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Archive for the ‘How Tos’ Category

by Tom Nelson

RAM upgrades can be both the simplest and least expensive ways to extend the productive life of your Mac. They can also improve general performance by allowing you to have more windows open, have more “stuff” on your desktop, and run more apps concurrently, without taxing your Mac significantly.

Increasing memory can also be advantageous to specific apps that are either known as memory hogs or simply will perform better with more memory available to them. Video editing apps, such as Final Cut Pro, as well as image editing tools, such as Photoshop, are good examples of how adding more memory can affect an app’s performance. By default, Photoshop will use up to 70% of available RAM. There are many tricks to make the best use of available RAM, such as closing unused windows, decreasing the number of patterns and brushes loaded by Photoshop, and preventing the loading of fonts that aren’t needed, all tricks to keep the app’s performance up with available RAM.

Increasing the installed RAM in Photoshop will not only process images faster, but let you load more brushes, fonts, and add-ons to allow you to more effectively work with your images.

Video editing apps generally do well with additional RAM to allow for larger frame buffers, to help increase real-time editing performance, or to move some cache files from disk to RAM for better performance.

And it’s not just pro tools like Photoshop that benefit from additional RAM. Apps such as GarageBandPhotos, web browsers, and mail apps can all benefit from more memory if the apps load a lot of libraries, plug-ins, or add-ons. Even your word processor could be slowing down if you’re working with large documents, images, and a few add-ons.

Apps like Photoshop can perform poorly when available RAM is limited. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Even if you’re not using an app that needs lots of RAM, you may benefit from additional memory if you’re the type of user who likes to leave apps and windows open as you flit from one task to another. Or perhaps you’ve toned down the visual effects your Mac uses or refrained from using some of the new Mojave features, such as dynamic desktop because you often run low on free memory. These are all good reasons to consider increasing the amount of RAM installed on your Mac.

How to Know When Your Mac Needs More RAM
There are a number of ways to tell when more RAM is needed; one of the most common is the sluggish performance you encounter as free RAM space becomes smaller and smaller. This can show up as spinning cursors, jumpy scrolling, jumpy cursors, and tasks taking a longer time than usual to perform.

You can also use one of the many performance and troubleshooting utilities available to actually see how RAM is being used. You can view not only how much memory is in use, but also which apps or services are using the most RAM. This can help you see how the amount of RAM in your Mac is affecting performance.

Activity Monitor can show not only which apps are using RAM, but also how much memory compression is occurring. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can use Activity Monitor, a utility that comes with your Mac, to monitor your Mac’s performance, including how memory is being used. I highly recommend keeping the Activity Monitor app open as you use your Mac during a typical day. You can find details about using Activity Monitor, as well as other memory monitoring tools, in the Rocket Yard guide: Tech Tip: How to Monitor Your Mac’s Memory Usage.

After monitoring your memory use, you may come to the conclusion that adding memory is just the thing to do to see an increase in performance and productivity, which brings us to the next question:

Which Macs Support User Upgradeable RAM?
In the early days of the Mac, most models had memory slots that allowed users to upgrade RAM as needed. This allowed buyers to bypass the more expensive RAM prices Apple charged, and purchase a Mac with the minimum memory installed. You could then upgrade the RAM yourself, at a considerable discount.

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by Tom Nelson

Are you getting ready to install macOS Mojave? Or perhaps you’ve already finished the upgrade and have started exploring the new Mojave system. In either case, you may discover that some of your favorite apps have stopped working, or are exhibiting problems that may be anything from a small annoyance to an outright showstopper.

In many cases, the apps you’re having problems with may only need to be updated to the most recent version. Likewise, you should also check that your copy of Mojave is up to date. Even if you just installed Mojave, you could be a minor revision behind.

After making sure you’re up to date, you may still have some apps with issues. To help, here is the Rocket Yard list of apps that are currently (as of November 24th, 2018) either not working or having known issues.

