Use 1Password to Enter Your Mac Login Password

We think of 1Password as being helpful for entering passwords on websites and in iPhone and iPad apps. But its Universal Autofill feature has a hidden capability that lets 1Password enter your Mac login password when you have to provide it to change certain system settings, install apps, format drives in Disk Utility, and more. (But it won’t work to log in at startup before 1Password is running.) To turn this feature on, click the New Item button in 1Password, search for and select “Mac login” , give it a name that will sort alphabetically to the top, like “2020 27-inch iMac” , enter your password, and click Save . From then on, whenever you’re prompted for your Mac login password , press Command- (Backslash, located above the Return key), and then click the desired login or press Return to select the topmost item .

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/ipuwadol)


Social Media: 1Password is tremendously helpful for entering website passwords, but a little-known feature also enables it to enter your Mac login password for changing system settings, installing apps, and more.

Use the Command Key to Rearrange and Remove Menu Bar Icons

Is your Mac’s menu bar overwhelmed with icons? They’re helpful little critters, but finding one can be difficult when you have too many and they’re in no particular order. The hidden trick to cleaning up your menu bar relies on the Command key.

  • Rearrange the menu bar icons in an order that makes sense to you by Command-dragging them around. You can’t move the Control Center icon or put anything to its right, but every other icon is movable.
  • Delete unnecessary Apple-provided status icons by holding down Command and dragging them off the menu bar. (To put one back, select the “Show icon-name status in menu bar” checkbox in its System Settings screen.) You can’t remove the clock, Control Center, or the Siri icon this way, though you can turn off Siri in System Settings > Siri & Spotlight. Command-dragging to delete doesn’t work for non-Apple apps; instead, look for a preference in the app itself.

(Featured image by iStock.com/Valentyna Yeltsova)


Social Media: If your Mac’s menu bar is a mess, you can use the Command key to rearrange the icons and remove those you never use.

Send Photos in Messages Faster with This Hidden Shortcut

On the iPhone and iPad, to send a photo to a Messages chat, tap the ⊕ button and then tap Photos in the list that appears to reveal the photo picker. That’s not difficult, but it requires an extra step you can avoid with this tip. If you’re running iOS 17 or iPadOS 17, instead of tapping the ⊕ button, touch and hold it for a second to bring up the photo picker immediately.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/oatawa)


Social Media: It’s not hard to add a photo to a conversation in Messages, but with this tip, it’s even faster and easier!

The Importance of Staying Updated

Does it feel like your Apple devices are always asking you to install operating system updates? You’re not wrong—from September 2022 to January 2024, we saw the following releases in Apple’s previous set of operating systems:

  • macOS 13 Ventura: 20 releases
  • iOS 16: 25 releases
  • iPadOS 16: 20 releases
  • watchOS 9: 15 releases
  • tvOS 16: 12 releases

Apple issued many of those at the same time, but since you might not use all your devices every day, it can seem as though you spend all your time installing updates. As annoying as updating can be, we encourage you to do so soon after you’re notified for three reasons.

Reason One: Fewer Bugs

First, as has always been the case, updates fix bugs. You may not have experienced all the bugs that Apple fixes, but when one blocks something you want to do, the fix comes as a huge relief.

For instance, in a set of releases in January 2024, Apple inadvertently introduced a bug that caused text in many apps, including Mail, Notes, and Safari, to appear to be duplicated and overlap. It was only cosmetic, and switching to another window or resizing the window would make it look right again. But the bug was hugely disconcerting, so Apple fixed it two weeks later in macOS 14.3.1 Sonoma, iOS 17.3.1, iPadOS 17.3.1, and Safari 17.3.1 (which brought the fix to macOS 13 Ventura and macOS 12 Monterey).

Reason Two: Better Security

Second, many of the bugs Apple fixes won’t impact your experience of using your device, but they make it possible for attackers to steal information, install malware, spy on your communications, or even take over your entire device. Nearly all of Apple’s operating system updates contain security fixes to address newly discovered vulnerabilities, and some releases only have security fixes. Apple continues to release security updates for the last two versions of macOS and older versions of iOS and iPadOS as appropriate.

