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Computing

How to change the login picture on Mac

Whether you’re setting up a new Mac, adding another user, or just want to personalize your Mac more, consider picking out a custom login picture. This is the image you see above your username on your Mac’s lock screen when you enter your password (even if you forgot it).

You can choose a photo of yourself, your favorite emoji, or a Memoji you’ve created. It takes only a few minutes to customize this screen you see every day. If you’re ready, we’ll show you how to change the login picture on a Mac.

Change the login picture on a Mac

Changing your login picture is a fun way to personalize your lock screen. It’s also a great way for other users of your Mac to see their own favorite image when it’s their turn to sign in.

Step 1: Open System preferences by using the icon in your Dock or the Apple icon in the Menu bar.

Step 2: Select Users & groups.

Step 3: Choose the user on the left side.

Step 4: Pick the current picture on the right side. You’ll see “Edit” when you hover your cursor over it.

Current login picture in Users and Groups.

Step 5: You’ll then see a window pop open with all of the picture options. You can use a current Memoji or create a new one, choose an emoji, use your monogram, or look at the suggestions. You can also use your Mac’s camera to snap a photo or select a picture from the Photos app.

Memoji: Pick a current Memoji or use the Plus sign to create a new one. Then, use the Pose tab to choose the facial expression and the Style tab to pick a background color.

Emoji: Select one of the popular emoji options or use the Plus sign to view the full selection. Then, go to the Style tab to pick a background color.

Monogram: Choose a monogram color from the collection.

Camera: To snap a picture on the spot, select Camera. Place your face within the circular frame and select the Capture button. To use the image, pick Save. Otherwise, pick Cancel.

Photos: Expand the Photos section to pick your Favorites or a particular album. Then, select the photo you want to use.

Suggestions: If you’re not sure which picture you want to use, you can look through the Suggestions. You’ll also see many default pictures like flowers, sports, animals, and symbols.

Mac login picture options.

Step 6: After you select the picture you want to use, you’ll see its preview in the bottom-left corner. Drag the slider to zoom in or out of the image for just the right look.

Slider to zoom on the Mac login picture.

Step 7: When you finish, select Save. You can then close the System Preferences using the X on the top left.

Save the selected login picture on Mac.

Now when you see your Mac’s login screen, ready for your password, you’ll have a picture that suits you.

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Computing

Logitech’s new Mac accessories are undeniably pretty

Logitech’s latest collection of Mac accessories includes two new mice as well as a mechanical keyboard option and a new color option in its K380 series. The new Mac peripherals are accompanied by an updated software option that is intended to be the customization suite for all of the brand’s products.

The several interesting options touch unique points for Mac users, from comfort, to fast charging, to interesting colors, and sustainability. Check out more details about Logitech’s new Mac accessory lineup.

MX Mechanical Mini Keyboard for Mac

The MX Mechanical Mini Keyboard for Mac is Logitech’s first mechanical keyboard optimized for Mac. The keyboard introduces to the mechanical form factor many features that are already popular on Logitech Mac accessories, including USB-C, C2C charging, and long battery life.

Additionally, the keyboard features smart backlighting, connectivity, and switching for up to three Apple devices, the ability to charge while working, and a myriad of customizations via the Logi Options+ app. The MX Mechanical Mini Keyboard for Mac sells for $150.

K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard for Mac (Blueberry)

The Blueberry color for the K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth for Mac is a new option added to the White and Rose color that has already been available. The K380 is known for being light, portable, minimalist, and wireless. It can also connect up to three other devices via Bluetooth simultaneously.

For example, the keyboard can connect to an iPhone, tablet, and PC at once and switch with the push of a button. The K380 also supports customizable F keys through Logitech’s new Logi Options+ app and can additionally support up to two years of battery life. The K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth for Mac in Blueberry sells for $40.

Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse for Mac

The Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse for Mac aims to blend well-formed ergonomics into a compact product that gives ideal functionality and productivity for Mac users, with really high attention to Apple-level design and user experience. Ergonomic options for Mac are an underrepresented category intended for users with medium to small hands. Logitech focused on ensuring that the mouse worked as perfectly as possible out of the box with features such as two-year battery life, quiet clicks, a silent and new silent magnetic smart wheel, and optimized Bluetooth connectivity for up to three devices.