At the end of the list, I’ve included instructions on fixing one of the most common issues for an app not to work in Mojave. And as always, if you have a problem with an app, let us know by leaving a comment, below. If you had a problem with an app and figured out a workaround, please let us know how you did it.

In many cases, upgrading to the most current version of an Adobe app will get it working with macOS Mojave. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Adobe Apps
Some Adobe suites are still using 32-bit components, which can result in a warning message about an app not being optimized for use with your Mac. For the most part, these warning messages will not prevent the app from running.

  • Photoshop CS5 may display errors when launched, or when you quit the app. Some users have been able to get around the launch crashes using the technique outlined below, in the “How to Fix Apps That Crash in Mojave” section. If you rely on Photoshop, it’s a good idea to upgrade to a newer version.
  • Photoshop CC has a number of compatibility issues, and Adobe recommends upgrading to Photoshop CC 2019 and Mojave 10.14.1 or later.
  • Illustrator CS6 or newer should run under Mojave though there may be minor issues with using Illustrator with Mojave’s Dark Mode.
  • InDesign CS5 and CS6 are both 32-bit apps, and users have reported multiple issues with using them under Mojave. The most common problems cited are a minor issue with Dark Mode, as well as an error when quitting the application that doesn’t seem to impact any of the documents created.
  • Acrobat Pro DC and Acrobat Reader DC have numerous issues with both Mojave and High Sierra. Updating to the latest versions will correct most issues, though a few issues remain, involving printing, and converting a doc to PDF. Adobe is working to remedy the remaining issues in a future release.
  • Dreamweaver has a few issues with Mojave; most are due to Dreamweaver’s reliance on the use of other apps, such as Terminal and Finder, to perform some of its functions. Check the “How to Fix Apps That Crash in Mojave” section, below, for possible workarounds.
  • Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC have been known to crash when used with Mojave’s Dark Mode.
  • Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC have minor issues with Mojave, including Dark Mode support, and attempts to access other computer components, such as the microphone and camera. Check the “How to Fix Apps That Crash in Mojave” section for possible workarounds.

Apple Apps
I would like to see Apple let us know which of their apps need to be updated before installing a new OS, but for now, Apple apps are just like everyone else’s, and may need to be updated to work correctly.

  • Aperture 3 still runs but there have been reports of minor issues, even occasional crashes. Versions earlier than Aperture 3 will not run under Mojave. And since Aperture is no longer supported, you should be looking for a new photo management app to use anyway.
  • iWork (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) versions older than 2013 are 32-bit apps, and will likely not run under Mojave, or if they do, will have various issues. Later versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are 64-bit apps and should run without issue. However, it’s best to update this collection of apps to the most recent version for use with Mojave.
  • Final Cut Pro’s older versions and their components, including Final Cut Studio Pro and Soundtrack Pro, will not run in Mojave.
  • Final Cut Pro X and its related apps, Motion and Compressor, should all be updated to the latest version to ensure compatibility with Mojave. The most recent version is 10.4.4 (November 15, 2018).
  • Logic Pro X should be updated to the latest version, 10.4.2 (September 28, 2018), for use with Mojave.
  • MainStage should be updated to the latest version, 3.4.1 (November 8, 2018).
  • Grab, the screenshot utility included with macOS High Sierra and earlier, has been replaced by the newer macOS Mojave Screenshot app.

Microsoft Apps
Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 and all of its components, including:

  • Word 2011
  • Excel 2011
  • PowerPoint 2011
  • Outlook 2011

are all 32-bit apps and are no longer supported by Microsoft. There are mixed results for Office 2011 running under Mojave, although for the most part, the Office 2011 apps should be considered unreliable for serious work. It may be a good idea to plan to upgrade to a current version.

  • Office 2016 version 16.16.2 or later fully supports Mojave.
  • Office 365 and Office 2019 version 16.17.0 or later fully support Mojave.

