to commonly asked questions.

Which laptop? Buying advice

I am going to purchase a new laptop and give my oldest daughter my MacBook Air (I have the 13 inch 16 GB 2020). I would like a bigger screen and am looking at the 14 and 16 inch MacBook Pros. Do you have thoughts on which one is a better computer? Do you recommend purchasing it directly from Apple? I do not travel much with mine; I most often use it sitting at my desk. I mostly use it for emails, Slack communications with my work group, photos and videos, zoom calls. I am planning to purchase it in the next few weeks and would then like to set up an appointment with you to transfer everything to my new computer and clear out this current one to give to my daughter when she comes to visit in early August. I’d love your thoughts,


Between the 14 and 16, both are equal in terms of speed. Apple didn’t limit the 14” in power this time around so either would be a great choice. Just be sure you purchase the appropriate amount of hard drive space on your new computer. So many people buy too small a drive and can’t fit all their old data onto it. In general a 1TB is usually a good bet. But to see exactly how much space you’re taking up on your current computer, go to the apple in the left corner, choose “about this Mac” then select storage. It will tell you how big your current drive is along with how much data you are using.

One thing to consider is possibly purchasing a second monitor down the road. It doesn’t have to be an apple monitor! Just any nice monitor will connect to your laptop and give you double the screen space. Then when you want to travel, just unplug it and take it with you. We can discuss the pro’s of that some time.

What does this message mean?

I ordered the hard drive you recommended and got the cord fixed. This morning when trying to backup computer this is the message that appeared. I have no idea what this means. The back up isn’t starting.



Every hard drive comes with its own (crappy) software. I usually erase the drive before using it with time machine. However, time machine will do this for you. Open system preferences, go to the time machine pane, then choose select backup. Once you select your new drive (as long as it’s plugged in) it will reformat it for you, therefore removing all the garbage software that came with it.

How do I scan?

Ho do I scan?

It's better to use the built in software that comes on the Mac rather than trying to use the scanning feature directly from the computer.

1. Search your computer for "Image Capture". It comes on every Mac and you can find it in the applications folder. You can also use the spotlight search tool (the magnifying glass in the top left corner of your screen) to search for it.

2. After you've opened Image Capture, select the scanner you'd like to use on the left column.

3. If you see a button in the lower part of the window that says "Show details", click it to see more options on the right. If you now see a button that says "Hide details", you're on the right track.

4. Using the options on the right, you can make choices like whether to scan from the feeder or the glass, what quality you want the scan to be, where you want it to go, what you want to name it, etc…

5. Hit scan.

If you are just trying to make a copy of a document then use the printer itself. But for Scanning, it's best to just use Image Capture from your computer.

Graphics card not switching on Macbook Pro

Why is Photoshop telling me I don't have enough video ram on my 2015 MacBook Pro?

Here’s what I think is going on…

Your computer has 2 graphics cards like all MacBook pros of that era. The reason for two graphics cards was for your computer to be able to save battery life while on the go by using a less powerful one, then when plugged in, your computer could switch to the better one.

In Catalina (your current OS) this setting to enable graphics card switching was found in Energy Saver settings in system preferences. After Catalina…Big Sur and now Monterey, this setting has moved to “Battery”.

I’ve asked the computer to prefer only the more powerful card since you are plugged in most of the time but it’s not making the switch as it should. (usually requires a log out or restart to take effect.)

Therefore when you open Photoshop, it’s telling you “hey, you’re using the lower power graphics card. We want the more powerful one”.

Since this is not happening in Catalina, I suggest when you’re able, update the OS to the latest version of MacOS Monterey and after the update is complete, go into System prefs and then into Battery and uncheck “automatic graphics switching”. Restart and theoretically, the problem should be corrected. More info here:

Set graphics performance on MacBook Pro - Apple Support

Catalina was never great at the auto switching of graphics cards so I have higher hopes that the later OS will resolve this. Let me know if you have any questions.

Should I move to google's offerings for my business?

Should I move my business over to Google's webmail and google docs as opposed to Word and Apple Mail or Outlook?

