I’ve not been very happy with Apple this week. Not only are they mistreating developers, but they’re also mistreating their customers.
If you have chosen not to upgrade to Sierra for some reason, but your mac is both compatible and has enough disk space for the Sierra download, Apple’s servers may download the entire 5GB Sierra installer to your machine without asking you for permission first.
If you have data caps, or are on a plan that offers differential pricing depending on time of use, this could totally ruin your month.
If you want to ensure that Sierra does not silently download to your mac, you’ll need to uncheck the ‘Download newly available updates in the background’ option in App Store’s Preferences pane in System Preferences (see image above).
Who knew by ‘updates’ that Apple were going to include upgrades of 5GB when they ticked that box? Well, now you do!
Unfortunately, your decision not to upgrade to Sierra won’t stop Apple infecting your machine with it’s own little adware notification, and you’re likely to see this at some point or another:
Note that there is no option to say “Don’t remind me again”, so there’s no telling how often you’ll be irritated with this unwanted pop-up.
Hmm, whatever happened to old-fashioned good manners, aye Apple? 😉
There it goes again – that little red badge on the App store telling you that there’s an update for your software. Only problem is, when you go to check it out, it turns out to be some little app that you downloaded but rarely use or which, for some reason (like not using up a limited download cap), you don’t particularly want to update.
Actually, there’s two ways you can get round this problem. The first, as obvious as it may seem, is to simply delete the app from your computer. If it was an app you purchased, don’t worry – it’ll still be in your purchases tab in the App store if you decide you want it back again one day.
Another way – and one which might also come in handy for those who use the app but don’t want the update – is to hide the app from your purchases list. This means you keep the app on your system, but the App store won’t inform you about updates. If this is the trick for you, then here’s how to do it:
To hide an app:
1. Open the App store and go to your purchases page. Sign in if necessary.
2. Control-click on the app you want to hide, and chose ‘Hide Purchase’.
It’s as easy as that! If you ever want to unhide this app, see if there are any updates, or just check whether any apps are already hidden (I found iPhoto had somehow got hidden without my knowing about it, and thus I wasn’t getting any updates for it!) then:
To unhide an app:
1. Open the App store.
2. In the menubar at the top, click ‘Store > View My Account…’
3. Sign in and wait for the Account page to show up.
4. Under ‘iTunes in the Cloud’, click on ‘Hidden Purchases’ and choose the apps you want to unhide. If you don’t see the ‘iTunes in the Cloud’ heading, then you don’t have any apps hidden.
5. Click ‘Done’ on the bottom right of the Accounts page.
featured picture: ‘Stop’ by SpongeSponge
With the last seven days of July upon us, the suspense is just killing some people waiting for the release of Apple’s latest version of OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion. While rumours abound for just about every conceivable day left being the ‘official’ release date (with the 25th being the most popular, it seems), the sensible are making sure they’re prepared. So here’s a few things to do both before and on the big day:
1. Check the tech specs
Check out the tech specs for Mountain Lion and the list of supported machines to make sure you can run it on your current system. If you are upgrading from Snow Leopard, you should also check out will my old apps work with Lion?.
2. Run Software Update
Make sure you have the latest version of everything by running
> Software Update
before you upgrade. This will help to cut down any compatibility problems when installing Mountain Lion.
3. Backup your current install
Without a doubt the biggest cause of trouble and frustration with every OS release is among users who didn’t backup their systems before trying to install the new one. Like Lion, Mountain Lion will be delivered as a download from the App Store, and while this method is certainly convenient, corrupted downloads are not uncommon. Moreover, even when the install proceeds as expected, you want to be able to get back to your previous system if you find things are not to your liking. An OS installation is like performing major surgery on your computer and the chances of complications are always a significant risk. As the old boy scout saying goes ‘Be Prepared’. Backup, backup, backup.
4. Remove everything from your Login Items.
For Lion users, that’s
> System Preferences…> Users & Groups | Login Items
If you’re upgrading from Snow Leopard 10.6.8, go to
> System Preferences…> Accounts | Login Items
There’s a couple of reasons for doing this, but mainly it’s to ensure that you can log in without difficulty. Login Items are one of the main causes of OS problems at the best of times, but with a major upgrade like this, you don’t want any incompatible software choking the system from booting up. See Steps 8 & 9 below about re-activating your Login Items after the installation.
5. Uninstall AV software & other utilities
If you have Sophos, VirusBarrier, iAntiVirus, F-Secure, or similar uninstall these prior to upgrading. After upgrading, if you must use them, look for updates. Uninstall MacKeeper, Little Snitch, LogMeIn or any other 3rd party utility that runs prior to user login.
6. Be prepared for slow download times
Apple’s servers will be hotter than a forest fire on release day, so you can expect download times to be pretty poor. At the very least, connect your computer to your router via ethernet cable rather than wifi – that’ll at least help push things along a bit faster at your end. If you can do it from the office or somewhere else that has a lot more bandwidth than the usual home connection, do so.
7. Save the installer
After the download completes the installer will run automatically. Do NOT click ‘Install’, but instead quit it. Then go to your Applications folder and copy the ‘Install OS X Mountain Lion .app’ and save it to your Downloads folder or somewhere else. Then you can run the installer in your Applications folder.
The reason for doing this is that when you install Mountain Lion the Install app in your Applications folder will self-delete. If the install shouldn’t work for some reason the first time round, you won’t have to go through the whole tiresome wait of a download from the App store again if you save a copy to your Downloads folder.
8. Update 3rd-party apps
Assuming Mountain Lion boots up just fine, the first thing you’re going to want to do (after having a nose around, of course!) is update your 3rd party apps. Start off by opening the App store to see if any that you’ve sourced from there have updates waiting for you. After that, start up all the main apps that you normally use and use their ‘Check for Updates’ option (usually in the Apps main menu), or contact the developers through their websites. If you use Parallels 7, you will need to update that before trying to run your virtual machines.
9. Test your Login Items apps
In particular, you’re going to want to test out the apps that you want to put back in your Login Items, before you put them back in there. Run each app and play around with the system for a couple of hours before deciding to put it back in your Login Items list. If you notice any weird behaviour with Finder, the Dock or Desktop backgrounds, problems with wifi or graphics, chances are one or more of your 3rd party apps needs updating to work with Mountain Lion. If there is no update yet, stop using that app till one becomes available or find an alternative. In general, it’s always best to keep Login Items down to a bare minimum. Running apps at login is a sure fire way to slow down boot up times.
10. Check back with Applehelpwriter.com
As always, I’ll be here with tips on how to get the most out of OS X and how to solve some common problems. See you then!🙂