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by Tom Nelson

Dashboard, the secondary desktop introduced with OS X Tiger, is gone, vamoosed, kaput; it’s an ex-desktop. With the advent of macOS Mojave, the Dashboard and all of those productive widgets are gone. Such is the penalty paid for progress. Or is it?

If you’re a fan of Dashboard and all of its funky widgets, such as weather, an assortment of clocks, a calendar, local movie listings, stocks, and whatever else you may have loaded into the Dashboard environment, the good news is that the Dashboard isn’t really gone, Mojave just turned it off by default.

Now, having Dashboard disabled by default may be an indication of what is in store for Dashboard down the road. Dashboard widgets, those mini applications, haven’t seen a lot of activity from developers in quite a while, and most of the widgets can be replaced with apps from the Mac App Store. And if rumors are to be believed, some iOS apps, beyond those included with Mojave, may in the future make the jump to macOS. In that case, the Dashboard environment may just not make a lot of sense anymore. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it for now.

Enabling the Dashboard
It’s an easy process to turn Dashboard back on:

Use the Mission Control preference pane to enable Dashboard, as well as to select what mode it will operate in. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Launch System Preferences by clicking or tapping its icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

Select the Mission Control preference pane.

Locate the dropdown menu next to the Dashboard text.

Use the dropdown menu to select one of the following:

  • Off: The default state for Mojave. The Dashboard is turned off and can’t be used.
  • As Space: The Dashboard environment is treated as a separate desktop space. You can switch into and out of the Dashboard space using the Spaces bar, keyboard shortcuts, or gestures.
  • As Overlay: This is the classic method of displaying the Dashboard, as an overlay above your normal desktop.

Make your selection from the dropdown menu.

You can now quit the System Preferences.

Accessing the Dashboard
There are a number of ways to access the Dashboard, though the most common is to use the F12 or the Fn + F12 keys (depending on the keyboard type you’re using). Pressing the F12 key will either display the Dashboard as a space that slides into place, replacing the current desktop or other active space, or as an overlay on top of the current desktop.

There are additional ways to access the Dashboard once you have turned the feature on:

Launch the Mission Control preference pane, as you did earlier.

In the Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts section, you can assign keystrokes or mouse buttons to perform specific tasks. Look for the Show Dashboard text. Next to the text are two dropdown menus; the first can be used to assign any of the function keys, F1 through F19 (your keyboard may not have all 19 function keys). You can also use the Shift, Control, or Command keys in combination with the function keys to create up to 57 possible key combinations to access the Dashboard.

If you would prefer to use your mouse, the second dropdown menu to the right allows you to select from up to seven different mouse buttons to use to access the Dashboard environment.

Hot Corners allows you to access the Dashboard by moving the cursor into the designated corner. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Hot Corners are another way to access the Dashboard. With this method, simply moving the cursor to one of the corners of your display can cause the Dashboard to appear. To set up Hot Corners, click the Hot Corners button in the Mission Control preference pane. In the sheet that drops down, select the dropdown menu that corresponds to the display corner you wish to use, and then select Dashboard from the dropdown menu’s list of options.

You can also use the Dock to work with Dashboard. Click or tap the Dashboard icon in the Dock to go directly to the Dashboard. Chances are there’s no Dashboard icon in your Dock under Mojave, but it’s easy to put it back. In the Finder, open the Applications folder, and then drag the Dashboard app to the Dock.

Prefer to use gestures? That’s possible as well:

  • Dashboard enabled as a space: You can use the standard two-finger swipe left or right to move between spaces.
  • Dashboard set as an overlay: You can use a three-finger swipe up to open Mission control, and then select the Dashboard from the Spaces bar.

Quit Dashboard
To quit the Dashboard and return to the desktop:

  • Press the Escape key.
  • Press the arrow icon in the bottom right corner of the Dashboard.
  • When Dashboard is used as an overlay, click or tap in any empty space of the Dashboard.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Mojave has a lot going for it: plenty of new features, new security and privacy safeguards, even new apps, such as News and Home. Even with all the new capabilities, some of you may find yourselves wishing for one of the previous versions of the Mac operating system.