Various features on the mouse can also be customized via the downloadable Logi Options+ app, which allows you to configure the accessory to your preference. The mouse was also made with 54% recycled plastic as part of Logitech’s sustainability measures. The Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse for Mac sells for $70.

MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac

The MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac is an upgraded model that comes in Space Gray and Tailgate color options to match the common Apple ecosystem. Despite being a mechanical mouse, it has gotten several technological advancements from its predecessor including higher sensitivity. The MX Master 3S has an 8,000 DPI sensor, in comparison to the 4,000 DPI sensor in the prior model, which can be useful for creatives or those who work with high-resolution screens. The mouse also features quiet clicks, with 90% quieter clicks than its predecessor to be exact, plus an ultra-fast scroll wheel.

Logitech MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac.Logitech MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac.

The shape of the mouse is intended for intuitive handling; however, the buttons are also customizable via the Logi Options+ app. It is powered by USB-C, allowing users to also charge the mouse while working. There is a quick-charge ability, which provides three hours of use in just a one-minute charge. The MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac sells for $100.

Logi Options+ app

The Logi Options+ app is the next generation of Logitech’s customization application that is launching alongside these products. The app was first released in May but has since been updated to be a singular platform-customization app for all Logitech products.

Logitech Logi Options+ app.

The downloadable app allows you to do things such as the battery life of connected products. You can customize the keys of keyboards and mice in a number of different ways, including setting F keys to various functions in one program, such as a browser, and to a completely different function in another program, such as Photoshop.

The MX Mechanical Mini, K380 (Blueberry), Lift Vertical Ergonomic, and MX Master 3S are all compatible with the Logi Options+ app out of the box and more Logitech accessories will gain compatibility at a later date.

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Computing

How to sign a PDF on Mac

As a Mac user, you’re likely familiar with Preview as the default app for viewing images. But this handy application gives you an easy way to sign documents, too. You can create and save a signature using your trackpad, camera, or mobile device. Then, pop that signature into the document in just a few steps.

Here’s how to sign a PDF on Mac using Preview by inserting a saved signature or creating a new one.

Sign a PDF on Mac using Preview

If you already have a saved signature, signing the PDF in Preview on Mac is a simple process.

Step 1: Open the PDF file in Preview. You can do this by right-clicking the file in a folder or on your desktop, moving to Open with, and choosing Preview from the shortcut menu.

Alternatively, if you already have Preview open, select File > Open and browse for the file. Choose the PDF and pick Open.

Step 2: Select Markup in the Preview toolbar at the top. This displays a bar for the Markup tools.

Markup button in the Preview toolbar.

Step 3: Use the drop-down arrow next to the Sign button to choose your signature.

Sign button drop-down menu in Preview.

Step 4: When your signature displays, drag it to the spot where you want it in the document. You can also drag a corner to resize the signature to fit the document if needed.

You can then save the PDF, export it, or share it using File in the menu bar.

Signature added to a PDF in Preview.

Create a signature and sign your PDF in Preview

If you don’t yet have a signature, you can create one to sign your document easily in Preview. Your new signature will automatically save so that you can reuse it in Preview later.

Step 1: Open your PDF in Preview, and select Markup in the toolbar.

Step 2: Use the drop-down arrow next to the Sign button to choose Create signature.

Create Signature in the Sign drop-down menu in Preview.

Step 3: You can then create your signature using your trackpad, camera, iPhone, or iPad. Here are the instructions for each option:

Tackpad: Select Trackpad to sign your name using your Mac’s trackpad, and choose Click here to begin. Use your finger to sign your name on the trackpad.

Camera: Select Camera to capture an image of your signature from a physical paper. Use a white piece of paper and sign your name. Then, hold the paper up to your camera so that your signature is even with the blue line on the screen.

iPhone or iPad: Select iPhone or iPad > Select device in the Preview window, and pick your iPhone or iPad from the list. You’ll then see a screen appear on your mobile device ready for your signature. Create the signature, and tap Done.

Trackpad, Camera, and iPhone or iPad options for creating a signature in Preview.

Step 4: With each of the above methods, you can use the Description box to describe the signature. You can also select Clear if you want to redo the signature.

Select Done when you finish.

Signature Description drop-down list options.