That’s a pretty big step. It really comes down to how forward thinking you want to be. Google docs seems to be the future. Most of your generation is already there. My generation is screaming and crying to into it.


Much easier collaboration
Avaialble on any platform.
Can work offline anywhere since no internet connection is required for word.
Easy to move from computer to computer. You’re not tied to any specific device ever.


Not as robust. You’re not going to be working on a massively detailed annotated bibliography within google docs.
Probably less secure since it lives 100% on the web.
Need to be connected to the internet
Organization of documents is clumsy.
Keep in mind, you'd most likely be moving your calendar and contacts into Google's cloud as well.

Exact same problem as others!

Hi Scotty, for some reason I am getting this message on every e-mail attachment I try to open in the Greg House folder (these are 2022 e-mails).   I’ve never seen this before.  Help!


I've had 2 other people this week with the EXACT same issue. I have reported the issue to Apple. This is the Operating System's fault. Nothing you or I have done. They've released an update to their operating system that has caused this. You can see the other answers below this one as well.

Attachments don't have permission to open in Mail

Preview unable to open PDF attachments directly from Mail.

I just ran into this EXACT issue again today. It looks like specifically Preview is being denied permission to access files of certain types. This appears to be Apple’s fault. The “fixes” I’ve tried so far only temporarily solve the issue but something I didn’t mention the other day is to try the following:

Open System Preferences:
Security & Privacy
Select Privacy in the menu
(Click the lock in the bottom left to unlock)
Select Full disk Access from the list on the left.
Click the plus sign to add Preview to that list.
Check the box next to preview if it’s not already checked.

Screen Shot 2022-06-02 at 10.53.21 PM
That may resolve it. I’ve reported the issue to Apple and 12.5 Monterey is releasing soon. The bad news is that I’ve seen this in both Monterey and Big Sur so I don’t have high hopes they’ll resolve this soon. There are other things we can throw at it but it’s definitely an annoying issue.

Temporary solution looks like dragging the attachment to the desktop and opening from there.

Mail permissions on attachments

Mail and Word are saying I don't have permission to open items but then will allow after a force quit.

The two things these applications have in common is that they both store items in your home folder. Mail attachments are buried in an invisible folder and word documents are usually sitting in the documents folder or desktop. A good experiment would be to drag the attachment out of mail first and onto the desktop. If it will then open directly from the desktop, that clue will point to permissions issues specifically within the mail attachment folder (hidden in the user's library folder). If it still won't open from the desktop then the permissions issue is larger ranging.

To understand permissions you should think of the computer as divided by two parts. One part, the computer owns, the other part, you own. In other words, stuff that came with the computer like Safari, Address Book, the operating system, Fonts, etc… those belong to the computer and you don't have the rights (permissions) to alter those files.

Other files like songs, pictures, emails, documents, etc… those belong to you and you can do anything you want with them. Open, close, throw them away, move them, rename them. Sometimes the permissions of an area (a folder) get confused and the computer thinks that it owns something it doesn't. This is what is happening in your example. To solve this, one should "repair permissions". This can be done a couple different ways.

1. You could boot into recovery mode and repair the disk from the disk utility.
2. You could open disk utility as normal and repair the disk from there.
3. You could find the specific folder and repair permissions to that folder.

For example. If you needed to repair permissions to the desktop, you'd open the home folder, select the desktop folder, get info:

Make sure your user has permission to read and write then select "apply to enclosed items".

This essentially tells the computer that you own the contents of that folder and you have the right to do whatever you want with them.

The first test of dragging the attachment from Mail onto the desktop goes a long way in telling where the permissions issue lies. If you have no problem opening the attachments consistantly from the desktop then the permissions should be repaired from the mail attachments folder.

~/Library/Containers/ Get info on that and repair as described earlier. To find the hidden library folder you can select GO in the menu bar from the finder and hold down the option key. The hidden library folder will then appear in the list.

If the permissions issue is broader then you could select the entire home folder, Get info, and apply to enclosed items on the entire home folder. This would take a while as your home folder is usually pretty big.

Messages is crashing after a few minutes on the Mac.

