Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services

macOS

Information, software & troubleshooting

Help & Information | News & Tips | Troubleshooting | Software
Security | User Groups

Mac desktop and laptop computers.

macOS Versions

macOS versions have generally been released annually.

Sonoma | Ventura | Monterey

macOS Sonoma

macOS Sonoma runs on any Mac hardware released in 2018 or later, as well as the 2017 iMac Pro.

Features (PDF) | How to upgrade

Sonoma is sure to please certain types of users, including business professionals, gamers, and anyone who is security-minded. And as usual with a new Apple OS, the coolest features aren't necessarily the most useful ones, but they're certainly worth trying for the sake of pure fun.

 

Notably absent is any type of generative AI, which Microsoft recently added to Windows 11 with Windows Copilot.
PCMag

Reviews

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macOS Ventura

Works smarter. Plays harder. Goes further.

macOS Ventura includes new features and “powerful new ways to get more done.” It is available for MacBook 2017 and later.

Features (PDF) | How to upgrade

Unlike last year's macOS Monterey, Ventura doesn't confront you with a major overhaul to the interface. Instead, it improves the operating system's look, feel, and security, and it adds flexible new features like a family-shared photo library in Photos. Ventura continues Apple's push to integrate iOS and macOS.

 

The most enjoyable and productive OS there is.
PCMag

Reviews

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macOS Monterey

macOS Monterey is more of an incremental upgrade. It acknowledges the new dependence upon virtual connectedness in our lives with the focus on updates to FaceTime like watching movies together, screen sharing and grid view. Audio enhancements improve your online experience.

Monterey is an incremental upgrade to the already-polished macOS rather than a radical change. It adds plenty of security, collaboration, and convenience features.
PCMag

Apple's move to the M1 chip now includes the Mac Studio starting at $1999 (connect up to four Pro Display XDRs and one 4K TV). The M1 Ultra has truly amazing power (starting at $3999). Keep in mind that these devices are not user upgradable after purchase.

If you want power, the Apple Mac Studio with an M1 Ultra chip brings it in spades, elevating the elegant desktop PC with truly impressive processing and graphics.
PCMag

There are far more apps built with M1 processors in mind, but if your only option is an Intel-based app, you'll need to install Rosetta on your M1 Mac.

Reviews

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Help & Information

The Internet is the best source for help with your challenges other than Mac user groups.

Apple Resources

macOS Tips

Buying a Mac

High-end Mac laptops can be quite pricey, but are aimed at those that need the extreme performance in a laptop.

Cost is a big factor in Mac purchases because Macs can be so expensive.

 

Apple also tends to charge a premium for incremental features like more RAM and more storage.

 

Most Macs are also not upgradeable, so what you decide on now has to last you a long time.
ZDNET

Moving to an iPad Pro

The iPad Pro is a very powerful device (more powerful than legacy Macs). If you're considering replacing your Mac with an iPad Pro, your success will depend upon how you use your computer and the apps that are available.

Switching to a Mac?

Your Mac can do everything your Windows system does — and more.
Apple

The Mac provides a stable platform for those that dislike the direction Microsoft has taken with Windows 11 or if your current computer won't upgrade to the a current version of Windows.

If your current Windows software is important, you can run Windows on a Mac using Boot Camp or by installing a virtual suite like Parallels.

Many think of Macs as expensive compared to Windows computers.

[T]here's a simple reason to buy a MacBook. They last twice as long.
ZDNET

Not only do macOS devices last longer, but the integration with iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad make it even more attractive if you run those devices.

The switch from Windows to OS X has really paid off for me from a reliability standpoint. Sure, the Mac ecosystem is far from perfect, and there are still plenty of annoyances to contend with, but I'm wasting a lot less time hand-holding systems these days.
ZDNET

Transitioning Resources

Apple has the following transitioning support:

More from other sources:

Amazon has several books about switching from a PC to a Mac.

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News & Tips

These news sources will keep you informed about what is new and upcoming regarding the Mac.

Looking for tips on how to do something or to work more efficiently?

Try searching for hints and how-to tips or see if you can't get help from an online forum.

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Troubleshooting

Macs are very reliable, but sometimes things go wrong.

Unresponsive Programs

Apple has a Force Quit option for programs that don't respond to a normal shutdown request. This should be your last resort option.