It’s easy to think that you won’t be impacted by security vulnerabilities, but remember that as soon as Apple releases an update outlining what it has fixed, attackers know what vulnerabilities exist in unpatched systems. Apple has to react swiftly to some reported vulnerabilities because blocking them can literally be a matter of life or death when it comes to, for instance, iPhone-using dissidents, activists, or journalists working in opposition to repressive governments that employ spyware against their enemies. (All spyware relies on previously unidentified vulnerabilities.)

However, some security vulnerabilities are more likely to impact regular users. For instance, in macOS 14.2.1, Apple fixed a bug in Screen Sharing. If you were sharing your full screen with someone else and had multiple Spaces, Screen Sharing could show the other person random windows in other Spaces, which could range from embarrassing (adult pictures) to seriously problematic (passwords or financial details).

Reason Three: New Features

Third, on the positive side, many operating system releases introduce welcome new features. When Apple unveils its next set of operating systems at the Worldwide Developer Conference in June, some of the promised features won’t appear with the initial releases. New features that shipped in later releases of macOS 14 Sonoma, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10 include:

  • watchOS’s double-tap gesture for tapping the default button in many apps
  • AirDrop transfers continuing over the Internet when you move out of AirDrop range
  • Adding NameDrop to share contact info when you bring two devices near each other
  • Additional options to control when the iPhone screen shuts off in StandBy
  • The option to choose a specific album for the Lock Screen’s Photo Shuffle wallpaper
  • HomeKey support for Matter locks
  • Expanded Favorites in the Music app
  • A new automatic Favorite Songs playlist in the Music app
  • The addition of Apple’s Journal app
  • A Translate option for the Action button in the iPhone 15 Pro models
  • 10-day precipitation forecasts in the Weather app
  • Sharing of eligible passes in the Wallet app via NameDrop-like proximity
  • A catch-up arrow in Messages that lets you jump to the first unread message
  • Multiple timers in the Clock app on the Mac
  • Stolen Device Protection for the iPhone
  • Collaborative playlists in Apple Music
  • Support for streaming content to TVs in select hotel rooms using AirPlay

Just Update It

Updates provide both a carrot (user-facing bug fixes and new features) and a stick (security fixes). That’s why we recommend updating soon after Apple pushes out a new release and why devices under management usually receive updates quickly. Even if a security breach is unlikely, the liability of allowing devices to remain unpatched is too high for most organizations. Installing updates is an easy way to reduce worry about things like compromised accounts and ransomware.

There are three types of operating system releases:

  • Minor bug fix and security updates: Install these as soon as convenient, usually within a few days. Examples of these include macOS 14.3 to 14.3.1.
  • Interim feature updates: Because these include bug fixes and security updates alongside the new features, you’ll also want to install these within a few days. An example is iOS 17.2.1 to iOS 17.3.
  • Major version upgrades: Because Apple always releases security updates for the two versions of macOS before the current one, you can wait a month or three before installing a major upgrade, such as from macOS 13 to macOS 14. However, once you’ve verified that your apps and workflow are compatible with the new version, we recommend upgrading because skipping a major version of macOS often results in a more difficult upgrade experience.

In each of these cases, if you’re worried about how an update might impact your workflow, check online forums for discussions of each update and feel free to ask us what we recommend for your particular situation.

(Featured image by iStock.com/Fokusiert)


Social Media: We know it seems like your Apple devices are constantly asking you to install an update. Other than for major upgrades, we recommend updating shortly after updates appear so you can take advantage of bug fixes, security updates, and new features.

How to Avoid Head-Tracked Spatial Audio for FaceTime Audio Calls

If you listen to a FaceTime Audio call using AirPods and hear the other person’s voice moving annoyingly from side to side as you turn your head, the problem is likely head-tracked spatial audio. In general, spatial audio attempts to make sounds seem to come from all around you, and its dynamic head-tracking option adjusts the audio for each ear to simulate how the sound would change as your head moves. Dynamic head tracking may be desirable for music or movies, but with a FaceTime Audio call, having the other person flip back and forth between your ears can be highly disconcerting. To stop this behavior on an iPhone or iPad, open Control Center, touch and hold the volume control, and tap either Off or Fixed instead of Head Tracked. Spatial audio isn’t an option on Mac FaceTime calls.