Step 5: When you see the signature display in Preview using one of the above options, you can then drag to move it where needed in the document. Again, you can drag a corner to resize your signature.

Next, you can save, export, or share the signed PDF using File in the menu bar.

Signature inserted into a document in Preview.

When you need to sign a PDF document for work, school, or business, it takes only a few minutes in Preview on Mac. For more, look at how to print a PDF on Mac as well.

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Computing

How to Connect an iPhone to a Mac

There are many reasons why you may want to connect your iPhone to your Mac. You might want to sync content, back up your device, remove data, or use the Continuity features. Whatever the reason, you can connect an iPhone to a Mac easily.

Whether you’re using a physical cable to make the connection or the airwaves to do it wirelessly, each process is simple. Your reason for connecting the two should determine which option you choose. Let’s walk through them both.


FelixMittermeier/Pixabay

Connect an iPhone to Mac using a cable

To sync content, remove data and settings, or update your iPhone, you can use a cable to connect it to your Mac. You’ll simply use the charging cable for your iPhone to make the connection. However, depending on which device models you own, you may need an adapter.

If your iPhone uses a Lightning to USB cable and your Mac has a USB port, you can simply plug it right in. But if your Mac only has a USB-C cable, for instance, a MacBook Pro 2021, you’ll need an adapter. On the other hand, if your iPhone uses a USB-C to Lightning cable and your computer only has a USB port, like with the MacBook Air M1, 2020, you’ll also need an adapter.

The bottom line is that unless you have an iPhone cable and a Mac port with matching connectors, you’ll need to grab an adapter to physically connect it.

If you’re able to make this connection, whether with an adapter or not, you can use Finder on MacOS Catalina or later to work with your data as well as update your iPhone. You’ll find these steps below.

If you’re running an older version of MacOS, before Catalina, you’ll use iTunes to perform these actions.

Step 1: Plug your phone into your computer and open Finder.

Step 2: In the sidebar, select your iPhone in the Locations section.

Step 3: You may be asked to Trust the device or update your iPhone to the latest iOS version if you haven’t already. Simply follow the prompts for these actions.

Step 4: Then, use the various tabs at the top, directly below your iPhone details, to work with the content you need in Finder.

Step 5: Plugging in your iPhone every time that you want to sync data can be exhausting. That’s why Apple has added a method to switch to Wi-Fi syncing after your first big setup.

In Finder, check that your iPhone is still select, and that you are in the General section. Under Options, select Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi. Choose Apply. Now you can visit the syncing menu in Finder without needing a cable connection.

Sync iPhone on Wi-Fi.

Step 6: When you finish and want to disconnect your iPhone, click the Eject icon to the right of it in the Finder sidebar. You can then safely unplug the cable from your iPhone and Mac.

android nearby share stacks up against apple airdrop iphone

Connect an iPhone to Mac via Bluetooth

To make a wireless connection from your iPhone to your Mac and take advantage of features like Handoff, AirPlay, AirDrop, Continuity Camera, Instant Hotspot, and Universal Clipboard, make sure the following are in place.

Step 1: Check that your iPhone and Mac are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Step 2: Connect your iPhone to your Mac via Bluetooth. If you haven’t paired the devices before, select the Bluetooth symbol in the upper-right menu of MacOS and select Bluetooth preferences. Keep your iPhone near and turned on, and wait for your MacOS to detect it so you can pair the devices by choosing Connect. Enter any necessary authentication.

Connect iPhone with Bluetooth.

Step 3: On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff. Make sure Handoff is enabled. Now, with any app that works with Handoff, you can see a Handoff icon in your Mac’s dock that you can use to switch to your iPhone.

Enable Handoff on iPhone.

Step 4: If you want to use AirDrop, you don’t have to worry about a Bluetooth connection, just make sure your devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. Then choose the Share option on a device like your iPhone, and you should see all available options appear. AirDrop will have its radar-like icon next to compatible devices.

Step 5: To use Continuity features, open a compatible app and Control-click on the spot where you want to place content. This will open an insert menu: Select the option that says Import from iPhone or iPad.

You will now see several options available depending on what devices are connected. Take photo *will open the Camera on your iPhone so you can snap a photo that will then be inserted on your Mac. *Scan document will do something very similar but save it as a PDF.

iPhone Continuity on Mac.

What about using Sidecar with my iPhone?

