essential iOS and macOS tips and tricks to optimize your family’s devices
The United States is celebrating Thanksgiving today, and many Americans are preparing for family gatherings, watching football games, enjoying the holidays and looking for deals as Christmas shopping approaches. If you’re the “techie” in the family, chances are someone will ask you for help with their iPhone or Mac. Here are some tips to make them work better!
Get the latest version of iOS and macOS
If someone in your family is using iOS 13 or an older version of macOS, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to upgrade. They’ll get all the latest features of iOS 16 and watchOS 9, and can stay up-to-date for longer with automatic updates.
Apple’s fall operating system updates have all been around long enough that you can feel safe updating them. Note that the current versions are the most secure out there, so it’s a great idea to keep your family up to date with these patches and fixes.
Make sure to back up your system before updating to macOS Ventura – more on that later. If you’re going to do just one thing for Thanksgiving tech support, check for updates (rather than peel potatoes).
Confirm that iCloud is set up
If you’re going to view a family member’s devices, make sure they’re signed in with their iCloud account before doing anything else. It may sound crazy, but I saw it with my own eyes: in 2022, someone could use iCloud from iOS.
To check if your family members are signed in to iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud. While you’re at this section, scroll down and make sure they’ve completed a backup recently – if not, run a manual backup immediately so it’s done before the iOS update.
After confirming that iCloud Photos is enabled, go back to the main screen and check if they have enough space in their iCloud account. If you back up your photo library to iCloud, losing your device won’t be any worse than forgetting where you put your charger.
On macOS, you may want to enable iCloud (Apple logo > System Preferences > iCloud). Then open the Photos app to sync properly.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can enable iCloud Photo Sharing.
Time Machine and cloud backups
Even if your family doesn’t have an external hard drive with them, you should encourage them to back up their Macs regularly. Amazon offers a range of affordable external drives that are easy to use with Time Machine.
If they don’t have the drivers, you should ask them to order one and install it by Christmas. You can check if Time Machine is running by going to System Preferences > Time Machine.
If they don’t have a Time Machine backup and want one, you can recommend a service like Backblaze. It costs only $70 per year. I have a few colleagues who don’t want to have to remember to connect an external drive to do backups, so they just choose Backblaze. Backblaze will automatically back up all the files on your Mac or PC. Off-site backups are especially important in case of fire, flood or theft; After installation, nothing else.
Check out Chrome Extensions
Chrome is a popular browser among Mac users thanks to its easy synchronization with computers and a robust extension ecosystem. I’ve come across cases where PC owners have installed bloatware, and fortunately, these add-ons are relatively easy to remove.
Go to Window > Extensions. Look for and remove anything abnormal (PDF converters, etc.). Also check its default home page (DuckDuckGo is the safest option). If your loved ones are complaining about constant pop-ups when trying to browse the web, it’s probably due to an extension that installed its own search engine. Be sure to include this tech support in your Thanksgiving dinner!
General cleaning of macOS
Although macOS is very secure, you can still get malware by clicking on a random pop-up ad asking you to download a new flash player. My favorite malware removal tool is Malwarebytes or CleanMyMac X. Malwarebytes is a free download. , and there are paid options for automatic scanning in the future. If you want to do a quick scan and remove it, you can do so for free.
If you need to perform general maintenance, delete large files to free up space, or uninstall programs, check out CleanMyMac X. This is the best macOS maintenance tool on the market. Clean up space, remove unused apps, etc. great for.
Discuss Wi-Fi upgrades
I get more and more questions about how to improve home Wi-Fi connections. Up to 60 devices can be connected to my home network at any given time—mostly HomeKit-enabled devices and accessories, but also computers, iPhones, and iPads.
I’ve been using the eero Pro 6E at home since I work from home, but for someone with less demanding needs, the regular eero 6 model would be a fantastic upgrade. Here is my full review. If your family complains about poor Wi-Fi at home for remote work, you can definitely recommend eero to them.
Thanksgiving Tech Support Recap
Time to get all your friends and family ready for the New Year by making sure their devices are backed up, updated, and free of malware. Avoid controversial topics like web apps and native apps – it’s Thanksgiving!
Photo by Jure Pivk on Unsplash
For more Apple news, watch the video below: