Glenn Fleishman answers your most vexing Mac problems
RESTORE A DELETED SHARED ALBUM IN PHOTOS iCloud Photo Sharing lets you create albums from your images and videos and then share them to invited parties, or create a link that anyone can access. It’s a great way to leverage your existing photo libraries without having to set up sharing on other services.
However, Macworld reader Grace ran into one of the downsides: if you delete a shared album, there’s no way to restore it. MacOS and iOS warn you when
you try to delete, noting that the shared album will be deleted from all your linked accounts and all of those with whom you shared photos. But once you confirm, it’s gone. All your original media remains in place, so there’s no worry about losing images or videos, but comments and other metadata added to the shared library is lost.
There’s one strategy you can employ if you’re painstakingly setting up shared albums, and worry you might delete one unintentionally. In Photos for macOS, you can:
• Create a regular album and then copy all the images and videos from it to a shared library. (Select all the media, Control-click on any item in the selection, and then choose File > Share > iCloud Photo Sharing, and follow prompts.)
• After creating a shared album, you can import the contents back into Photos by selecting the items in a shared library, Control-clicking any item in the selection, and choosing Import. This will duplicate images and videos already in your library, however.
In Photos for iOS:
• Select media from the Photos app by tapping Select in any view that shows that button in the upper-right corner. You can then pick images and videos, and then tap the Share button. In the first row of shared destinations, tap iCloud Photo Sharing and follow prompts.
CHANGE THE DEFAULT APP FOR A FILE
Back in the pre-Mac OS X and macOS days, Apple’s System 9 and earlier relied on hidden metadata to associate files with apps. File extensions, those bits of text that follow a period at the end of a file (like .doc, .html, or .jpg) were optional, although often used for compatibility with other platforms and with web. On the web, file extensions are effectively mandatory so a browser knows how to handle a file appropriately.
Macworld reader Rick would like to change that. He has a number of HTML templates, but to differentiate them from his production .html files, he puts the suffix .tt on them instead. Browsers don’t recognize these files by default. There’s a way to force an association between a file type and an application, but that application still has to recognize the extension.
If you have an extension that’s simply not mapping correctly, you can follow these steps:
1. Select the file in the Finder and choose File > Get Info.
2. In the Open With section, if there’s an appropriate app in the list, you can select it and click Change All and confirm, and now all files with that extension open in that app. You can stop here. But if the app you want doesn’t appear in the list, select Other. 3. Choose the app from the list that shows. In the Enable pop-up menu, you can choose All Applications, and it will let you pick any app. Check the Always Open With box to force an association. 4. Click Add.
If you’re using, for example, .tt as your HTML template extensions like Rick, you could go through steps 1 to 4, and pick Safari as the app to open .tt files. The trouble is that Safari doesn’t know that a .tt file contains HTML.
In the olden days, when everything to do with the web was more in a state of flux, you could modify and add content mappings, usually in the form used by MIME, a decadesold method of associating actions and formats with file extensions. (You’ll see MIME mentioned explicitly in email programs’ headers. Some kinds of documents also embed MIME information into their headers, so software can read a few characters of the file to figure out what it is.)
Unfortunately, there’s no way I can find to change file associations in Safari or Chrome. Firefox exposes more of this mapping information, but you can’t add new file types.
Might I suggest instead using macOS’s Tags feature? In the Finder, select Finder > Preferences
and click the Tags icon. You can add an HTML Templates tag and assign that to all your templates. Then you can use a Smart Folder to gather them together, or use various Arrange By/Sort By options to group by tags.
AVOID LOSING MEDIA WHEN WORKING WITH ICLOUD PHOTO LIBRARY
I may have noted before that we receive more questions about Photos for macOS than any other topic. A recent set of questions from Macworld reader Pedro bring up an interesting intersection of potential pitfalls, some of which
I’ve answered individually before, but which are useful to look at together.
Pedro has a small disk drive on his MacBook Air, just 128GB, and thus is wrestling like many people with keeping his entire Photos library on the internal drive. He has iCloud Photo Library active, and wants to rely on it, but is already running out of space. He has three questions.
Syncing, disabling, deleting, and then syncing.
