Help Desk

Glenn Fleishman an­swers your most vex­ing Mac prob­lems

Macworld - - CONTENTS -

WHAT’S THAT WEIRD APP FOLDER DO­ING IN YOUR ICLOUD STOR­AGE?

There’s noth­ing more dis­turb­ing than find­ing files on your hard­ware that come from an app you are sure you never in­stalled. Mac­world reader Kevin wrote in ask­ing about a video-man­age­ment app. It’s an app he is pos­i­tive he never in­stalled on his iOS de­vice, and he was shocked to find a folder in the iCloud Stor­age view in iOS (Set­tings > ac­count name > iCloud > Man­age Stor­age).

He noted that the in­for­ma­tion seemed quite per­sonal, as it had im­ages that seemed to rep­re­sent

all his net­work de­vices. I sug­gested this might be some­thing re­lated to an app he pur­chased and for­got, but the ex­pla­na­tion Kevin un­cov­ered is only slightly re­lated.

Af­ter ex­am­in­ing other apps he pur­chased, he dis­cov­ered that the de­vel­oper of a net­work scan­ning app he did pur­chase also makes the video-man­age­ment pro­gram (or at least did in the past). His ex­pla­na­tion, which I deem cor­rect, is that the soft­ware pro­gram­mers didn’t change all the meta­data when they cre­ated a new app from what must be a tem­plate or an ex­ist­ing project. As a re­sult, the old app’s name ap­pears in iCloud Stor­age, even though it be­longs to the new one.

I don’t know that Ap­ple ex­am­ines that dur­ing its re­view process for adding pro­grams to the App Store, but you’d think it would be a good thing to check to avoid devel­op­ers ac­ci­den­tally giv­ing read­ers pal­pi­ta­tions about mal­ware.

DIS­ABLE OP­TI­MIZED ICLOUD DRIVE STOR­AGE WITH A SIN­GLE CLICK

A big prob­lem with iCloud Drive’s Desk­top and Doc­u­ments Fold­ers syn­chro­niza­tion fea­ture is that,

by de­fault, iCloud Drive au­to­mat­i­cally deletes lo­cal copies of files when you start run­ning out of stor­age – by what­ever def­i­ni­tion of ‘run­ning out of stor­age’ macOS in­ter­nally re­lies upon. The file still ap­pears to be avail­able, but it’s in iCloud, and if you want to ac­cess it, macOS down­loads it when you try to open or oth­er­wise ma­nip­u­late it.

Be­cause any given file could be deleted, you can’t make a full lo­cal or cloud-based backup sep­a­rate from iCloud of all your files. This means you’re re­ly­ing en­tirely on Ap­ple, and if you had a prob­lem with your Ap­ple ID or iCloud ac­count, you could wind up los­ing ac­cess to files or hav­ing to go

through a te­dious prob­lem to re­gain them. How­ever, there’s a way to avoid this, so long as you have enough stor­age. In the iCloud sys­tem pref­er­ence pane, click the Op­tions but­ton next to iCloud Drive. At the bot­tom of the Doc­u­ments tab’s di­a­log box, there’s a check­box la­belled Op­ti­mize Mac Stor­age. When this box is checked, which is the de­fault op­tion when en­abling iCloud Drive, macOS deletes files as need be. This ap­plies to all iCloud Drive files, in­clud­ing items you place in the folder, apps that use iCloud Drive (and have their box checked in the Doc­u­ments tab’s list), and Desk­top and Doc­u­ments Fold­ers. But if you uncheck the box, all files re­main stored lo­cally. This does de­feat one of the ma­jor points of the fea­ture, which is man­ag­ing stor­age au­to­mat­i­cally. Since I dis­agree with that fea­ture from a backup stand­point, I think this is dandy. Your opin­ion may dif­fer.

The other main ben­e­fit of iCloud Drive sync is mak­ing these files avail­able in iCloud Drive on other Macs, in iOS, and via iCloud.com.

If you’re go­ing to use the op­tion for sync, I highly rec­om­mend dis­abling Op­ti­mize Mac Stor­age. If you have mul­ti­ple Macs, you should dis­able it on all of them, but first be sure that you have suf­fi­cient stor­age on each Mac to han­dle the full Desk­top and Doc­u­ments fold­ers com­bined of all your Macs.