Messages crashing after short period of time:

Plan A: remove cache files and attachments assoc. with messages found in the ~/Library.

Plan B: sign out of messages, restart, sign back in.

Plan C would be to turn off and delete your message history entirely but that’s a pretty big step considering that will nuke your messaging history. So we might want to preserve your messages through other means before doing that. Apple doesn’t have a great way of archiving text messges but there are other third party programs that all that. If you don’t care about your message history then you can to to your iCloud settings in system preferences, select “manage storage” then select message. “Turn off and delete”. Don’t do this until we’ve discussed it however.

Screen Shot 2022-05-17 at 10.56.39 PM

Running out of application memory.

Why am I seeing this message on my computer?

Screen Shot 2022-05-10 at 7.31.09 PM

That means the applications, which borrow ram as they run, are out of ram. Usually when a program quits, it hands its’ ram back over to the computer for a new program to use it. Sometimes that process gets hung up and a computer can think it’s out of ram aka: memory. Restarting should take care of it. If not, I would want to investigate further. I can resolve it if needed. Do a restart and let me know if you see that message again.

Do you like LastPass?

Do you like LastPass?

Really the question is would I recommend a password management system? At the moment, my answer is no. Here's why.

1. It's yet another subscription.
2. It allows you to be lazy with a very important aspect of your life. It's sort of like paying someone to pay your bills for you. You'll never really have a clear picture as to what's really going on with your account.
3. You are potentially turning password creation over to an application that will indeed make very secure passwords for your accounts. However, you are always married to that application. It will need to live on every single device, and if you ever just need a password on the fly, even when you do find it via the app it may be so complicated that you'll lose your mind typing it in.

Alternative: I prefer using a 5 column spreadsheet that I can also password protect if I like. I want to make sure I share that password with a very close trusted loved one because I may forget it. I'm going to put in in a cloud location like Dropbox or iCloud Drive. I'm going to think of my passwords as phrases. Never a word in the dictionary followed by some numbers and a special character.

Bad passwords:


Good passwords:


In regard to the 5 columns I mentioned previously.


Column 1: Account. Duke Energy
Column 2: username scottysells
Column 3: password pumpkinsarebestwhen30%ripe
Column 4: notes account number is 34835929
Column 5: when last verified or changed June 20, 2019

Microsoft Office update alert

Hey this has been popping up on my computer.


That message you’re seeing is a legit message from Microsoft asking you to update Office. Hitting OK should trigger the update tool. After running the update, the message should go away. In some instances, I’ve seen the need for Office to be needed to be reinstalled. If the message persists, you can log in to and download the office installer again. But hopefully just clicking OK and running the updater should take care of the problem.

Did I just expose my data?

Scotty - afternoon. I was expecting a package delivery today and was in a mtg and I opened a text with a link to an Arabic language site. Is there anything I need to do? I quickly shut off the phone and rebooted.



I think you’re most likely fine. Usually, just clicking the link will not cause you harm. It’s more about the NEXT steps you take like being tricked into entering personal information within that particular website. I suspect you’re ok.

what is archived email?

I can't find my archived email. Where is it?

1. You may not have “archiving” enabled.

Go to first and login to that account on the web. Then go to settings. Under settings I believe it’s under forwarding and IMAP. You might find a checkbox to archive.

2. You could possibly have archive turned on but not showing in your IMAP settings.

Again, at you can check which folders you’d like to show in your email client. For example, you can hide “important” or “sent” from being seen in your mail client.

Also not a bad idea that if you’re using Outlook, to set up your mail account in apple’s mail program also. No harm in having it in both. If the archive feature is turned on, it will list on the left side of that screen.

. Ok, so if you have archiving enabled on an email account it would appear on the left column as seen here:

Screen Shot 2022-02-08 at 7.10.34 AM

Notice that each email account has it’s own archive folder. In the example above, aol, iCloud, then my business account.
If you don’t see that and it’s a gmail account, go to settings and check this setting:

Screen Shot 2022-02-08 at 7.14.11 AM

You’ll need to make sure you are pointing archive mail to be stored in the archive mailbox. If “archive” is not a choice in that dropdown then we will have to head back to to make some adjustments.