Sidecar is only designed for iPads, and at this time, cannot be used with iPhones. Sidecar is meant to provide a second screen for your Mac work, and iPhones aren’t quite big enough to be very useful here. Likewise, Universal Control is designed to work with iPads or MacBooks.

Whether you need to connect a physical cable to work with data in Finder or want to connect wirelessly to use the Continuity features, it’s easy to connect your iPhone to your Mac. If you’re thinking about getting a new iPhone, take a look at our guide on which iPhone 14 to get, too.

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Computing

What is swap used in Mac Activity Monitor?

MacOS has a monitoring hub called the Activity Monitor, a snapshot of everything happening on your Mac right now. We’ve discussed how to use the Activity Monitor to study what background apps are running and how you can improve performance when things go wrong. Now, we’re diving a little deeper with a closer look at your Mac’s memory, and specifically what “swap used” memory is all about — and how it can help you spot problems like memory leaks.

What is swap used?

Open up the Activity Monitor on your Mac (you can find it in the Utilities folder), and you’ll see a plethora of information divided into primary categories, including CPU, Memory, Energy, and Disk. The Memory tab, in particular, shows how much RAM you are using and what that RAM is busy doing. Down at the bottom, you’ll see a summary window that shows basic stats, including total physical memory, how much memory is being used, current cached files. and something called “swap used.”

If you got curious and looked up “swap used,” you may have found Apple’s official description: “The amount of space being used on your startup disk to swap unused files to and from RAM.” That’s concise but doesn’t provide a lot of meaning for those studying their Mac’s RAM.

Swap memory is a type of memory that computers use to offload demands on the current RAM. The operating system does this by borrowing some space from somewhere else — the startup disk, in this case — and using it to temporarily store some data while the RAM is busy handling other tasks.

Is swap used a bad thing?

Traditionally, swap used has a bad reputation since it can indicate RAM problems. Swap memory is more likely to be used when your current memory isn’t enough to efficiently handle all the tasks you are trying to do on MacOS. It tends to become higher if you have a lot of apps or tabs open at once or are trying to manage other complex processes.

However, swap used doesn’t always mean something is wrong. It’s an indicator of potential issues, but some swap memory usage is not uncommon. In fact, MacOS received major memory updates in Mavericks and Yosemite that adjusted the way memory is allocated to help make RAM use more efficient. These days, it’s expected to see some swap used, at minimum, just to indicate that startup disk space has been reserved in case it’s needed. You can even have several GBs of swap memory used and not notice a thing because RAM is being allocated to the most important tasks.

Is your swap used in the danger zone?

So, if the swap used section doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem, how can you tell if there are issues with your Mac’s RAM? It’s important to consider several factors here to create a clearer picture of how your memory is doing. That includes considerations like:

  • Your memory pressure graph is no longer in the green: The handy little graph next to the window showing MacOS memory stats indicates how much RAM is currently being used. As long as that graph stays green, you should be in the clear. If the graph gets too high, it will turn yellow and then red, indicating that you have some memory problems and should look into cutting back on some unnecessary or background apps.
  • Your Mac is freezing or crashing a lot: If the apps you’re using are starting to freeze or crash repeatedly, you could be straining your Mac’s memory beyond what it can handle. This is a sign to pull up the Activity Monitor and watch for signs that you need to cut back on app activity, including high swap used and the memory graph in the red.
  • You are using a memory-intensive program, like a Windows VM: While it’s possible to run them, complex programs like this put a lot of strain on MacOS. It’s a good idea to check your memory stats when you first start running complex software and make sure your RAM is able to handle what you’re doing.
  • Your swap memory used total suddenly starts spiking: If your swap memory is consistently a couple of GBs or so, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if it suddenly starts spiking to much higher levels for no apparent reason, it could be the sign of a problem, especially if your computer crashes soon after.
MacOS memory slot information.

Can I upgrade RAM in a Mac?

Not often, no. While the cure for RAM issues can often be an upgrade to more RAM, that’s not a solution that works for Macs. Most recent-generation MacBooks have their RAM soldered directly to the motherboard, for example. iMacs tend to be a little luckier in this respect — some may have empty slots for adding more memory, although Apple will want you to use its own technicians. You can go to your About this Mac section on MacOS and select the Memory tab to see if you have any empty slots left.