(Featured image by iStock.com/1550539)


Social Media: If you’ve ever experienced a weird situation where sound on a FaceTime Audio call moves back and forth between your AirPods, it’s because of spatial audio’s dynamic head tracking. Learn how to turn it off.

Too Many Windows Open? Close Them All Quickly with These Tricks

Have you ever selected a bunch of files and accidentally opened them all by double-clicking one? Or perhaps inadvertently pressed Command-I to get info, ending up with oodles of open Info windows? Here’s a quick way to recover. You can close all the windows in any well-written app with judicious use of the Option key. Press it while clicking the File menu and Close Window becomes Close All Windows. Command-W closes one window; Command-Option-W closes all of that app’s windows. If you’re a mouse person, Option-click the red close button in any window to close all the rest.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/ANGHI)


Social Media: Next time you inadvertently open a large number of windows, you can use these Option-key tricks to close them all quickly.

After “Mother of All Breaches,” Update Passwords on Compromised Sites

January’s big security news was the Mother of All Breaches, the release of a massive database containing 26 billion records built from previous breaches across numerous websites, including Adobe, Dropbox, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It’s unclear how much of the leaked data is new, but it’s a good reminder to update your passwords for accounts on compromised sites, especially those you reused on another site. Cybernews has a leak checker that reports which breached sites include your data. More generally, password managers often have a feature that checks your passwords against the Have I Been Pwned database of breaches and helps you change compromised passwords—1Password’s is called Watchtower, shown below. You can also search Have I Been Pwned directly. Don’t panic if your email address appears in numerous breaches because some of the theoretically compromised accounts may be defunct sites, trivial sites you used once 10 years ago, or duplicate password manager entries for a site whose password you already updated.

(Featured image by iStock.com/Prae_Studio)


Social Media: Worried about the “Mother of All Breaches” that has been making the rounds in security news? We share a leak checker that can tell you if your email address was involved and recommend that you update any compromised passwords.

Annoyed by Inline Predictive Text Suggestions? Here’s How to Turn Them Off

In a slight nod to the hype surrounding generative AI, Apple added inline text prediction capabilities to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. They can be helpful, particularly on the iPhone and iPad, where it’s often much easier to tap the Space bar than to finish typing a word or sentence. But that’s less true on the Mac, where a fast typist can be slowed down or derailed by the suggestions, and some people dislike having an AI finish their thoughts. The feature is easily turned off. On the iPhone and iPad running at least iOS/iPadOS 17.2, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and switch off Show Predictions Inline. (Leave Predictive Text on to continue to get suggestions above the keyboard.) On the Mac running macOS 14.2 Sonoma or later, open System Settings > Keyboard, click Edit under the Text Input header, turn off “Show inline predictive text,” and click Done.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/Armastas)


Social Media: If you’re not a fan of the new inline text predictions on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can easily turn them off and get back to typing only the words you want to appear.

Use iOS 17.3’s Stolen Device Protection to Reduce Harm from iPhone Passcode Thefts

Last year, a series of articles by Wall Street Journal reporters Joanna Stern and Nicole Nguyen highlighted a troubling form of crime targeting iPhone users. A thief would discover the victim’s iPhone passcode, swipe the iPhone, and run. With just the passcode, the thief could quickly change the victim’s Apple ID password, lock them out of their iCloud account, and use apps and data on the iPhone to steal money, buy things, and wreak digital havoc.

In essence, Apple allowed the passcode, which could be determined by shoulder surfing, surreptitious filming, or social engineering, to be too powerful, and criminals took advantage of the vulnerability. It’s best to use Face ID or Touch ID, especially in public, but some people continue to rely solely on the passcode.

Apple has now addressed the problem for iPhone users with the new Stolen Device Protection feature in iOS 17.3. It protects critical security and financial actions by requiring biometric authentication—Face ID or Touch ID—when you’re not in a familiar location like home or work. The most critical actions also trigger an hour-long security delay before a second biometric authentication. We recommend everyone who uses Face ID and Touch ID turn on Stolen Device Protection. The feature is not available for the iPad or Mac, but neither is as likely to be used in places like the crowded bars where many iPhones have been snatched.

