Mac 911: How to fix a grayed-out Sa­fari home page pref­er­ence, three ways to add an ad­dress

So­lu­tions to your most vex­ing Mac prob­lems.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY GLENN FLEISH­MAN


Dele­tion seems so fi­nal, and it’s worth­while to pause a mo­ment and re­flect be­fore click­ing any Delete but­ton or se­lect­ing any Delete menu item. In Pho­tos for macos, you’re pre­sented with many op­por­tu­ni­ties to delete items and col­lec­tions, but Ap­ple for­tu­nately spells out the ef­fects.

One area that con­fuses peo­ple reg­u­larly is how Pho­tos deletes al­bums— both the reg­u­lar static kind and “smart” al­bums that use cri­te­ria to se­lect what ap­pears within them. Surely, delet­ing an al­bum might drop the pho­tos and videos the al­bums con­tains into the trash?

For­tu­nately, it does not. In its in­ter­nal struc­ture, Pho­tos sep­a­rates out the ac­tual me­dia files from all the con­tain­ers and

or­ga­niz­ing struc­tures it makes avail­able. When you delete any al­bum you’ve cre­ated, whether it’s smart or static, Pho­tos only deletes the or­ga­niz­ing frame­work. The orig­i­nal me­dia re­mains in the li­brary un­touched.

Ap­ple even makes an ef­fort to re­as­sure you. When you Con­trol-click (or right-click on a two-but­ton mouse) any al­bum in the My Al­bums list in the side­bar and choose Delete Al­bum or Delete Smart Al­bum, Pho­tos brings up a prompt that ex­plic­itly tells you what’s go­ing to hap­pen. The word­ing is a lit­tle quirky, say­ing that “items in this al­bum will still be vis­i­ble in your photo li­brary,” but I as­sume Ap­ple de­cided on that lan­guage to be clear­est to the least-so­phis­ti­cated users, who don’t nec­es­sary un­der­stand file man­age­ment and stor­age.

You can delete al­bums with great aplomb with­out wor­ry­ing about the orig­i­nal me­dia be­ing deleted when you do. If you ac­tu­ally want to delete an im­age or video:

> In the main Pho­tos view, se­lect the im­age or video and choose Im­age → Delete Photo/delete Video or press the Delete key on your key­board.

> In other views, those op­tions aren’t avail­able. In­stead, right-click an im­age or video in any view and choose the Delete op­tion.

If you have icloud Pho­tos en­abled, Pho­tos warns you that a deleted im­age or video will be re­moved per­ma­nently from ev­ery linked de­vice’s Pho­tos li­brary, too. (Deleted im­ages are held for 30 to 40 days in the Re­cently Deleted folder.)


A we­b­cam can be eas­ily mis­used—and some­times hi­jacked by ma­li­cious soft­ware. While macos has been gen­er­ally free of mal­ware that can tap into the cam­era, and Ap­ple has a hard­ware-linked green LED that can’t be dis­abled in soft­ware when the cam­era is ac­tive, you may still want to prevent the cam­era from be­ing used at all.

This typ­i­cally comes up with kids, but it’s also a tool to dis­able any app from mak­ing use, al­though macos will al­ways ask (at least once) be­fore grant­ing ac­cess. (There’s a se­cu­rity ar­gu­ment to be made that you can use an ac­count with ad­min ac­cess for set­ting things up, but in your re­turn use, you use a Stan­dard ac­count, which could even have parental con­trols en­abled for your own fo­cus or safety that you can by­pass as needed.)

In Sys­tem Pref­er­ences → Parental Con­trols, un­der the Apps tab, you can uncheck the op­tion Al­low Use of Cam­era. If you try to use an app that re­quires a cam­era, no video source op­tion ap­pears or when se­lected it won’t stream video from the Face­time cam­era. (Sadly, plug­ging in an ex­ter­nal we­b­cam that doesn’t re­quire driv­ers to be in­stalled by­passes this re­stric­tion.)

If you launch Quicktime Player with this parental con­trol set, the app shows a yel­low yield sign next to the Face­time cam­era. Even when you turn that op­tion back in Parental Con­trols and quit and re­launch Quicktime Player, the yield sign per­sists.

The so­lu­tion? Ei­ther log out and back into the ac­count or per­form a stan­dard restart. That ap­pears to clear the hard­ware lock­out.


While mal­ware hasn’t found a fer­tile home on the Mac for decades, scam­mers keep try­ing. As many of you have ex­pe­ri­enced, ad­ware and other soft­ware that de­liv­ers un­wanted con­tent or an un­wanted ex­pe­ri­ence abounds—like redi­rect­ing you to a spe­cific web­site for search­ing or turn­ing all Ama­zon links into af­fil­i­ate links that earn the scam­mers a com­mis­sion un­til they’re shut down.

Even with vig­i­lance against nasty threats, you or (more likely) some­one you know may have in­stalled oth­er­wise rea­son­able seem­ing soft­ware that hi­jacks Sa­fari in some par­tic­u­lar way. That in­cludes a rather nasty way in which you can be pre­vented from chang­ing your home­page in Sa­fari in Sa­fari → Pref­er­ences → Gen­eral, then the Home­page field.

This tech­nique in­volves us­ing pro­files, a tool for sys­tem ad­min­is­tra­tors and oth­ers to dis­trib­ute spe­cific set­tings files to Mac users. It’s used more widely in IOS, where VPN soft­ware and other apps rely on pro­files to let users opt into be­hav­ior that Ap­ple oth­er­wise pre­vents IOS apps from en­gag­ing in.

In Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, look for the Pro­files pref­er­ence, which is a spiky badge with a check­mark in the mid­dle. If you don’t see Pro­files, you have no pro­files in­stalled, and any Home­page field prob­lems are un­re­lated.