Meanwhile, we have a guide to freeing up Mac memory with greater control over how you use apps, plus other tricks that could help if your swap usage starts to look alarming.

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Computing

Why the Mac Pro wasn’t at Apple September 2022 event

Apple’s September 2022 event is over, and like most of its events around this time of year, Apple focused on the iPhone 14, AirPods Pro 2, and new Apple Watch Ultra. We didn’t see the updated Mac Pro, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but the clock is definitelty ticking for Apple to deliver on a promise.

The company said in April that a Mac Pro with Apple Silicon is on the way, and when Apple first started transitioning, it said the transition would be complete in two years. We didn’t hear about the Mac Pro at Apple’s September 2022 ‘Far Out’ event, and that might mean Apple won’t deliver a Mac Pro this year.

Brittany Hose-Small/AFP via Getty Images

The Mac Pro is in desperate need of an update, and all eyes were focused on WWDC 2022 for an announcement. Apple promised to deliver an update in April of this year, and the annual conference seemed like the perfect platform to launch a new high-end desktop. But we didn’t get an announcement at Apple’s developer-focused event, and we still don’t have any word on when that announcement could come.

A Mac Pro with Apple Silicon isn’t just about Apple delivering on its promise. The Mac Pro has been a staple in creative industries like film and audio production for years, but it has lost a lot of favor in the last two revisions. That’s because hardware is moving a lot faster than Apple can keep up with. Even with the modular MPX design of the current Mac Pro, we’ve only seen a few add-in GPUs and no upgrade paths for the CPU. RAM and additional MPX cards have largely faltered, too, with the same modules available now that were available at launch.

Right now, the Mac Pro is an incredibly expensive paperweight (maybe a cheese grater if you really want to get creative). Since the launch of the MacBook Air M1, it was clear that Apple’s silicon works wonders for performance and efficiency. Chips like the M1 Ultra only further that, offering top-class performance in apps like Premiere Pro. That’s what the Mac Pro needs right now.

M1 Ultra chip compared to AMD Ryzen.
Image source: Max Tech

Even late last year, the M1 Max and M1 Pro were able to outperform the Mac Pro, and that was inside a laptop. It wasn’t close, either, with the laptops finishing a render in around a fourth of the time as the Mac Pro strapped with an Intel Xeon processor. That doesn’t bode well for a workstation that costs $6,000 at least and well over $20,000 at most.

We didn’t get an announcement or tease for the Mac Pro at Apple’s September event, but there’s still time left in the year for the desktop to launch. For the past two years, Apple has hosted a fall event focused around Macs, and we could see a similar event this year. It’s important to keep in mind that Apple doesn’t always host these events, though, so we might not hear any news until spring 2023.

As for what we’ll see in the machine, it’s tough to say outside of the fact that it will come with Apple silicon. The company has already introduced its M2 processor, and rumors point to the Mac Pro potentially using a multi-die configuration with multiple M2 chips.

A close-up of a Mac Pro lit in red.
Alessio Zaccaria on Unsplash

Industry insiders say there is an M2 Extreme in the works, sporting 128 graphics cards and a total of 40 CPU cores. This could be similar to the M1 Extreme, essentially bonding together two M2 Ultra chips. We only have the base M2 right now, though, and Apple hasn’t confirmed any details.

The Mac Pro wasn’t the only product Apple skipped out on during its September 2022 event. We didn’t see any news on the M2 MacBook Pro, joining a list of products Apple didn’t announce at its “Far Out” showcase.

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Computing

How to back up Notes on Mac and iPhone

Backing up your Notes app on a regular basis is a good way to ensure your most important data is protected. Notes is among the most-used apps for both Macs and iPhones, and as such, it can become filled with important data that we’ll always need access to, as well as sensitive information like passwords and credentials.

Let’s go through the steps of how to back up Notes on your Mac and iPhone.

Saving Notes as a PDF on Mac

PDFs are a versatile document type, and they work well as a backup solution for your Notes.

If you have, for example, a note that includes all your usernames and passwords, export it as a PDF, and then go a step further by placing it on a cloud service and converting it to your preferred format later on (which you can do easily via Google Docs).

In any case, apart from copying and pasting the contents of your notes onto another program, and so on and so forth, the only way to save an individual note as a file is via the PDF export function for Mac.