How Stolen Device Protection Works

The location aspect of Stolen Device Protection is key. When you’re in a “significant location,” a place your iPhone has determined you frequent, you can do everything related to security and financial details just as you have been able to in the past, including using the passcode as an alternative or fallback.

However, when you’re in an unfamiliar location, as you would likely be if you were out in public where someone might steal your iPhone, Stolen Device Protection requires biometric authentication to:

  • Use passwords or passkeys saved in Keychain
  • Use payment methods saved in Safari (autofill)
  • Turn off Lost Mode
  • Erase all content and settings
  • Apply for a new Apple Card
  • View an Apple Card virtual card number
  • Take certain Apple Cash and Savings actions in Wallet (for example, Apple Cash or Savings transfers)
  • Use your iPhone to set up a new device (for example, Quick Start)

Some actions have even more serious consequences, so for them, Stolen Device Protection requires biometric authentication, an hour security delay—shown with a countdown timer—and then a second biometric authentication. The delay reduces the chances of an attacker forcing you to authenticate with the threat of violence. You’ll need to go through the double authentication plus delay when you want to:

  • Change your Apple ID password (Apple notes this may prevent the location of your devices from appearing on iCloud.com for a while)
  • Sign out of your Apple ID
  • Update Apple ID account security settings (such as adding or removing a trusted device, Recovery Key, or Recovery Contact)
  • Add or remove Face ID or Touch ID
  • Change your iPhone passcode
  • Reset All Settings
  • Turn off Find My
  • Turn off Stolen Device Protection

There are a few caveats to keep in mind:

  • The iPhone passcode still works for purchases made with Apple Pay, so a thief could steal your passcode and iPhone and buy things.
  • Although Apple says it’s required, you can turn off Significant Locations to require the extra biometric authentication and security delay everywhere. That would eliminate the worry about a thief using Significant Locations to go to your most recent familiar spot in an attempt to sidestep the extra authentication.
  • If you plan to sell, give away, or trade in your iPhone, make sure to turn off Stolen Device Protection first. Once it’s out of your physical control, no one else will be able to reset it.

Turn On Stolen Device Protection

Before you get started, note that Apple says you must be using two-factor authentication for your Apple ID (everyone should be anyway), have a passcode set up for your iPhone (ditto), turn on Face ID or Touch ID, enable Find My, and turn on Significant Locations (Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services > Significant Locations), although this last one doesn’t actually seem to be required.

Then, go to Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode, enter your passcode, and tap Turn On Protection. (If it’s enabled, tap Turn Off Protection to remove its additional safeguards.)

Once Stolen Device Protection is on and you’re in an unfamiliar location, the actions listed above will require either biometric authentication or two biometric authentications separated by the hour-long security delay.

There is one group of people who should not turn on Stolen Device Protection: those for whom Face ID or Touch ID don’t work. Most people have no trouble with Apple’s biometric technologies, but some people have worn off their fingerprints or have other physical features that confuse Touch ID or, less commonly, Face ID.

If that’s you, stick with our general recommendation for discouraging possible iPhone thefts: Never enter your iPhone passcode in public where it could be observed.

(Featured image by iStock.com/AntonioGuillem)


Social Media: In iOS 17.3, Apple has introduced Stolen Device Protection to discourage iPhone thefts enabled by a revealed passcode. It requires additional biometric authentication, and we recommend that everyone who uses Face ID or Touch ID enable it.

Time Machine Now Offers Daily and Weekly Frequencies

Since its inception, Time Machine has backed up on an hourly schedule. It then keeps hourly backups for the previous 24 hours, daily backups for the last month, and weekly backups back to the start of the backup. Once free space on the backup drive gets low, Time Machine deletes older backups to make room for new ones, always maintaining at least one copy of every backed-up file. The traditional hourly backups are usually fine, but starting in macOS 13 Ventura, Apple lets you choose a daily or weekly schedule instead. One of those might be useful for Macs that are turned on infrequently or where very little important data changes. It also might reduce resource usage and how much data Time Machine backs up. Most people shouldn’t need to change the backup frequency, but if you’ve always wanted to, now you can.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/STILLFX)


Social Media: Has Time Machine’s hourly backup frequency been problematic for you? Starting in macOS 13 Ventura, you can instead choose a daily or weekly backup schedule.