, and it always displays alongside the date, which shrinks if necessary. The zone below the clock is taller and can hold two sizes of widgets: small ones that occupy a single slot and large ones that take over two slots. You can mix and match small and large widgets to fill—or not—the four available slots.

To add widgets, tap the desired zone and tap widgets in the panel that appears. Suggestions appear at the top, but if you scroll down, you can see a list of all the apps that offer widgets. Tap an app to see its widgets—swipe to see the full set it offers. Once you’ve added a widget, you may be able to tap it again to configure it—such as by specifying tickers for the Stocks widget. To rearrange widgets, drag them but be aware that this works poorly at the moment; it may be easier to delete the widgets (tap the ⊖ button) and add them again in the desired order.


 

Focus

Focus subsumed Do Not Disturb in iOS 15. Although Focus is far more flexible and customizable than Do Not Disturb, that power also makes it hard to predict when notifications will be blocked, since it can be difficult to know when a Focus is active. With iOS 16, Apple has made Focus more obvious by letting you link a Focus to a Lock Screen. 

When you’re in the Lock Screen switcher, a Focus button appears toward the bottom of each Lock Screen. Tap it and select a Focus to link them. 



Two things become true once you’ve linked a Focus to a Lock Screen:
  • When you activate that Focus in Control Center, or its settings cause it to activate automatically, iOS 16 switches to the linked Lock Screen. That’s handy if you have a manually triggered Focus for family time, for instance, or an automatically activated Focus for Driving.
  • When you switch to a particular Lock Screen, its linked Focus activates and starts blocking notifications. It’s probably easier to activate a Focus in Control Center, but switching Lock Screens has the same effect.
It may take a few weeks to figure out what Lock Screens you prefer and customize them to your liking, but we think you’ll enjoy this new feature.

(Featured image by Adam Engst)

 

New Messages features in iOS 16

After years of user requests, Apple has finally beefed up Messages with a few welcome features—options to mark conversations as unread for later reference, edit messages after they’ve been sent, and undo sending entirely. Plus, when you delete junk texts in Messages, you can now report them to Apple and your carrier, and you can find inadvertently deleted conversations in Recently Deleted. Finally, there’s a Tapback improvement for SMS messages to Android users.

Before we begin, beware that editing messages and Undo Send work the way you expect only if your recipient is also using iMessage (blue bubble friends) with iOS 16 (or iPadOS 16 or macOS 13 Ventura, once those come out later in 2022). Instead of an edited message, a device running any other operating system will display a second message with the edited text. An unsent message can’t be called back from a recipient not running iOS 16—it will remain in the conversation with no indication that you tried to unsend it.
 

Mark as Unread

There are two types of people in the world: those who use red icon badges as reminders and those who ignore them entirely. The same applies to the blue dots that appear next to conversations in Messages to indicate unread posts. If an icon badge or blue dot is your nudge to do something, you’ll like Messages’ new capability to mark messages as unread. That way, if you receive a message while you’re busy, you can pretend that you haven’t read it so the red icon badge and blue dot remind you to deal with the message later.

Note that Mark as Unread works at the conversation level, not the message level. To mark a conversation as unread after looking at it, return to the message list and swipe all the way right on the conversation. For a pinned conversation, press and hold the conversation and tap Mark as Unread.


 

Edit Messages

We’ve all been the victims of auto-correct or dictation errors that render a message embarrassing, confusing, or inexplicable. With Messages in iOS 16, you can fix such errors within 15 minutes after sending, and if necessary, you can do it up to five times. 

To edit a message during that 15-minute window, press and hold the message, then tap Edit. Your message opens for editing. Make your changes and then tap the blue checkmark; if you change your mind, tap the gray X. 



It’s important to note, however, that the recipient could have seen the message before you edited it, and even if they didn’t, such messages are marked with Edited in the conversation. If they tap Edited, they can see previous versions of the message. In other words, you can fix mistakes, but you can’t pretend they never happened.


 

Undo Send

Have you ever sent something in Messages that you wanted to call back? We’ve certainly sent the right message to the wrong person and inadvertently sent gibberish with errant taps on the keyboard. With iOS 16, if you realize you’ve made such a mistake within 2 minutes, you can undo sending, which deletes the message from the recipient’s iPhone, replacing it with a message saying that you unsent it. However, if the recipient isn’t using an iPhone or has any Apple device logged into iMessage that’s not running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS 13 Ventura, the message will not be deleted on that device, with no indication that you tried to recall it.

To unsend a message within that 2-minute window, press and hold the message, then tap Undo Send. It disappears instantly, and you see a warning about it working only with compatible devices.



Meanwhile, even if the recipient is running iOS 16, they still could have read the message before you unsent it, and if they didn’t see it, they would still see a message saying that you unsent it. In short, you still need to think before you send! 