Step 1: Within Notes, select the specific note you wish to back up.

Step 2: After the note is selected (it’ll be highlighted in yellow on the Notes directory), choose the File tab, and then choose the Export as PDF option.

The option to export a note as a PDF on Mac.

Step 3: Give your note a name so you can identify it for future reference (you can also attach tags), and then choose where exactly you want to save it to. Hit the Save button.

Setting a description for a note that will be exported as a PDF on Mac.

iCloud on Mac

If your Notes contains hundreds, if not thousands, of notes, backing up every single individual one will be a daunting task. But there are other effective ways to save a copy of all your Notes by just enabling certain MacOS or iOS features. One such tool is iCloud. Let’s take a look at how to synchronize your Notes to Apple’s cloud storage service.

Step 1: Select Apple ID within System preferences.

Step 2: Within Apps on this Mac using iCloud, select the Notes app.

Enabling the Notes app to be connected to iCloud on Mac.

Step 3: For an extra level of protection, you can always copy and paste the PDF files of the notes onto your iCloud Drive.

The iCloud drive tab on Mac.

Use Mac’s Time Machine

Time Machine on Mac can also provide you with a way to back up your notes. Furthermore, if you back up your iPhone on your Mac, which includes the Notes app, then this ensures all your notes across both devices have been saved.

It should be stressed, however, that iCloud is the more reliable option due to its online nature, while a Mac can always be subjected to being stolen, corrupted, etc., which would render the Time Machine’s functionality useless.

Still, it won’t hurt to use Time Machine to create a restore point in case you do lose access to your notes.

Step 1: In System preferences, select Time machine.

Step 2: Within the Time Machine window, select a backup disk and follow the instructions to complete a backup.

Be sure to check out our guide on Time Machine for a more detailed tutorial of the entire process.

The Select Backup Disk button for Time Machine on Mac.

Backing up Notes on iPhone via iCloud

Those of us who have an iPhone will be regular users of Notes. Phone numbers, credentials, etc., will eventually lead to a lot of useful information being stored on the app. You can make sure it’s backed up with iCloud, which provides a free service for up to 5GB.

Step 1: Open Settings, and then select your user profile under Search. Enable iCloud if you haven’t already.

Step 2: Select the iCloud tab, and if it’s not switched on, hit the Green toggle button for Notes.

Enabling the Notes app to be connected to iCloud on iPhone.

Step 3: As we previously touched on, you can always back up your iPhone on your Mac, which will give you another place to store your iPhone notes.

For more information on backing up your Mac, we have a complete guide on how to back up your Mac, as well as our guide on customizing your iPhone backup within iCloud.

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Security

Mac antivirus has gone fully preemptive, but is that enough?

Apple made its Macs even better at fighting malware in recent years, but don’t relax just yet.

A recent blog post by Howard Oakley at the Eclectic Light Company details the changes Apple has quietly made in the past six months that mark a distinct change in strategy for protecting Macs, including spots where there are still holes of vulnerability, specifically for some older Macs.

According to the post, the new malware protection on Macs is formidable, scanning files daily and even hourly in some cases, and automatically updating with new malware definitions as they come in.

“It has now gone fully preemptive,” Oakley wrote in the post. “As active as many commercial anti-malware products.”

There is a caveat, though. Your Mac needs to be running MacOS Catalina or later. Thankfully, most Macs out there in the wild can run Catalina, beginning with the 2012 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Only the iMac Pro from 2017 or later is compatible, however.

Mac malware protection used to be limited to the XProtect tool, which only passively scanned some files checking for malware against a list of pre-loaded known malware code. This often failed to find the newest threats because malware evolves so rapidly.

Then, in March of last year, Apple released the MacOS 12.3 update to Monterey. Hidden in the update, with no fanfare whatsoever, was a new XProtect Remediator anti-malware scanning tool. This tool is powerful at hunting down malware the moment new viruses are discovered by security watchers.

Your Mac is much safer today than it was a couple of years ago.

Part of the new scanning protocol includes a DubRobber scanner which performs scans lasting 15-35 seconds every hour, when the Mac isn’t being actively used. Every scan then adds an entry to a running log, which you can access via terminal by typing: ‘subsystem == “com.apple.XProtectFramework.PluginAPI”‘

This proves not only that the anti-malware is included in modern MacOS releases, but is alive and active. Your Mac is much safer today than it was a couple of years ago.