To re­move an er­rant pro­file, click the Pro­files pref­er­ence pane, se­lect the pro­file in the list, and click the mi­nus but­ton. This will prompt you to con­firm re­moval and may re­quire en­ter­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive pass­word.

Oth­ers users un­able to change or set a home­page in Sa­fari have found first restart­ing in Safe Mode (restart and then hold down the Shift key at startup ( go. mac­, and then restart­ing nor­mally re­stored their abil­ity to choose a home­page.


Ap­ple gives email ad­dresses away at no cost, but it’s not al­ways ob­vi­ous how to ob­tain one by it­self or add one to an ex­ist­ing Ap­ple ID ac­count, or how to get ad­di­tional ad­dresses if you al­ready have one at

But there are three paths, which vary by what you al­ready have and what you want.

> If you have an Ap­ple ID with­out an as­so­ci­ated ad­dress, you can add one (via IOS or macos).

> If you have an ad­dress al­ready, you can add aliases (via icloud. com).

> If you want a sep­a­rate ad­dress for email that isn’t an alias, you

can cre­ate one by cre­at­ing an Ap­ple ID ac­count (via macos). Add an ad­dress to an Ap­ple ID While icloud seems like it’s in­te­gral to an Ap­ple ID, Ap­ple still keeps the two dis­tinct: an Ap­ple ID doesn’t have to have an as­so­ci­ated icloud ad­dress, but all icloud ad­dresses must be as­so­ci­ated with an Ap­ple ID. If you haven’t used for email yet, you might have an Ap­ple ID that uses a non-ap­ple email ad­dress for its ac­count name.

To add an ad­dress to such an ac­count, you must use ei­ther IOS or macos; you can’t add the ad­dress via the Ap­ple ID site (or via

> In IOS, go to Set­tings → [ your name] → icloud, tap Mail and turn it on, and then fol­low the in­struc­tions that ap­pear.

> With macos, open the icloud pref­er­ence pane and check the box next to Mail. macos prompts you to cre­ate an ad­dress.

This new icloud ad­dress be­comes as­so­ci­ated with your Ap­ple ID ac­count, and can be used for email and to log into for other ser­vices. Add aliases Ap­ple doesn’t ex­actly hide this fea­ture, but it’s not that easy to find, ei­ther:

1. Log into

2. Click the Mail icon.

3. Click the gear icon at the lower-left cor­ner of the screen and se­lect Pref­er­ences.

4. Click the Ac­count but­ton.

5. Click Add an Alias.

You can add up to three aliases, all of which re­ceive email just as if they were the main ad­dress on your ac­count. (I wrote a Mac 911 col­umn re­cently on how to use an alias to fil­ter in­com­ing email ( go.mac­, es­pe­cially if you’re re­ceiv­ing too much spam or un­wanted email at your pri­mary icloud ad­dress.)

Cre­ate a new Ap­ple ID to get an icloud. com ad­dress You can cre­ate an Ap­ple ID that uses as its lo­gin name an ad­dress that you pick with­out switch­ing to this new Ap­ple ID for any other pur­pose.

You can only carry this out sen­si­bly via macos. You can’t use IOS with­out log­ging out of your cur­rent icloud ac­count, which re­quires a lot of has­sle with synced data. And it’s not avail­able at all as an op­tion at or the Ap­ple ID site.

Here’s how to do it:

1. In macos, open the Users & Groups pref­er­ence pane.

2. Click the lock icon in the lower-left cor­ner and en­ter your ad­min­is­tra­tive pass­word.

3. In Lo­gin Op­tions, check “Show fast user switch­ing menu.”

4. Click the + (plus) sign below the ac­count list.

5. Cre­ate a macos ac­count that you will then use to cre­ate a new Ap­ple ID.

6. Se­lect the fast-user switch­ing menu at the up­per-right cor­ner of your macos screen and pick the newly cre­ated ac­count.

7. Skip the step dur­ing the ac­count com­ple­tion process to use or cre­ate an Ap­ple ID.

8. When the ac­count fin­ishes ini­tial set up, open the In­ter­net Ac­counts pref­er­ence pane.

9. Click the icloud logo.

10. Click Cre­ate Ap­ple ID at the sign-in prompt.

11. Click the text link “Get a free icloud email ad­dress.”

12. The Email Ad­dress field changes to an empty field and “”. You can now en­ter an ad­dress you want. (macos will warn you if it’s not avail­able.)

13. Click Next and pro­vide the con­fir­ma­tion data Ap­ple re­quires to fin­ish cre­at­ing the ac­count.

14. Log out of this new ac­count ( → Log Out [ac­count name]).

15. You can op­tion­ally dis­able fast-user switch­ing.

Now, in Mail for macos or IOS, or in third-party email clients, you can en­ter your new Ap­ple ID ac­count in­for­ma­tion to ac­cess the as­so­ci­ated email ad­dress, even while us­ing a dif­fer­ent Ap­ple ID ac­count for icloud sync­ing. (If you en­abled two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion, you’ll need to cre­ate an app-spe­cific pass­word for each mail client with which you use the email ac­count.) ■

Me­dia won’t be deleted when you re­move an al­bum.

Parental Con­trols lets you dis­able any Ap­ple Face­time cam­eras at­tached to a Mac.

The Pro­files pref­er­ence pane may ap­pear due to un­want­ed­ware in­stalling it. lets you add ad­di­tional ad­dresses to your ac­count as aliases that re­ceive email just like your main ac­count.

You can cre­ate a new Ap­ple ID in macos and opt to also cre­ate an as­so­ci­ated new icloud. com ad­dress.

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