Perhaps Mojave is performing poorly on your system, even after trying some of the tips in: Is Mojave Slowing Your Mac Down? This is How You Can Speed It Up. Or maybe a favorite or mission-critical app hasn’t been updated yet for Mojave, and you need to downgrade the OS to be able to keep running an older app.

No matter the reason, you can downgrade from macOS 10.14 and revert to an earlier version by following the steps below.

How to Downgrade From macOS Mojave
The downgrade process begins with backing up your current system. This is to ensure that, should something go wrong during the downgrade process, you can recover your data and be back where you started. You’ll also need the backup because the downgrade process includes erasing your Mac’s startup drive. If you need to restore some of your documents and files to your Mac after you downgrade, the backup may be your only place to find them. To make accessing those backup files as easy as possible, I recommend creating a clone of your startup drive. It’s also possible to use Time Machine, but no matter which method you use, be sure you have a backup before proceeding.

Downgrading just to run a specific app? Using a virtual machine, such as Parallels, may be an alternative. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Before we start the downgrade process, consider these alternatives:

  • If you’re downgrading because you need a specific app that doesn’t run well under Mojave, you may be able to install an older version of the macOS on a separate drive or partition. This will allow you to keep Mojave and switch between the OS versions as needed.
  • Another alternative is to use a virtualization app, such as Parallels, to run an earlier version of the macOS in. Once again, this will let you run earlier apps that you may need without having to go through the downgrade process.

If you decide that downgrading is what you need to do, we’re going to show you three basic ways to accomplish the task:

  • Use a downloaded Mac OS installer for the Mac version you wish to revert to.
  • Use Time Machine to revert to an older version of the OS.
  • Use Apple’s recovery service to reinstall the original version of the Mac OS that shipped with your Mac.

The method you choose is up to you, based on your needs and the availability of an installer for the operating system you wish to return to.

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by Tom Nelson

Once a popular option in the early days of the Mac, RAM disks, which were used to speed up the performance of a Mac, have fallen by the wayside.

Conceptually, RAM disks are a simple idea: a chunk of RAM set aside that looks, to the Mac system, like just another storage drive. The system, as well as any installed apps, can write files to or read files from the RAM disk, just as if it really were another storage drive mounted on your Mac.

But unlike any storage drive, a RAM disk can operate at the speed of RAM, which is usually many times faster than most drive storage systems.

RAM Disk History
RAM disks existed before the Macintosh ever hit the market, but we’re going to predominantly explore how RAM disks were used with the Mac.

The Mac Plus, released in 1986, had quite a few new features, including the use of SIM (Single Inline Memory) modules that users could easily upgrade. The Mac Plus shipped with 1 MB of RAM, but users could increase the memory size to 4 MB. That was an amazing amount of RAM in 1986, and begged the question: What can I do with all this memory space?

At the same time, many users were asking how they could speed up their Macs. And while many users were happy to just max out the RAM, and enjoy the performance gain of having more memory, which let them run more applications concurrently, some users discovered the joys of using a RAM disk to speed up the system and apps. Other users discovered that a RAM disk could be used to create an amazingly fast storage system. Remember, back then, most Mac Plus users were getting by with a single 800 KB floppy drive, while those who felt like splurging could add an additional external floppy drive. If you really had cash to burn, you could hook up a 20MB SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) hard drive, which would likely set you back well over $1,200.

The first prominent use of a RAM disk was to copy the Mac’s slow ROM (Read Only Memory), which contained many of the system’s core components, along with the operating system, which was stored on a floppy drive, and move them both to a RAM disk where they could operate at the speed of RAM; many, many times faster than either the floppy disk or the ROM.

The performance increase was amazing, and was achieved for just the cost of a RAM disk utility app.