You shouldn’t rest on your laurels, however. Malware is an insanely profitable criminal business with low risk, which attracts all sorts of bad actors, from hackers in the basement to shadowy foreign government agencies. Definitions depend on an active community of digital security watchers , often volunteers with day jobs, who maintain databases of known malware code. These databases are used by programs like Microsoft Defender and Apple’s new XProtect Remediator to try and keep up with the threats.

Your Mac is a lot safer today thanks to this update and the hard-working heroes who hunt down malware across the internet. But you’re not completely safe.

Remember to never download files from strange sites on the internet, and especially never from a random email from someone you’ve never heard of. Keep smart on the internet and you’ll make the job much easier for your Mac.

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Computing

How to make your Mac private and secure

Mac OS is an inherently secure and private operating system, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to ensure that it’s as safe and private as possible. Here’s how to make your Mac private and secure in a few different ways.

Lock down administrator accounts

MacOS allows multiple user accounts to be set up on a single Mac. That’s a real convenience, especially if you share a machine with family members or colleagues.

However, all user accounts aren’t the same, and there’s one step you should take to limit access to your Mac’s settings: Make sure you only have one administrator account. Administrator accounts, as opposed to regular accounts, can do anything on a Mac. They can manage other user accounts, including changing their passwords. They can install software and change all system settings, including security and privacy settings.

You only need one account with that level of control. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to create a separate account just for administrative purposes. That account should have some name other than “admin” or “administrator” to make it more difficult for a hacker to guess the username, too.

Step 1: To change an account’s security level, open System preferences > Users and groups.


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 2: To make any changes to an account, you will first need to unlock the account. Select Click the lock to make changes and then enter the password for the current account. Note that you’ll need to be using an administrator account to make these changes.

Unlocking the account settings in MacOS.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 3: Select the account that you want to enable or disable administrator privileges for. To enable administrator privileges, select Allow user to administer this computer. If the account already has administrator privileges and you want to remove them, then uncheck this setting.

Once you’ve finished, select Click the lock to prevent further changes.

Enable or disable administrator rights in MacOS.

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Manage your Mac’s idle time

Leaving your Mac unattended and logged in can present a security problem. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure that your Mac locks itself after a period of time and requires logging in from sleep or when the screen saver is running.

Note that you can use MacOS Hot Corners feature to immediately lock your Mac. Check out our guide on how to use MacOS Hot Corners to learn more.

Step 1: To set your Mac to log out after some time, select System Preferences, Security & Privacy, then the General tab. Unlock the page using Click the lock to make changes. Select Advanced… in the lower right corner.

On the following screen, you can select Log out after and specify how many minutes of activity to wait before logging out.

Log out MacOS after specified time.

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Step 2: Another option to increase security is to require a password after the laptop goes to sleep or after the screen saver runs. You can choose a timeframe from immediately up to eight hours later.

In System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General, you’ll find the option to configure this security setting. You can also set a lock message from the same screen.

Require login after sleep or screen saver in MacOS.

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Turn on the MacOS firewall

MacOS has a firewall that can be turned on to protect incoming connections. The firewall is turned off by default.

Step 1: To turn on the firewall, open System Preferences then Security & Privacy. Select the Firewall tab and unlock the settings. Select Turn on Firewall.

Turn on MacOS firewall.

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Step 2: Select Firewall Options… to configure the firewall. You can disable all incoming connections except for basic internet services, automatically allow the built-in software to receive connections, automatically allow downloaded signed software to receive connections, and enable stealth mode to hide the Mac from test applications.

Configure MacOS firewall settings.

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Turn on the FileVault

MacOS has built-in disk encryption, called FileVault, that makes it nearly impossible for someone to access your data without logging in to your Mac. If it’s not enabled by default, you should turn FileVault on as one of your first tasks when setting up your Mac.

Step 1: To turn FileVault on, open System Preferences and then Security & Privacy and select the FileVault tab. Select Turn on FileVault…

You will be presented with the option to either use your iCloud account to unlock your disk or create a recovery key. Using your iCloud account is more convenient and helps avoid the possibility of losing your recovery key.

Once you’ve set your options, select Continue.

Turn on MacOS FileVault.

