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.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY GLENN FLEISH­MAN


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.


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.mac­, 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. mac­ 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.


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.mac­, 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.mac­ 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.


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.

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