Transfer files between Macs: 1/ File Sharing — The basic way to share files between Macs is to use File Sharing. To use this feature, you must activate it in the Sharing pane of System Preferences.
If you want to only share specific folders, or allow certain users to access them, add folders to the Shared Folders list, and then select a folder and add users in the Users list. If not, any user with an account can access your files.
To access another Mac’s files in the Finder, choose Go > Network, double-click one of the computers or devices that displays, and enter your username and password. You can then browse that Mac’s folders and files, and drag files to and from that computer.
2/ AirDrop — In the Finder, choose Go>AirDrop on both Macs; the one you want to send files to, and the one you’re sending from. Drag a file onto the icon of the computer you want to send a file to. Unfortunately, AirDrop isn’t always reliable, and it does need to be active on both Macs, so you can’t easily copy files to a server or other computer, but it can be easier that messing with File Sharing if you only need to send files occasionally. [It’s great when it does work.]
3/ Email — If you have one or more small files you need to send to another Mac, you can send them as attachments to an email message. Just create a new message and address it to yourself, and then add the files. When you get to your other Mac, open your email client and download the message and its files.
This is a good way to send files to a Mac that’s not currently running.
4/ iCloud Drive — Apple’s iCloud Drive is mostly designed for apps to store files, but you can add files to it as well, which you can later access from another Mac. Choose Go > iCloud Drive in the Finder, and you’ll see a number of folders. Just add a file to the top level of the iCloud Drive hierarchy or create your own folder, and you’ll be able to access the file on your other Mac. This works best for small files, as well as files you may want to access on iOS devices.
4/ Dropbox — If you use Dropbox (free, but you can pay to add more storage to the default 2GB) to store some of your files in the cloud, it seems obvious that you can easily transfer files from one Mac to another by placing them in your Dropbox folder. But you may think that, when you need to transfer large files, such as videos or large software installers, it isn’t practical to put them in the cloud and then download them.
Dropbox has a feature called LAN Sync that allows Dropbox to sync them across your network to other devices. It still uploads them, but if you have a bunch of files to transfer from different folders, just drop them all in a Dropbox folder, and let them sync to the other devices. When you’ve got the files on the second Mac, move them out of your Dropbox folder, so they don’t stay in the cloud. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t always reliable, so it may not work for you. Dropbox also lets you send files between Macs and PCs and other devices, which can be super-useful. [These came from Macworld, which adds a few more suggestions.)
Transfer between Macs and iPads/iPhones/iPod touch: 1/ AirDrop
airdrop — AirDrop is Apple’s technology for sharing files across devices. You can use it to transfer files from one Mac to another, but also use it to transfer files from a Mac to an iOS device, or from one iOS device to another. On your Mac, choose Go>AirDrop in the Finder (or click it, if it’s visible, in folder sidebars), and then, on your iOS device, make sure AirDrop is activated in the Control Center (swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access this setting). You can choose to allow transfers from Contacts Only or from Everyone; it’s safer, of course, to choose the former.
Your iOS device needs to be awake for AirDrop to be active. On the Mac, drag a file onto the icon for your iOS device in the AirDrop window. On your iOS device, you’ll see a menu offering to open the file; this menu lists the apps that can open the file type.
For some types of files, AirDrop isn’t very helpful. For example, if you try to send an AAC audio file from a Mac to an iPhone, the latter offers to open it with apps such as Voice Memos, Evernote, Dropbox, etc but not with the iOS Music app, or other music player apps.
2/ Email — Using email is a good way to send small files to an iOS device. Just create a new email addressed to yourself and add the file(s) as attachment(s) to the message. Tap the attachment in the message to download and then open the file. Depending on the file type, you may or may not be able to open files on your device. Naturally, you’ll want to do this when you’re on a Wi-Fi network to avoid potentially using a lot of cellular data if you’re sending large files.
3/ Dropbox or other cloud services — If you have the (free) Dropbox app on your iOS device (or apps for other cloud services, such as Google Drive, Box, etc) you can add files to your cloud and then access them on your iOS device. As with email, you’re limited as to which types of files you can open. If there are specific files you need to access on your iOS device, you may need to find apps that can read them. For example, if you need to read Excel spreadsheets, you’ll need either Microsoft Excel for iOS, Apple’s Numbers, or another app that can view (and perhaps edit) these files.
4/ iCloud Drive — Apple’s own iCloud Drive is a bit different from the other cloud services. It stores files that you’ve opened with specific apps in dedicated folders. You can add a file to iCloud Drive and create your own folders, or just copy files to the top level of iCloud Drive. To do this on your Mac, choose Go>iCloud Drive in the Finder (or click it in the sidebar of folders if it’s there), then add the files to the location you desire. If you’re adding a file that you can open in a specific app that already has a named folder, you can add it directly to that folder. On iOS, either open the app that can view the file, or open the iCloud Drive app, tap the file, and then tap the Share button to see your options for opening the file.
5/ iTunes File Sharing — Some iOS apps can use iTunes File Sharing, a way of adding and managing files in iTunes so these apps can access them. It’s clunky and has largely been superseded by AirDrop, but it still works.
To use iTunes File Sharing, connect your iOS device to your Mac, select it in iTunes, and then click Apps in the sidebar. When you click Sync at the bottom of the window, iTunes will copy that file (as well as copy any other items selected to sync, such as music, apps, etc.). You can also delete files by selecting them in the File Sharing dialog and pressing the Delete key.
With some apps, you have to click + or Import, and choose to import the file(s) from iTunes. This is the case even if the files have been copied to your iOS device. Other apps may show the files immediately.