The second common use of a RAM disk back in the Mac Plus days was to create a tiered storage system. Floppy drives weren’t fast enough for professionals or avid amateurs to work with new rich media editing systems, such as audio editors, image editors, or page layout apps. SCSI drives could meet the needs of image editing and page layout, but audio editing was at best iffy, with most SCSI drives being too slow to provide the needed bandwidth for audio or other real-time editing.

RAM disks, on the other hand, were very fast, and could easily meet the needs of real-time editing with their ability to write or read files as quickly as the RAM could be accessed, without the mechanical latency inherent in SCSI or floppy disks.

RAM disks can be very fast. In my case, over 10x faster than my Mac’s startup drive. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The only disadvantage to RAM disks was that the data stored in them was lost every time you turned your Mac off, or the power went out. You had to remember to copy the content of the RAM disk to your main storage system or your work would be lost.

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by Tom Nelson

After installing macOS Mojave, does your Mac feel a bit sluggish? Perhaps it’s taking longer to boot, taking longer to save or open files, and launching apps seems to take more time than it used to. Or perhaps your Mac is just experiencing an overall listlessness.

No matter what type of slowdown you’re experiencing, there’s a good chance one of these tips will help get your Mac back on its feet and running the way you remember.

If you’re experiencing slow startups after installing macOS Mojave, you may find one of the tips below will get you back up to speed.

Of course, your Mac may just be at its performance limit. Each new version of the macOS seems to need just a bit more processing, graphics, or disk performance than the last one. To cover that possibility, I’ll include a few upgrade tips that can help you get your Mac back into tip-top shape.

Before you start, make sure you have a recent backup. Some of these tips involve removing files or performing actions that can result in data being removed.

Startup Time Seems Slow
Have you noticed that after installing Mojave, the time it takes for your Mac to start up seems to have taken a nosedive? Surprisingly, this isn’t all that unusual and happens to a small percentage of users after a major macOS upgrade.

There are multiple possible causes, and we’ll look at how to fix them. The problems and fixes are in no particular order, and you don’t need to do every one, but it also won’t hurt to start with the first one and work your way through.

Login Items: Sometimes called the Startup List, this is a list of apps or services that will start up automatically when you log into your Mac. Apps can add items to the list when they’re installed, or you can manually add apps or services you use all the time to the list.

What can happen is the new OS no longer supports one or more items in the list. This results in a delay when you log in as each item tries to launch and then times out. Or the app could still work but takes a long time to launch. The fix is to clean out old unsupported apps and services from the Login Items list.

Removing old or unsupported Login Items can help fix slow startup issues. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can find instructions on removing items from the list in the Rocket Yard Guide: macOS 101: What Mojave Broke and How to Fix It.

Reset SMC, NVRAM: The SMC (System Management Controller) takes care of a number of basic functions, including controlling fan speed, power, and a good deal more. During startup, an SMC that is misbehaving or has corrupt information can delay the startup process.

Likewise, the NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory), which stores configuration information, such as mouse or trackpad settings, keyboard settings, which disk is the startup disk, and a bit more, can slow down the startup process if the stored data is incorrect.

You can reset both the SMC and NVRAM using the Rocket Yard Guide: How to Reset NVRAM, PRAM, SMC on your Mac.

Safe Mode: Safe Mode is primarily a diagnostic startup mode that prevents most third-party items from loading. But it also verifies and repairs, if needed, any issues with the startup drive. In addition, Safe Mode will delete all font caches, kernel caches, and system caches, which are likely candidates for startup slowdowns.

Just starting up in Safe Mode can fix many common slowdown issues. To find out how to use Safe Mode, read: Safe Mode & Single-User Mode: What They Are, How to Use Them.

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by Tom Nelson

The process of securely wiping a drive, that is, removing every bit of the data it contains and scrambling its content enough to protect the information stored on the drive from prying eyes, is fairly well understood for old-fashioned spinning hard drives. SSDs, on the other hand, can be affected poorly by the same techniques used on hard drives: overwriting data locations multiple times with random data or specific data patterns.