Hardware

Storage Options

Traditionally, the only option for a hard drive was a spinning magnetic platter. Today, SSDs and fusion drives are both used on Macs but you need to be aware of the risks and benefits of each choice.

Backing Up Your Mac

If your hard drive fails, you'll lose all your data and perhaps the information necessary to recover your computer. Backing up your Mac stores that information so that you can recover.

You might want to read a bit about backups to fully understand the main concepts and risks.

Acronis True Image for Mac now includes security protection. It is incompatible with other security software, so cannot be recommended if you have other security software installed.

Backing Up Your Email

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Software

Security | Graphics | Internet | LibreOffice | PDF Editors
HTML & Text Editors | Accounting | Utilities

This Mac software listing is not extensive but provides some basic apps. Try these resources:

Security Software

You need to be running security (antivirus) software on your Mac. The effectiveness of security programs varies. Not all products are as effective.

Many macOS security products adversely affect system performance. These reviews may help you decide:

I continue to use Kaspersky Total Security on my Mac (and now on my PCs).

Firewall

macOS's built-in firewall provides only inbound protection.

Photo & Graphic Design

Affinity products are extremely powerful and very reasonably priced with no subscription fees.

Internet Software

Web Browsers

Email

Free
Paid
Reviews

FTP

Learn more….

Accounting Software

Manager is free accounting software for Windows, Mac and Linux.

The Desktop edition is a full-featured accounting program for one user on desktops or laptops.

If you need multiple users to access your accounting file at the same time, you need the cloud edition (CA$79/mo).

Multimedia

LibreOffice

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is Free and Open Source Software.

I strongly recommend LibreOffice because it is better maintained and more frequently updated than OpenOffice. It provides everything most people need.

This section discusses the requirements for LibreOffice on Linux. For more general information about LibreOffice, please see the Recommended Software page.

System Requirements for macOS

LibreOffice runs on macOS 10.15 or newer.

  • For certain features of the software - but not most - Java is required. Java is notably required for Base.
  • Due to an issue, there are the following restrictions with Java: on macOS 10.10 and newer, JRE isn't found, JDK is required
  • LibreOffice 4.3 can still run on OS X 10.6+, but please understand that this support ended when 4.3 was retired on May 27, 2015.

See Oracle's Java Downloads for All Operating Systems page for information specific to macOS (10.7.3 or later).

PDF Editors

HTML & Text Editors

The macOS has a built-in editor but you might find one of these products more suitable for your requirements.

Writing

Utilities

Your Mac has utilities built in that do much of what is done by these third-party utilities, but sometimes they simplify the process.

Disk Cleanup

When deleting files, be careful to avoid system files and files related to programs as they may not run properly (or at all) if you do). Duplicate files on the system may be named the same but used for different purposes.

Zip Utilities

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Mac Security

Macs have a reputation for being more secure than Windows.

That is no longer true.

Security threats to Apple devices and computers have significantly increased.

Still think Macs can't get viruses? That outdated thinking puts you and your data at risk.

 

The platform with the higher number of virus encounters? Mac users. That's right, the same group in which only 34% claim to install antivirus software.

 

It's seriously time to rethink that position.
PCMag

Reports of malware, ransomware and viruses infecting Apple computers and devices go back many years (at least 2015).

A new side-channel attack called "GoFetch" impacts Apple M1, M2, and M3 processors and can be used to steal secret cryptographic keys from data in the CPU's cache.

 

The attack targets constant-time cryptographic implementations using data memory-dependent prefetchers (DMPs) found in modern Apple CPUs. This allows it to recreate the private cryptographic keys for various algorithms, including OpenSSL Diffie-Hellman, Go RSA, CRYSTALS Kyber, and Dilithium from the CPU's cache.

 

GoFetch was developed by a team of seven researchers from various universities in the U.S., who reported their findings to Apple on December 5, 2023.

 

However, as this is a hardware-based vulnerability, there is no way to fix it in impacted CPUs. While it would be possible to mitigate the flaws using software fixes, this would cause a performance hit on these CPUs' cryptographic functions.
Bleeping Computer

Install Security Software

I strongly recommended that you install security protection onto your Mac.

You'll find a listing of Mac security software in the software section.

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Mac Security Notices

Learn about both Apple security and trending security news:

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User Groups

Macintosh user groups provide a place to interact with other Mac users, to ask questions and socialize. There are often special interest groups (SIGs) that meet regularly to discuss specific topics.

Related Resources

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Updated: April 2, 2024