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Step 2: The disk will be encrypted and the progress reported in the window. Once it’s completed, you’ll receive a notification that a recovery key has been set and that encryption has finished.

MacOS FileVault encryption finished.

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Configure access to built-in services

You can allow various applications and services to access the built-in features and services in MacOS or disallow them for added privacy.

To configure your privacy settings, open System Preferences and Security and Privacy. Select the Privacy tab. Unlock the settings to make changes.

You’ll see a list of services on the left, and then a list of applications and services that can access each one on the right. You can allow or disallow access to each service as required.

Configure MacOS privacy settings.

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Control which apps can be installed

You can install apps on your Mac from both the App Store and from third-party developers. MacOS lets you control whether third-party apps can be installed.

To allow or disallow third-party apps, open System Preferences and Security and Privacy. Unlock the settings to allow changes.

Under Allow apps downloaded from:, select either just the App Store or both the App Store and identified developers.

Allow third-party apps in MacOS.

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Automatically update your Mac

MacOS can automatically install various application and system updates, but that’s not enabled by default. Turning on automatic updates, particularly for security updates, helps keep your Mac protected from malicious actors.

Step 1: To turn on automatic updates, open System Preferences, then Software Update. Check Automatically keep my Mac up to date to turn on automatic updates. You will need to authenticate to make the change.

Turn on MacOS automatic updates.

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Step 2: You can specify which updates to automatically install by selecting Advanced…. You can configure MacOS to automatically check for updates, download new updates when available so that they’re ready to install, automatically install MacOS updates, automatically update apps installed from the App Store, and automatically install system data files and security updates.

At the very least, you should turn on automatic updates of system data files and security updates. These can arrive at any time and need to be installed as quickly as possible. Letting MacOS install them automatically means that they’ll be installed as soon as Apple makes them available.

Configure MacOS automatic updates.

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Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

How to show the battery percentage of your Mac

The indicator that displays the exact battery percentage for your Mac system is one of the most useful tools available. It lets you know how long you have left before you need to charge it, and over time, it will let you know whether it’s time to think about replacing your MacBook battery.

If you can’t find the battery indicator on your MacBook, though, here’s how to show it.

Enabling the Mac’s battery percentage indicator

There are a few ways to enable the battery percentage indicator for your Mac — it depends on what version of MacOS you’re running. For example, on older variants (Catalina, etc.), it can be switched on via the menu bar directly, while newer ones will require you to use System Preferences.

Step 1: For Catalina users, select the Battery icon on the top-right of your Mac and then choose the Show percentage option.

Step 2: For later versions (Big Sur and Monterey), open System preferences and select the Dock and menu bar option. Now hit both the Battery and Show percentage fields.

Enabling the Mac’s battery icon

If the battery icon is not showing up at all on your Mac, then here’s how to fix that.

Step 1: For those who have Catalina or below, select Energy saver within System preferences, and then tick the Show battery status in menu bar box at the bottom.

The Show battery status option for Mac.

Step 2: For Big Sur and above, select the Battery icon within System preferences instead. Now choose the Show battery status in menu bar option.

Configuring Energy Saver settings

If you find your Mac’s battery constantly depleted and want to better preserve and optimize the system’s battery usage, then you can do so via Apple’s Energy Saver settings.

Step 1: Select Energy saver from System preferences, and then adjust the settings to your liking. You have a few options to choose from via the Battery tab:

  • Turn the display off after a specific amount of time.
  • Put hard disks to sleep when possible.
  • Slightly dim the screen when the Mac is not being charged through a power outlet.
The Battery Energy Saver options on Mac.

Step 2: Adjacent to the Battery tab is Power adapter. Here, you also have a few settings you can turn on and off as well:

  • Prevent the computer from sleeping automatically when the display is switched off.
  • Put hard disks to sleep when possible.
  • Wake the Mac for Wi-Fi network access.
  • Enable Power Nap while plugged into a power adapter.
The Power Adapter Energy Saver options on Mac.

Step 3: A Schedule button on the bottom-right of the window can also set an exact time to start up/wake your system, in addition to when it automatically goes to sleep.

The Schedule button for Energy Saver options on Mac.

If you want to see the overall health of your Mac’s battery itself, then be sure to check out our guide on that as well as our article on how to show the battery percentage on your iPhone.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link