Lock down your Mac, iPhone, and online accounts if you expect trouble ahead: 1/ Tune up — Mac and iOS users can be a bit smug about the security of their devices – often, that’s justifiable. But because of Apple’s architecture, there’s little to nothing you can do in iOS, and little to nothing that’s useful in OS X.
So don’t open email you don’t recognise, and if you do, certainly don’t click any links or open any attachments.
Don’t click links on dubious-looking websites.
Don’t accept messages in iOS or OS X to install custom profiles when you haven’t sought them out.
2/ Monitor Macs — In OS X you can install software that monitors what is talking to your computer and what service your computer is accessing. There’s the Internet Security X8 package from Intego and Objective Development’s Little Snitch, for example.
[I don’t personally use these myself on the premise that if there’s real malware for Mac, it will been the news and it would be such a surprising event, and then I’d act accordingly, meaning I avoid the intrusion and system performance hit in the meantime.]
Little Snitch lets you know which apps are trying to access the Internet and why. This can be useful when you’re on networks you don’t know and trust (ie when you’re travelling), so you can see the kinds of behavior originating from the network around you — and potentially alert a café owner or a store manager if you see someone engaged in malicious activity.
3/ VPN — Using a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you’re outside your comfort zone — which can include some kinds of activities on your home network — effectively locks down your internet traffic to anyone who can intercept data over a local Wi-Fi or ethernet network and at points between that and the other end of the VPN connection in a data center somewhere. None of this assures that people can’t break in, but it reduces points of weakness, and that’s always good. [I found VPN Unlimited and bought a several-year subscription when it was offered at a discount.]
4/ Lock down — Everywhere you can, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) or token-based logins. Most cloud-based and social-networking services now offer some variant of it. Apple’s 2FA, upgraded last year, relies on sending information to iOS or OS X devices registered to the same Apple ID, and using SMS or voice as a fallback. A second factor prevents someone who obtains or guesses your password from using that from anywhere in the world to log into your account. If your services offers login alerts, which warn you whenever a new device is added or a login occurs, enable that too.
Check all social networking, email, financial, and other services you use beyond 2FA to examine privacy options. Some networks will let people who have some information about you find out more (‘social mining’), or look you up by email address even if there’s no public listing that associates you. They may be able to let a friend of a friend to obtain your phone number or physical address; you might consider wiping that data or further restricting it. Even Facebook now supports two-factor authentication.
Glenn Fleishman also recommends changing your passwords comprehensively across all services you use. While it’s a pain, if you either can’t recall the last time you swapped a password, or you use the same password at multiple sites, the time is ripe.
How to back up and restore an iPad differently — You can swap to an iCloud backup with a single flip of a switch. You can switch from an iTunes to iCloud backup at any time. If you have only the free 5GB iCloud service, you may have to bump up to a paid tier to have enough storage, however. The iCloud backup doesn’t count any Apple-purchased or Apple-cloud-stored data as part of the backup size, but it can still easily exceed 5GB. Go to Settings>iCloud>Backup, and flip the iCloud Backup switch to on. Backups occur automatically when an iOS device is on Wi-Fi and plugged in, but you can also tap Back Up Now from that setting screen to force an immediate backup.
There’s some risk that if you have content stored uniquely on your iPad that you’re not sure you have anywhere else that you won’t be able to recover it. That seems unlikely these days, given that most apps let you sync data through iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other services, or are working off a copy stored elsewhere.
One place iTunes shines over iCloud backups is that any app downloaded via iTunes gets restored locally instead of having to come down again from the cloud. [There’s considerably more detail on all this at Macworld.]
How to switch apps on an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus without touching the home button — Press and swipe from the left edge of the screen to switch to the next app (this only works on the Force Touch enabled iPhone 6s and 6s Plus).
Pair a Siri Remote with a 4G Apple TV — Sometimes a Siri Remote stops working. You’re sure it has a good battery charge, but it may have become unpaired with the 4G Apple TV. Place the Siri Remote within 75 mm of the Apple TV and point it at the Apple TV.
Hold down the MENU and VOLUME UP buttons together for 5 seconds. (These buttons are placed diagonally from each other, so you might need two hands.)
Quickly look at the top righthand side of your TV screen. If all went well, you’ll see a message ‘Remote Connected’; this message disappears after a few seconds.
New in iOS 9.3: 1/ Night Shift — The new iOS release, 9.3, introduces Night Shift, a new setting that warms up the display colours on your iPhone or iPad so that the blue light element of the display doesn’t keep you awake at night. Even though the actual science behind this is not yet conclusive, it’s a more pleasant way to use your phone right before bed. Open settings, tap Display & Brightness and enable it; the setting can choose the sunrise and sunset times as they change with the seasons or set your own schedule.
2/ Lock notes — You now have the ability to add a password lock in the Notes app. Once you set a password for Notes, don’t forget to click on the actual lock icon to keep your most precious (or embarrassing) ramblings private.
3/ Stills from Live Photo — In iOS 9.3, now you can extract the still image from any Live Photo. In the Photos app, simply pull up the Share sheet, and you will now get the option to duplicate the Live Photo or just the still image.
How to force restart an Apple Watch — If you ever find your Apple Watch unresponsive, press and hold the side button and the digital crown until it restarts.
Launchpad on Mac — Launchpad is a slightly neglected OS X feature that shows a visual, iPad-like display of available applications on your Mac. I don’t use it, myself., If you do, some improvements were made to the interface, then it stalled …
With Launchpad active (it’s an app in your Applications folder, if you can’t see it in your Dock), you can just start typing — you don’t need to move the cursor into the search field — and the app shows matching items, which you can mouse or arrow through to select and run. [Note this also works in the Applications – and any – folder. Know a folder or app starts with ‘w’? Type ‘w’.]
OK, that’s over 20 tips, to make up for my neglect of you all while travelling. Sorry!