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‘Mac for experts’ Archive

Why you might run older versions of macOS

macOS (or OS X, or Mac OS X, as it has been variously called) has had 13 major versions. Each brings with it new capabilities, but each also drops some older ones as well. Here is a non-comprehensive list of some of the things I might use an old version of macOS for: 10.0 Cheetah, […]

Migration Assistant and the MacBook 12″

The MacBook 12″ is a truly elegant computer: it’s ridiculously thin and weighs only two pounds, and has a beautiful screen. It’s underpowered in most other regards — it has one lonely USB-C port for both power and devices, and is generally kinda pokey — but if you want the ultimate portable Mac, it’s that. […]

Use a Time Capsule without attaching it to a router

  Every now and then, you need to back up to a Time Capsule, but you don’t have access to the router, or a wired network jack. You’ve got to go 100% wireless. I discovered a way to set it up 100% wirelessly, with no cables attached. You’ll need: a Time Capsule (any model; an AirPort Extreme with […]

Mac Target Disk Mode now includes USB, hooray

Target Disk Mode has long been one of the Mac’s unique capabilities — it allows you to bypass the operating system entirely and access the internal drive directly, as though it were an external drive. This makes it easy to migrate data from one computer to another, perform disk repairs, or retrieve data from a Mac with a damaged operating […]

In El Capitan and Sierra, you have to format an external drive twice to make it work with a Mac

All external hard drives are physically the same, whether or not they’re marketed as being Mac-friendly or not. Mac-ready drives usually cost a little more for the same piece of hardware that you’d otherwise get. So, if you buy an external hard drive that is formatted for Windows, you need to reformat it for Mac first before you can […]

Internet Recovery Disk on 2010 Macs now boots to Sierra instead of Lion

If you have a 2010 or Early 2011 model Mac, and have current firmware updates applied to it, you can boot it into Internet Recovery. This would allow you to install 10.7 Lion, but only if you’d previously downloaded it from the Mac App Store. But I’ve discovered that these older computers instead now install 10.12 Sierra, […]

Installing old versions of macOS

Usually, you want to be running the latest version of macOS, which at this moment is 10.12 Sierra (version 10.12.3), available for free from the Mac App Store. But, sometimes, for one reason or another, you might want to install an older version of macOS. Here’s how you get them, and some of the less […]

Save your SSH passphrase in your Sierra keychain, like you used to be able to

One of the Mac’s best features for tech types has been disabled by default in Sierra: being able to save the passphrase for an SSH public-private key pair in the macOS keychain. If you don’t know what that means, then you probably don’t need to worry about it. But if you do, it means that […]

Brand new Mac models have special builds of OS X and require special cloning

So you’ve got a new MacBook Air 2013 with the all-day battery and the superfast PCIe based SSD interface, and you want to clone over from your existing Mac that you used to love but now feels underwhelming. And you wanna take advantage of the fact that, unlike other any other operating system I can […]

Thunderbolt triumph when setting up a Mac Mini Server

Unlike most Macs, Mac minis and Mac Pros that are sold to be servers are supposed to come with Screen Sharing (VNC) turned on in OS X, so that you can set them up from another Mac even if you don’t have a screen and keyboard attached. This Apple Knowledgebase Article explains how. Except we’ve now […]

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