CON­SOL­I­DATE ME­DIA FROM OLD APPS INTO A SIN­GLE PHOTOS LI­BRARY

If you’ve used pre­vi­ous tools such as iPhoto and Aper­ture for man­ag­ing your photos and videos, you

can wind up with many li­braries and mis­cel­la­neous files, and be un­sure whether you have a de­fin­i­tive set of photos that’s not full of waste­ful over­laps.

That’s the case for Mac­world reader John, who has li­braries across sev­eral soft­ware pro­grams and piles of back­ups to boot. He’d like to con­sol­i­date ev­ery­thing in one place and de-du­pli­cate, so he has an au­thor­i­ta­tive set. He won­ders if he’ll wind up need­ing a huge drive to man­age all this, too.

Ap­ple of­fers no real help with this, ex­cept rec­og­niz­ing du­pli­cates of cer­tain kinds when im­port­ing im­ages from an­other source. You need to turn to third par­ties for help. My best rec­om­men­da­tion here is Pow­er­Pho­tos from Fat Cat Soft­ware, a unique app that con­tains a lot of tools you might have hoped Ap­ple would have built

into Photos by now, in­clud­ing li­brary merg­ing and de-du­pli­ca­tion of me­dia. It’s $30 (around £23) from fave.co/2Qt­gqQd and it’s worth ev­ery penny.

We last re­viewed the soft­ware at ver­sion 1.1 and gave it five stars, and it’s only got bet­ter since then. Its de­vel­oper con­tin­ues to up­date it for each macOS re­lease, and is pre­par­ing a Mo­jave ver­sion af­ter its re­lease later this year.

Be­cause John (and many of us) have a mix of older li­braries and un­sorted me­dia, his best op­tion is to up­grade all his iPhoto and Aper­ture li­braries that he be­lieves con­tain dif­fer­ent me­dia to Photos. Photos will cre­ate a sep­a­rate li­brary for each, which is fine. He should also im­port any mis­cel­la­neous im­ages and videos into his main Photos li­brary.

With all these li­braries and im­ports, he should first use Pow­er­Pho­tos to merge all the li­braries into a sin­gle mas­sive one via Li­brary > Merge Li­braries. John noted he has nearly 3,000 videos and over 60,000 photos al­ready in his Photos li­brary. So this will take a long while.

Once Pow­er­Pho­tos has merged all the li­braries, its de-du­pli­ca­tion fea­ture (Li­brary > Find Du­pli­cates) will help find many of the ex­tra copies. In some cases, du­pli­cates are hard to find, be­cause file for­mats or other char­ac­ter­is­tics vary. But it’s easy to match files, names, and other char­ac­ter­is­tics on set of im­ages that are re­ally just copies of each other.

TRANS­FER MU­SIC BE­TWEEN TWO iOS DE­VICES

File trans­fers be­tween iOS de­vices typ­i­cally rely on iCloud, which can be in­ef­fi­cient if all you have are iOS de­vices and no desk­top to act as a con­duit.

Mac­world reader Patty wrote in with one such quandary. She has a bunch of mu­sic files on her work iPad, but she’s leav­ing that job and re­turn­ing it. Patty wants to trans­fer that mu­sic to her per­sonal iPad, but doesn’t own a com­puter. What to do?

The only way I can think of to trans­fer with­out a desk­top sys­tem is to use iTunes Match, which is £21.99 for a one-year subscription. Even then, this won’t work with­out a Mac or Win­dows copy of iTunes in the mix, but I’ll tell you why in a mo­ment.

All the mu­sic uniquely on Patty’s work iPad would then up­load how­ever quickly her In­ter­net

con­nec­tion al­lows. When the up­load is com­plete, as long as the same iCloud ac­count is used on her iPad, she can use the Mu­sic app to down­load mu­sic from iCloud Mu­sic Li­brary, which con­tains her whole li­brary. (iTunes Match re­places songs it matches with high-qual­ity ver­sions from the iTunes Store, or up­loads the orig­i­nal mu­sic files for ones it doesn’t. There are a num­ber of pro­vi­sos about file size, qual­ity, and other bits you should read to make sure it meets your needs.)