Pedro knows that deleting an image off the laptop will delete it everywhere when iCloud Photo Library is active, something I’ve reminded readers of time and time again. That’s good to know. However, he wonders about this scenario:
• With iCloud Photo Library enabled, he makes sure all his media is uploaded.
• He disables iCloud Photo Library.
• He deletes images from the library on his Mac.
• He re-enables iCloud Photo Library.
His question is whether the new synchronization between his Mac and iCloud will delete images. The answer: no. Deletions aren’t tracked when iCloud Photo Library is disabled. Generally, iCloud creates a superset without duplicates of libraries as they’re added to iCloud Photo Library rather than an exclusive intersection. That is, it only adds photos and videos to the total synced set, no matter in which library they appear, rather than creating a set that is only media shared among all libraries.
When optimizing, are high-resolution photos deleted? His second question is about the use of Optimize Mac Storage in Photos > Preferences > iCloud under iCloud Photo Library. “When my laptop runs out of space, high-resolution photos will be deleted. Do I still have them available in iCloud?” he asks. Another simple answer: yes.
Your iCloud account will always maintain a high-resolution version of any images and videos you initially sync via your iOS device or Photos for macOS. With the optimized setting enable on any of your hardware, the high-resolution version of your media is only deleted and a thumbnail retained after that version is uploaded to iCloud.
Now, I think this is risky, having a single copy. I have an iMac, a MacBook, an iPhone, and an iPad all synced to the same account. On my iMac, I retain full-resolution versions of all media in iCloud Photo Library, because otherwise I would be unable to have a full backup of my own. I’d be entirely relying on Apple to maintain my full-resolution media.
Can you store the library on an external drive?
Finally, Pedro wonders about how to use an external drive for his Photos library, and how that will work with syncing to iCloud Photo Library. It’s very easy to copy the library, and then set it as your System Photo Library, as explained in this older column. iCloud Photo Library can only sync from the library you’ve anointed as your System Photo Library, but that library can be resident on any drive you pick.
But, yes and of course, you’ll have to make sure the drive is available and mounted any time you want to access its library. From the start and with no sign of changing, Apple can’t sync to iCloud from multiple photo libraries. I’d hope the company would consider more flexibility about marking multiple libraries, including ones that might be offline at times. There’s no additional cost for Apple, since users have to pay for additional iCloud storage if they sync more photos and media to it.
MOVE MULTIPLE SAFARI TABS AT ONCE IN MACOS
When tabbed browsers first appeared, I was dubious. I liked my various windows that I could
arrange. Over time, browsers improved tab management and tools, and I adapted. I often have multiple windows open, each with a particular task or project, with many tabs in each.
But what do you do when you have a bunch of tabs in one window and want to move them to another window? Safari lets you drag tabs one at a time: hold down on the tab and drag and a tiny window appears that you drag into another open window (either onto a tab or into the tab bar). Or you can release it and it becomes a freestanding window of its own. If you want to move multiple tabs, you’re stuck. Chrome offers this feature – hold down the Shift key and select tabs – but Safari does not. There’s a workaround that involves bookmarks and a little fuss, but if you’re moving more than three or four tabs, it’s worth the effort.
1. Bring the window in Safari to the front that contains tabs you want to move.
2. Select Bookmarks > Add Tabs for These X Bookmarks.
3. In the dialog that appears, name the folder that will contain these bookmarks and click.
4. Open a new window by selecting File > New Window.
5. Choose Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks.
6. In the folder with full of books for those tabs, remove the bookmarks for items you don’t want to appear in the new window.
7. Right-click on the bookmarks folder and select Open in New Tabs.
8. Return to the window you started with and click the ‘x’ close button on each tab you don’t want.
(You can also in step 6 split the bookmarks into two folders, open each folder in a separate window via Step 7, and then close your original window.)
This seems like a kludge, and it is. But clicking the close box a number of times is substantially faster than what feels like using a tweezer to pick up tabs and move them individually.
After you confirm deleting a shared album, you cannot restore it
While you can assign apps to file types, the apps may refuse to open them
Pick Optimize Mac Storage, and high-resolution versions get purged automatically as storage is needed
You can add all the tabs in a window to a bookmarks folder