 

Report Junk

There’s no way to know how effective reporting junk messages is in preventing future spam from that person or phone number, but it feels good. (We like to imagine an Apple satellite’s space laser vaporizing the offender’s phone.) If you get a junk text, either via iMessage (blue bubble) or SMS/MMS (green bubble), swipe all the way left on it. Then tap Delete in the prompt that appears, and Report Junk in the next one. 


 

Recently Deleted

What if you inadvertently delete the wrong conversation or message? You can now access those for up to 30 days in Recently Deleted. Tap Edit in the upper-left corner, tap Show Recently Deleted, select the messages to restore, and tap Recover in the lower-right corner.


 

SMS Tapbacks on Android

Finally, Apple has tweaked Messages so you can use the Tapback feature (press and hold a message, and then tap one of the response icons above it) to send a corresponding emoji to messages sent by Android users with SMS. This small change helps to provide a consistent experience for both iPhone and Android users.



Although it’s too bad that message editing and Undo Send work only with other iOS 16 users, there’s no avoiding the need for support at both the system level (which eliminates SMS messages sent to non-iPhone users) and the app level (which eliminates older versions of Messages). Nevertheless, they and the other new Messages features are useful now and will become all the more so as more iPhone, iPad, and Mac users upgrade.

(Featured image by iStock.com/ViewApart)

watchOS 9’s new Low Power Mode could help older Apple Watches

Until watchOS 9, Low Power Mode on the Apple Watch turned the smartwatch into a dumb watch that only told the time.

With watchOS 9 on an Apple Watch Series 4 or later, however, a new Low Power Mode reduces the watch’s capabilities while keeping it largely functional. It turns off the Always-On display, heart rate notifications, background heart rate and blood oxygen measurements, and the automatic start workout reminder. When your iPhone isn’t nearby, it disables Wi-Fi and cellular connections and incoming phone calls and notifications. Other features will be slower: making a phone call, refreshing background apps and complications, Siri requests, and some interface interactions. (You can still use the Workout app in Low Power Mode and record metrics like heart rate and pace. Go to Settings > Workout on the Apple Watch to turn Low Power Mode on automatically whenever you start a workout.)

watchOS 9 prompts you to turn on Low Power Mode when your battery drops to 10%, or you can enable it manually by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center, tapping the battery percentage button, and enabling the option.



(Featured image by Adam Engst)
REACHING OUT
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We help people with Apple technology. Thank you for working with us to maximize our ability to do this. 
SOFTWARE RECOMMENDATIONS
Always have a current backup of your Apple device prior to upgrading. 

macOS 12.6 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."

MacOS 13 Ventura will be released shortly. Do NOT upgrade to it.

iOS 16.0.2 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 15.7 Similar to the iPhone, any iPad running iPadOS 15 should be upgraded to 15.7. iPad incapable of running 15.7 should be replaced. iPadOS 16 will be available in October. We recommend waiting at least a few days before installing it. 

watchOS 9 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 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. 
HARDWARE RECOMMENDATIONS
Macintosh
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Mid-2012 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid-2012 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 (Late 2012 or later)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or later)
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
These are minimum hardware recommendations based on what is necessary to run a secure operating system (macOS macOS 10.15.7 Catalina). If your Mac does not meet these specifications—that is, it will not run at least Catalina—it needs to be replaced unless you will not be using it online. macOS 10.14 Mojave and earlier are not secure.

macOS 11 Big Sur was released in November 2020; macOS Monterey was released in October 2021. 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
  • 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
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. 

Apple Watch
  • 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
  • Apple TV 4K is recommended. Apple TV HD (4th generation) is fine as well.
  • The latest version of the AppleTV Remote is available for stand-alone purchase ($59). It works with Apple TV 4k (1st and 2nd 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. 
SECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS
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. 

Encryption
We recommend using Apple's built-in whole disk encryption, FileVault. It can be turned on in System Preferences > Security & Privacy. 

Backups
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.

DuckDuckGo
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 SentinelSentinel+, and Sentinel Ultra services offer home users 24/7 Macintosh monitoring, maintenance, security, and web browsing protection. Join today!
Quick Links
MacAtoZ LLC: The main company web site. You can find information about products and services as well as advice here.

Amazon via MacAtoZ: Shop at Amazon via our referral link. Help us to help you. 

Offsite Backup: You should have one, and we recommend Backblaze. Only $7 a month for unlimited data. Get your 15-day free trial here. 

Salem Mac Users Group: Macintosh and Apple gear enthusiasts in Oregon's Mid-Willamette Valley. Now holding Zoom meetings monthly. Visitors welcome! Visit the web site for details.

Apple Consultants Network: If you need help, entrust your computer and your data to professionals. 
Copyright © 2022 MacAtoZ LLC, All rights reserved.


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