How­ever, and this is a big how­ever, Ap­ple has never pro­vided a ‘down­load all’ fea­ture in iOS for mu­sic file. For photos, you can opt to have iCloud Photo Li­brary down­load all the orig­i­nal files. But iCloud Mu­sic Li­brary lacks a sim­i­lar op­tion.

There’s a trick that in­volves tem­po­rary use of desk­top iTunes, how­ever, that doesn’t re­quire down­load­ing all the mu­sic to that Mac. That’s be­cause you in­ex­pli­ca­bly can’t cre­ate smart playlists in iOS, but they sync.

1. Log in to iTunes us­ing the Ap­ple ID as­so­ci­ated with the iCloud ac­count used for iTunes Match. (This can hap­pen in a separately cre­ated macOS ac­count to avoid any other prob­lems.)

2. In iTunes, se­lect File > New > Smart Playlist.

3. For con­di­tions, set it to Match Mu­sic with Time, Is Great Than, 00:00. Make sure the Limit box is unchecked. Check Live Up­dat­ing.

4. Name it All Songs and click OK.

5. This list now ap­pears in iOS in the Mu­sic app, and you can click the Down­load All cloud but­ton.

6. You can now log out of iTunes (Ac­count > Sign Out).

Ap­ple doesn’t of­fer a free way to copy per­sonal mu­sic from iOS to iTunes on a desk­top sys­tem – only pur­chased songs. How­ever, if Patty could gain ac­cess to a Mac or PC with iTunes for a lit­tle bit, she could pur­chase and use the iMaz­ing app (£34.99 for a sin­gle-user li­cense from fave.co/2x6kajo), which can copy me­dia from iOS to a Mac or PC and back again. It’s ex­pen­sive for a one-time use, but it may be in­valu­able here.

USE IOS 12 TO EN­TER PASS­WORDS ON AN AP­PLE TV

There’s one Ap­ple TV is­sue that Mac­world read­ers have dealt with for years: en­ter­ing pass­words. Many tvOS apps rely on a round-trip with a browser in­stead of a pass­word, pro­vid­ing a code that you en­ter af­ter us­ing a desk­top com­puter or mo­bile browser to log into an ac­count. That’s just fine.

With apps that want ac­tual text en­tered, it’s been frus­trat­ing. A few re­leases ago, Ap­ple linked tvOS and iOS, so that when a text en­try field ap­peared, you re­ceived an alert on iOS de­vices logged into the same Ap­ple ID, and could at least type in from your iPhone or iPad.

You could also en­ter a pass­word by tap­ping it in with the key­board or switch­ing to a pass­word man­ager app in iOS, find­ing the ac­count and pass­word, copy­ing the pass­word, switch­ing back, and past­ing it in.

In iOS 12, we can fi­nally grad­u­ate from that dance or te­dium. Ap­ple im­proved the way in which the Quick­Type bar above the key­board works to let you fill in pass­words in Sa­fari for iOS and iOS apps – and for tvOS.

Now, when you switch to a pass­word or ac­count en­try field in tvOS, your iOS de­vice pops up with a text-en­try field and dis­plays the best-matched pass­word in the Quick­Type bar. You can tap it and then use Touch ID or Face ID to au­then­ti­cate your­self, or tap the key icon and bring up other pass­words, in­clud­ing pass­words stored in third­party pass­word man­agers that have re­leased up­dates to work with iOS 12’s Quick­Type pass­word fea­ture. That in­cludes Last­Pass and 1Pass­word.

The next step Ap­ple could take, of course, would be to let tvOS syn­chro­nize ap­pro­pri­ate iCloud Key­chain en­tries. But this is a very nice step up, es­pe­cially if you gen­er­ally use the Re­mote app for Ap­ple TV in­stead of the Siri Re­mote. You’ve al­ready got your iPhone or iPad nearby.

Names have been blurred

You can opt to uncheck Op­ti­mize Mac Stor­age and al­ways keep all iCloudsynced files stored lo­cally

Find Du­pli­cates in Pow­er­Pho­tos of­fers a lot of con­trols for re­fin­ing what you con­sider to be a copy

Pow­er­Pho­tos found a num­ber of matches, and pro­vides de­tails about the na­ture of them

Make a Smart Playlist that can force iOS to down­load all iCloud-synced mu­sic

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