To make matters worse, at least from a security standpoint, even after overwriting data on an SSD, it’s possible that some of the original information is still present on the drive.

Which brings us to the question: Can you securely erase an SSD without damaging the drive, and make sure that all of the information is no longer recoverable?

Disk Utility’s Security Options for erasing a drive may not be present when used on an SSD. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

It may be a good idea to review how Disk Utility can be used to erase and protect information in the article: How to Securely Wipe the Data Stored on a Drive in macOS High Sierra.

We originally looked at the changes High Sierra brought to performing a secure wipe. In this Rocket Yard article, we’re going to further explore how to securely wipe an SSD.

SSD Architecture
As we said above, the process of securely wiping a hard drive is fairly well understood. The linear nature of data storage on a spinning drive, along with the ability to access and read, write, and erase data at all active storage locations make the sanitation process pretty easy, though sometimes time-consuming. Essentially, you need to erase the volume and partition maps, and then overwrite each data location using a random or specific data pattern.

The number of times data is written, and the data pattern used for the secure wipe, allows the sanitation process to meet specific security requirements, including those set forth by the DOD or other government agencies.

SSDs, on the other hand, don’t use a linear storage convention, nor are the storage locations directly addressable. Instead, SSDs use a number of mapping layers that hide the physical layout of the flash-based memory, as well as help in managing how flash memory data integrity and lifetime are managed. Collectively, these layers are referred to as the flash translation layer (FTL).

The OWC Aura Pro X is 7% overprovisioned to optimize performance and ensure the FTL has plenty of free blocks to work with. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

SSDs are also overprovisioned; they contain a bit more flash memory than what they’re rated for. This extra memory is used internally by the FTL as empty data blocks, used when data needs to be rewritten, and as out-of-band sections for use in the logical to physical mapping.

The mapping layers, and how the flash controller manages memory allocation, pretty much ensure that either erasing or performing a conventional hard drive type of secure erase won’t ensure all data is overwritten, or even erased at all.

One example of how data gets left behind intact is due to how data is managed in an SSD. When you edit a document and save the changes, the saved changes don’t overwrite the original data (an in-place update). Instead, SSDs write the new content to an empty data block and then update the logical to physical map to point to the new location. This leaves the space the original data occupied on the SSD marked as free, but the actual data is left intact. In time, the data marked as free will be reclaimed by the SSD’s garbage collection system, but until then, the data could be recovered.

A conventional secure erase, as used with hard drives, is unable to access all of the SSD’s memory location, due to the FTL and how an SSD actually writes data, which could lead to intact data being left behind.

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by Tom Nelson

Having issues with Mojave? Seems like it’s a rite of passage to install a new version of the macOS, and then uncover issues we didn’t see in the beta version.

With macOS Mojave, we appear to be seeing a smaller crop of issues than we saw in our previous “what broke” guides:

That may be due to a more rigorous beta cycle, or maybe we just haven’t had enough time to uncover all the possible problems. Either way, here’s our newest guide to what broke and how to fix it in macOS Mojave.

SMS Messages Not Delivered
If you use the Messages app on the Mac to send SMS messages, you may notice a strange timeout error occurring when you send an SMS message to a non-Apple device.

Once you send such a message, you may see a “Not Delivered” error message. While the error message is a bit vexing, it gets stranger. Turns out your message was sent, and likely received, without any problems.

Logging out and back into iCloud may correct the SMS delivery error. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

If that was the extent of the issue, you could probably live with it and wait for a fix in one of the subsequent Mojave updates. But as you may have guessed, there’s one more problem associated with the Not Delivered error. Once you see the Not Delivered error message, the recipient will not be able to send you any responses.

