Mac 911: Disabling two-factor authentication on your Apple ID, How to export your Photo Booth photos and videos
Solutions to your most vexing Mac problems.
STUCK IN MACOS RECOVERY WITH A LANGUAGE YOU DON’T SPEAK? HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FIX THIS
When you start up a Mac while holding down Command-r on the keyboard, the Mac boots into macos Recovery. In this mode, you can run Disk Utility, access the command-line Terminal app, and reinstall the operating system. But what do you do if you restart your Mac into Recovery mode and a language appears other than one you know?
This doesn’t seem to happen at random, but it can occur when you’ve purchased a computer from someone who installed the system using another language, which can remain in place in the Recovery partition, a separately organized part of your startup drive.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to resolve this.
> Choose the third menu from the left, which is labeled File when in English, and pick the first option, which is labeled Change Language in English. You should be able to select the language you want.
> Launch Terminal, which is in the fifth menu from the left, labeled Utilities in English. The apps have icons next to them, and Terminal is a little rectangle with a prompt in it. After Terminal launches, type
sudo languagesetup and press Return. You can then select the language to use.
> If you have a Keyboard menu at the far right of the screen, you can select the one with a tiny U.S. flag to switch to English.
> If all else fails, you can reinstall macos by restarting your Mac and then holding down Command-option-r. This will re-download installation files and prompt you for a language choice, while also upgrading the Recovery partition. It won’t overwrite your hard drive, but installs in place the latest version of macos that works on your computer.
CAN YOU DISABLE TWOFACTOR AUTHENTICATION ON YOUR APPLE ID?
Two-factor authentication (2FA) provides an effective way to deter people from hijacking an online account. With 2FA, you supplement a password with something else—typically you enter a code that’s sent via a text message. The second factor means someone has to know both your password and have access to something you own—a phone number, a phone, or a computer—and dramatically reduces your exposure when password breaches inevitably happen.
Apple added 2FA for Apple IDS a few releases ago ( go.macworld.com/2fac), an upgrade from its hastily constructed
two-step verification, which it created after high-publicity cracks using social engineering (i.e., guessing and phishing) of its icloud service.
Apple’s implementation of 2FA is integrated into IOS and macos, and I recommend that everyone enable it. However, some people may find it’s too much fuss or they have other difficulties making it work. (For Apple IDS that you don’t use with a physical device, but only for purchases, 2FA can be an honest pain, but it’s manageable.)
Until recently, you could opt to disable 2FA, although you had to go to the Apple ID website to turn it off. Apple quietly removed disabling 2FA as an option, and I’ve started to hear from people about this recently when they went to turn it off and found they could not.
It looks like Apple quietly removed that option in a later release of IOS 10 and macos 10.12 Sierra, according to reports online. Apple’s support page for 2FA ( go. macworld.com/2049) notes that within the first two weeks of enabling 2FA, you can still revert. But after that, no can do: Certain features in the latest versions of IOS and macos require this extra level of security, which is designed to protect your information.
I respect this move forward for security’s sake, but I also think Apple shouldn’t have taken it without a lot of disclosure, explanation, and potential grandfathering of those who had opted in. It doesn’t enumerate what features require this.
And Apple only provides the second factor via its IOS and macos, and as a fallback via text message and automated voice message. It isn’t integrated with standard code-based second factors (called a time-based one-time password or TOTP) or any third-party system.
It seems like Apple should have made sure its second-factor system is as easy to use and widely accessible as possible before it made it irreversible. But the new limitation is in place, and if you haven’t enabled 2FA yet, you should make sure double sure it meets your needs before moving forward.
WHAT TO DO WHE YOU CAOT TYPE CERTAI LETTERS O YOUR MACBOOK
The Mac 911 mailbag has recently included a number of letters about missing letters— people either can’t type or encounter strange keyboard problems ( go.macworld. com/kbpr) or other oddities.
One email began, “I am cotactig you because my Mac Book Pro keyboard has decided it does ot like to type the letter that appears betwee L ad M o the keyboard.” (Sadly, the writer even had an “n” in her name.)
These kind of keyboard problems are easy to diagnose, because Apple’s had a spate of problems with its Macbook and Macbook Pro models. It chose a new keyboard design starting with the 2015 12-inch Macbook, and then brought to the 2016 overhaul to the Macbook Pro line. Its revised its design once, but not with much improvement.
The issue is that the “butterfly” switch design offers a short travel distance—the space covered from a key at rest to one fully depressed—which allows an ultrashallow keyboard. But it also suffers mightily from the slightest speck of dust. Casey Johnston reported this story closely for The Outline ( go.macworld.com/otln), and had to have the keyboard on her Macbook Pro replaced several times.
Apple ultimately recognized the problem by offering an extended repair program ( go.macworld.com/kbrp) for
affected models—all Macbooks released in 2015 to 2017 and all Macbook Pros in 2016 and 2017. While Macworld wrote about this repair program ( go.macworld. com/btpr) in June 2018, but we know not everyone got the memo.
If you’re suffering from repeating keys, letters you can’t type, or “sticky” or inconsistent keyboard performance, get in touch with Apple and arrange the free repair.
HOW TO EXPORT YOUR PHOTO BOOTH PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
The Photo Booth app lets you take selfies and record videos through a Mac’s built-in camera or a third-party camera. But the app’s simple interface can make it a little tricky to figure out how to extract images. There are three ways:
> Select an image or video in the row below the main window, and then Controlclick (or right click on your mouse) and select Export.
> Select one or more images or videos (hold down Shift to select a range or use Command to add or remove) and drag into the Finder.
> Go to your home directory (in the Finder, choose Go → Home) and open the Pictures folder. Control-click (or right click) the Photo Booth Library and choose Show Package Contents. Open the Pictures folder within. (If you’ve used effects on an image, the unmodified version is in the Originals folder.)
If you want to delete media stored in Photo Booth, you can select one or more items, Control-click on one of them, and choose Delete. Or you can empty them out of the library in the Finder. ■
The Apple ID site no longer lets you disable 2FA.