Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 18: The Year in Mac Security, and Tips for Backing Up Your Mac

We look at the year in Mac security 2017, and discuss the rise in malware. And we discuss the best strategies for backing up your Mac. But first, Kirk tells about how his website was (sort of) hacked.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

How to Remove Wi-Fi Networks from Your Mac and iOS Device

If you travel regularly with your Mac or iOS device, you likely find yourself connecting to new Wi-Fi networks: at airports, in train stations, in hotels, restaurants, pubs, or at clients’ offices. Whether you connect to these networks with your Mac, iPhone or iPad, miraculously, your devices will remember these networks and sync them via iCloud — so your other Apple products can access them too, if you use iCloud Keychain.

Your Apple device’s ability to remember previously connected to networks can be both good and bad. While it means you don’t have to search for or remember login credentials when you connect to a known Wi-Fi network on a different device, it can lead to a surfeit of Wi-Fi networks stored in your keychain and potentially allow you to unknowingly connect to a Wi-Fi network that might not be secure.

You can cull these Wi-Fi networks, but only on a Mac. Read on and we’ll show you how to remove these Wi-Fi networks so your Macs and iOS devices forget them.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

The Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 10: Tom Cruise Is in Every Starbucks

With just a few days before Christmas, we discuss how to safely shop online in the holiday season and all year round. We also talk about a recent Apple firmware update for AirPort base stations, one that patches the KRACK exploit.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Apple, “Pro,” and Profits

Apple’s new high-end, all-in-one workstation, the iMac Pro, is now available for order. Many people have gone to Apple’s website to configure the top-of-the-line model, finding it can cost upwards of $13,000 (or about one Apple Watch Edition, first generation). This is obviously just messing around, to see how much it would run to have the best processor, the fastest video card, 128 GB RAM and a 4 TB SSD.

The starting price for the iMac Pro is $5,000, and those who have looked into the various configurations seem to have found that the $7,200 10-core model offers the most bang for the buck.

But this isn’t a Mac for you and me; this is a Mac for real professionals.

For a long time, Apple has used the word “pro” to indicate devices that aren’t for professionals; they just suggest a higher level of performance or options. Take the current iPad Pro; there’s nothing specifically professional about that, it’s an iPad for anyone who wants slightly better features. The iMac Pro is for people with serious needs in terms of processing and data transfer, and not something that you’d buy on a whim.

The MacBook Pro? Nope, not just for professionals, but a better computer than the smaller, more limited MacBook and MacBook Air.

The Mac Pro? Even those computers – there were two models – weren’t just for professionals. I owned both of them. The first, known as the cheese grater because of its case, was a very good computer for anyone who wanted more than an iMac. I bought one back in 2006, and used it for several years. I especially appreciated the ability to add more hard drives and a second optical drive to the computer. It cost more than the current iMac models, but not that much; it started at $2,500, when a 20-inch iMac cost $1,500 at the time. Yes, you needed a display, but many of us already had one.

The second Mac Pro, which I bought in 2014, cost a bit more. (Information I find suggests that it retailed for $3,000, but my invoice shows that I paid under £2,100. I don’t know if I perhaps got a discount somehow…) The 27-inch iMac at the time, with the faster processor option, cost $2,000, so in each of these cases, the Mac Pro cost about 50% more than the best available iMac.

Apple has been criticized in recent years for ignoring the pro market, for still selling the 2013 Mac Pro at the same price as when it was released with now four-year old technology. The iMac Pro is the first attempt to remedy this, and we are told that a new Mac Pro will see the light next year.

My gut feeling is that Apple didn’t update the Mac Pro in part because they didn’t sell a lot of them. (There were some technical reasons that limited their ability to upgrade the computer, because of its form factor.) And they didn’t want to lower the price and admit that they were wrong. But now, they simply need to have professional-quality computers in their line-up.

I’m speculating, but I think Apple won’t be making much of a profit from the iMac Pro, or the coming Mac Pro, but rather needs to have these computers as flagship devices to show that the company can innovate. If they take a loss, because of R&D costs, it’s not a big deal, because for every iMac Pro or Mac Pro they’ll sell, they probably book 10,000 iPhones.

So these computers truly are for professionals, and perhaps some of the technology will trickle down to the rest of us. But above all, I think they are so Apple can show the world that it can still make computers that are better than any others.

I Have an Obsolete Mac

Mid 2011 models have officially been classified as vintage or obsolete as of November 30, 2017, according to an internal memo distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.

The distinction means that Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers will no longer repair or service the 2011 Mac mini, given over five years have passed since it was last manufactured, except where required by law.

This is the first time that I have ever actively used an “obsolete” Mac. I am running a late 2011 Mac mini as a server in my home, mainly to host my Plex video library, but also for Time Machine backups for my laptop and some other, minor services.

I have generally sold my Macs after about 18-24 months, so I could get good resale value, and could keep up with the latest technologies. This has changed in recent years, in part because there really is no need to upgrade any more. My 2014 iMac – now two months out of Apple Care – is more than fast enough for my needs, and, while I’m a bit antsy about my main Mac not being covered by support and warranty, it’s running fine, and will do for a couple more years. (Though shortly after I bought it, there was an issue, and the LCD panel was replaced.)

The Mac mini is the computer I used for a while, together with a Thunderbolt display, before I bought a Mac Pro (2014). I sold that when the 5K iMac was released, because I wanted a retina display on the desktop. I could have sold the Mac mini back then, but I decided to recycle it as a server. (In part because I had tricked it out when I bought it, getting the fastest processor, an SSD, and a second internal hard drive.) About that time, I was starting to adopt Plex for my videos, and, while I could run Plex on my iMac, that would entail leaving it on all the time. I’d rather use a lower-power Mac mini as an always-on computer.

As MacRumors points out in their article, it has been more than 1,100 days since the Mac mini was updated. Even though Tim Cook made some comments about how the Mac mini is an important product in Apple’s lineup (no, it’s not), it’s hard to imagine the company doing anything to improve this Mac. This said, it’s an embarrassment that they’re still selling the current model – released late 2014 – at specs and prices that are three years old. Though the Mac Pro is an embarrassment as well.

It’s stunning that Apple has no shame, and continues to sell computers that are out of date and overpriced, alongside the current models of iMacs and laptops. I doubt they sell very many, and compared to the up-to-date product line, these old computers just look bad.