At the time of this writing, there’s no fix available for the issue that always works. But I can list a few things that some people have reported as a cure, although just as many said the cure didn’t help them. Since there’s no official fix, this, then, is a best shot approach:

  • Sign out and sign back into Messages: Works for some people, but in most cases, the problem eventually returns.
  • Sign out of iCloud and sign back in: The idea here is to force your Mac’s data to re-sync with all of your other devices via iCloud. If you give this fix a try, be sure to save the iCloud data locally on your Mac, just to ensure you don’t lose any information. You’ll be presented with the option to save the iCloud data locally when you sign out.
  • Stop sending SMS messages to non-Apple devices: This works, but it may be difficult to get all your Android-using friends to switch to Apple.

The SMS error appears to be very erratic, with many people not experiencing the problem at all, yet there’s more than a handful of users who have reported the issue. If you’ve seen this problem, let us know by using the comments section, below.

Weird Fonts
No, not a new set of fonts for the Mac, but fonts you’ve been using for ages now looking weird in Mojave. The usual sign for weird fonts is a bit of blurring or softness along the edges, even the straight horizontal or vertical lines of a letter.

The blurring is seen most often on non-Retina Macs. The cause is Mojave disabling sub-pixel antialiasing, an older font rendering technique that helped fonts appear smoother and less jagged on most displays.

You could solve the problem by upgrading to a Mac with a Retina display, or you can try the following fix:

You may not be afflicted with the problem if you upgraded to Mojave from an earlier OS that had font smoothing enabled. Even then, some users have mentioned the weird fonts even though they upgraded. No matter what the actual sequence of events is needed to disable sub-pixel font rendering, you can turn the feature back on with this simple two-step process:

Launch System Preferences by clicking or tapping the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

Select the General preference pane from the System Preferences window.

At the bottom of the General preference pane, make sure there’s a checkmark in the “Use LCD font smoothing when available” box. (It may say “Use font smoothing when available,” depending on the type of display you’re using.)

Use Terminal to enable sub-pixel font smoothing if you are experiencing weird looking fonts. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Even if the font-smoothing box was already checked, you need to continue on to the second part of the fix: using Terminal to force font rendering to be enabled:

Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities.

At the Terminal prompt, enter the following:

defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool NO

Press enter or return on your keyboard.

You can quit Terminal and close the System Preferences window if it’s still open.

For the change to take effect, you need to restart your Mac.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Mojave has a number of security and privacy enhancements that can help make using your Mac a simpler, safer, and more secure experience. Apple made changes to Safari, as well as expanded Gatekeeper and SIP services provided by the macOS.

Automatic Strong Passwords with Safari
Safari can automatically create strong 20-character passwords for you when you’re setting up a new service or account. Safari will populate the password and password confirmation field for you, though you can accept or reject the supplied password. The account password will be stored in Safari, and synced with your other Apple devices using iCloud. As long as you remain within the Apple environment (macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS), you can access all of your account passwords using just your Apple ID password.

Strong passwords can be automatically generated and inserted into password fields when you sign up for a new service. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

To use Automatic Strong Passwords, launch Safari and browse to a website for which you would like to create a login account.

1) When you come to the password field, click or tap once in the field.

2) Safari will display a key icon in the far right edge of the password field.

3) Click or tap the key icon.

4) In the menu that appears, select Suggest New Password.

5) A strong password will be generated.

6) You can click or tap in the password field, and select Use Strong Password, or Don’t Use.

Of course, to make the strong passwords easy to use, Safari can also auto fill login fields when needed:

1) Launch Safari and select Preferences from the Safari menu.

2) Select the Passwords item from the Safari preferences toolbar.

3) Place or remove the checkmark from the item labeled AutoFill user names and passwords.

Safari Password Reuse
Apple can’t put an end to password reuse, the practice of using the same password, or weak variants of a common password, over and over across multiple sites and services. Reusing passwords can be a disaster waiting to happen. Should someone gain access to one of your accounts, they’re going to try that same password with any other account or service they think you’re using.

As you can imagine, the results wouldn’t be very pretty if you’re reusing your passwords.

Safari can audit your website passwords and point out when you reuse a password multiple times. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Safari in macOS Mojave won’t prevent you from reusing passwords on multiple websites, but it can warn you when you do:

Launch Safari, and then select Preferences from the Safari menu item.

