Apple

Where does iTunes keep its iPhone backups?

Whenever an iPhone is synchronised with iTunes, iTunes makes a backup of (most of) the iPhone’s data. You can view the iTunes’ backup history by going to Preferences > Devices.

picture-7iTunes maintains some kind of history for successive backups, but I have no idea of the underlying logic. You would imagine that three or four backups would be queued and older backups retired as new ones are made. But no, that doesn’t happen. Instead iTunes seems to purge its backup history on a schedule of its own devising — I’m guessing maybe daily, but I haven’t yet bothered to try and find out.

The problem is that when something goes screwy with your iPhone or iPod Touch (like erasing your contacts during a Google Mobile Sync…) and you fire up iTunes to restore it from a backup you now to be good, you can bet that the backup will have been purged. (more…)

Custom keyboard shortcuts in Firefox for Mac OS are broken

picture-8I complained at length about keyboard shortcut inconsistencies in Mac OS X the other day — an OS that’s supposedly ultra-consistent — but it appears that the Apple isn’t wholly to blame. I singled out Firefox and NeoOffice as particular offenders (largely because as a new-ish Mac user, they’re the two apps I use the most), but I have now found an explanation for Firefox’s keyboard shortcut misbehaviour. (more…)

How to enable hibernate mode on a Mac

SmartSleep.prefPaneUnlike Windows, Mac OS doesn’t offer a hibernate or deep sleep mode – selecting Sleep from the Apple menu just puts a Mac into a low-power state (suspend to RAM) that, while quick to resume, still keeps the contents of memory in memory.

This isn’t much of a problem on a desktop Mac that’s plugged into the mains, but it is a problem for MacBooks that are being used on battery power.

A MacBook in sleep mode still draws power, which means if you close the lid (the standard way to trigger sleep mode on a MacBook) and put an unplugged MacBook aside for a few days, you may come back to a flat battery.

As it turns out, more recent MacBooks do actually enter a hybrid sleep mode when you close the lid. Apple calls it Safe Sleep (much like that used in Windows Vista) and the contents of memory are written to disk before the MacBook enters its low-power sleep state. This is an insurance policy for those times when leave a MacBook in sleep mode away from the mains until the battery runs flat. When you power on, the MacBook will still resume to where you left it, but it will take a little longer as it’s restoring data from disk rather than RAM.

So, if Mac OS already has a hibernate mode, why can’t it be activated manually? Well, it can… (more…)

How to sync multiple iPhone calendars with Google

If you’ve recently set-up Google Mobile Sync to synchronise your Calendar and Contacts with your iPhone over-the-air, you may have noticed that only one Google Calendar is being synced. It is possible to set-up Google Mobile Sync to sync up to five calendars, though (the maximum the iPhone supports) – you just need to make a configuration change.

Google Mobile Sync can synchronise both personal and public/shared calendars – here’s how to do it. (more…)

Backup your iPhone contacts to Google with iTunes

If you want to use Google Mobile Sync to keep your iPhone synchronised with your Google Calendar and Contacts, you’ll have to backup any existing contacts on your iPhone first, otherwise Google Sync will delete them.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this and you can use iTunes to upload your contacts to your Google Contacts list. You can then set up Google Mobile Sync and sync those same contacts (along with any others) back to your iPhone. Here’s how. (more…)

How to display a Mac OS character map

mac-characters-paletteTyping a character that doesn’t have its own key on the keyboard is easy in Windows – you can just use the Windows Character Map tool. Mac OS doesn’t have a similar tool – or rather, it doesn’t have one that’s so easily accessible. There are a few options for quickly inserting symbols like ®, π and © into a document, though.

The easiest is to display the Mac OS Characters palette – just press [Command] + [Option] + [T], or [⌘] + [⌥] + [T]. You can then browse through various symbols and special characters, and simply double-click any one to insert it into your current document. (more…)

How to hide the Genre column in iTunes 8 for Windows and Mac OS

itunes-8-disable-genreiTunes 7 has a Preferences option to turn of the Genre column in the main window, iTunes 8 does not. This is very frustrating. I’m not in the least bit interested in seeing what genres are in my music library, and the Genre pane takes space away from the far more useful Artists and Albums pane.

So, here’s how to disable the iTunes Genre column, the hard way, for both Mac OS X and Windows. (more…)

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