Enabling Javascript on Safari

I can’t get my Safari to work, I can’t seem to login into several websites, however I don’t have a issue on Google Chrome. Safari on one website also mentioned I needed javaScript…might the be the issue?

First you'd want to force quit Safari to see if that solves the issue. The next thing to check is your Safari preferences under security. You can check the javascript option and try using Safari again.

How do I eject my time machine drive?

Scotty…..I have this box in upper corner of my deck top computer screen. ( Eject” Seagate Portable Drive” before disconnecting or turning off) Don’t I always keep the hard drive connected to my desk too? If I need to turn off my computer and then turn it back on for any reason, do I unplug the hard drive, then once computer is up and running again reconnect it? What happens of the electricity fails and the hard drive is connected…I would think it would be OK?

Also I am traveling/flying in a couple of days….do I need to keep the hard drive connected to the lap top at all times?

You don't need to keep your time machine backup drive connected ALL the time. Really just at least every few days for it to have a chance to record all the things you've added to your computer within the last time.

The box in the upper corner of the screen is a message the computer is displaying that is basically saying the drive accidentally disconnected. It's no major issue. You really shouldn't even have to see that message.. The computer just prefers that you eject the drive properly. It's really no big deal if it doesn't.

The proper way to eject the drive is to either:

A: drag the hard drive icon (usually olive green) to the trash which becomes an eject icon as soon as you start dragging it or…
B: right click the external hard drive icon and choose eject.

There are other ways to eject but these are the easiest two methods.

No need to worry if the electricity goes out. The time machine software is very good and usually has no problem just picking right back up where it last left off with the backup.

How can I free up space on my iPad?

Remind me again how to free up storage space. We have done this before but I don’t have a clue. 1st generation Pro.

You can go into Settings/General/iPad Storage.

Once there, you'll see a list of all the categories taking up space on your iPad.
Often it's Podcasts, Photos, Audiobooks, Messages, etc…

Depending on what you see there, the next steps vary. You can choose to only optimize your photos library if that's taking up space,

You can choose to remove movies you may have stored locally.

You could tell your iPad to only save the last 30 days of text messages if that's the issue.

So overall, there's no one button to just recover space. It all depends on what's taking up the space in the first place.

What ad blocker do you use?

I have a new iPad and watch.
Which ad blocker would you recommend . I have sooo many robo text messages and emails

There are no ad blockers for phones, iPads, or watches. The best thing to do is put your number on the "do not call" registry. But once your number has been exposed, that doesn't solve it 100%. You'll still need to continue to block numbers constantly. The problem there is that the robot callers never use the same number twice so you're not doing much by blocking them.

Swapping out Time Machine drives

I just got an error message saying no backups for 10 days.  Stupidly didn't look to see if backup icon was on desktop.  Just unplugged drive then plugged it back up.  There are six (6) backup entries on the 14th but zero after that.  So I'm guessing I need a new external drive?  Do we need you to do anything or do I just buy one and plug it in?  Happy to schedule wit you but didn't want to clog up your calendar if not needed.

I wouldn’t necessarily think you need a new drive although at around $60 it’s never a bad idea to replace them periodically. Reconnecting the drive to your Mac should automatically innate the backup to pick back up where it left off. You can find the most recent backups in the backup.backupsdb folder.

If you do decide to buy a new one, then you’d want to sever the relationship You would go into Time Machine, remove the old disk from the list then add the new one. Not too hard.

Did I buy the right hard drive for backup?

I ordered the back up device you recommended — I Plugged it in today and here is the message I got. Did I order one that isn’t MAC compatible?


That drive is totally fine. You don’t want to use the the software that came with it. You’ll want to go into System preferences then select “Time Machine”. Then choose backup disk. It will ask you if you’d like to reformat the drive (aka: erase) Yes, you will want to do that. Then the time machine software will be the backup method.

Most drives come with a crappy backup software just like this. Time machine is way better. Let me know if you have any issues. Happy to quickly assist if needed.
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