In the Safari preferences window, select the Passwords item in the toolbar.

Enter the password for the current user in order to unlock the Safari passwords.

The passwords that Safari has remembered for you will be displayed. If any passwords are being reused, Safari will mark them with a yellow warning placard.

Clicking or tapping one of the warning symbols will display details about the warning, including where the password is being reused, and a link to the current site, so you can quickly go there and change the password.

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by Tom Nelson

When you’re ready to install macOS Mojave, you’ll need to choose between two different install methods. The default is an upgrade install, which will update the version of the Mac operating system currently on your startup drive to macOS Mojave, while retaining your user data, apps, and other assorted information you may have stored on your Mac.

The second option is a clean install. This method completely erases all of the data on the startup volume and replaces it with the macOS Mojave operating system. When the clean install is complete, you’ll have a pristine startup drive, reminiscent of when you first got your Mac.

We’re going to show you both install methods, although we’ve combined them, since most of the steps are the same.

Preparing for Mojave
Before you begin installing Mojave, there are a few things to do to ensure your Mac and you are ready for the new operating system. Start by reviewing these guides to make the process an easy one: Mac 101: How to Get Ready for macOS Mojave

And while it’s unlikely you’ll encounter any problems while installing, this Rocket Yard Guide may help you solve a problem, should one occur: Mac Installation Errors You May Encounter and How to Fix Them

The App Store
The macOS Mojave installer is available from the App Store. You can find instructions for downloading the installer, as well as information about which Macs are able to run Mojave, plus some tips on common problems and how to avoid them, in the Rocket Yard Guide: How to Download macOS Mojave and Avoid Common Problems

The above guide also contains information on creating a bootable macOS Mojave installer. You’ll need the bootable installer if you intend to perform a clean install on the startup disk. You won’t need a bootable installer if you’ll be performing a clean install on a non-startup disk.

Even if you don’t need the bootable installer, it’s a good idea to create one, as a way to archive the installer as well as to make installing macOS Mojave on multiple Macs an easier process.

At this point, you’ve acquired the macOS Mojave installer from the App Store, and are almost ready to perform a clean or upgrade install. Before you proceed, be sure you have an up-to-date backup of your Mac.

If you’re ready to begin the install, I’ve broken the process into two sections: an Upgrade Install and a Clean Install.

Clean Install Preparation
Performing a clean install on your startup disk requires a few extra steps, including starting up from the bootable installer you made earlier, and completely erasing your startup drive. It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway:

WarningThis process will completely erase your startup drive, causing all data stored on the disk to be lost.

Insert the USB bootable flash drive you made earlier into your Mac, and make sure it successfully mounts.

Restart the Mac while holding down the Option key. Keep the Option key depressed until you see the boot manager appear, displaying icons for all the disks you can start up from.

Select the USB bootable flash drive from the icons, and then press the return key on the keyboard.

When performing a clean install, use the Disk Utility option to erase the startup drive, and the Install macOS item to install Mojave on the empty startup drive. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Your Mac will start from the bootable installer. The startup process can take a bit longer than usual, depending on how fast the USB device is. Eventually, you’ll see the macOS Utilities screen.

Select the Disk Utility option, then click or tap the Continue button.

Disk Utility will launch. Make sure you select the correct volume in the sidebar. If you’re performing a clean install, the usual name for the startup disk is Macintosh HD, though it may be different if you’ve customized the startup drive name, or are performing a clean install on a different volume. You can use the instructions in How to Use macOS Sierra Disk Utility to Partition, Erase Drives for erasing a drive.

Using Disk Utility to erase a macOS High Sierra startup drive in preparation for a clean install of Mojave. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

When you’re finished with Disk Utility, select Quit Disk Utility from the Disk Utility window.

From the macOS Utility screen, select Install macOS, then click or tap the Continue button.

From here until the system setup process, the installer for upgrade or clean works the same.

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