to commonly asked questions.

Sonos not recognizing wifi and new wifi installed

My Sonos doesn’t recognize my new WiFi. Any thoughts? 


When we changed your router system and created a new wifi name we had to go around to each device in the house (your smartTVs for example) and tell them there's a new network in town and to join it.

The same thing must now be done with the Sonos. The Sonos software can do this. From the Sonos website:

Make sure you have the latest version of the Sonos app on your iOS or Android device before continuing.
  1. Open the Sonos app and wait while it searches for your Sonos system.
    • If the app shows “We can’t connect to Sonos,” tap This isn’t working.
  2. Tap More Options, then Update Wi-Fi Settings.
  3. Follow the instructions to connect Sonos to the WiFi network.
If you’ve already wired a Sonos product to your router, go to Settings > System > Network > Wireless Setup instead.

More info at:

Why did this message come up?

This came while trying to open my daughter's gmail account through my computer. And instagram too.

Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 8.01.15 PM

Well, there are details missing to give. Complete answer but I'll give it a try. The message is saying that the link or file you have used is not actually a web address. A standard web address looks similar to any of the following:

What you seem to have clicked on is "…". This is usually the name of a support file found on all Macs but users usually do not find their way to this file. It's hidden by default. I do not know how you could have clicked on it or asked safari to try to open it.

There is another explanation. I have seen a message similar to this when the user on the computer is restricted. The Mac has the ability to allow an admin user to place parental controls on a different user. Think parent user controlling a child user on the same Mac. If the child (parental controlled user on the Mac) tries to go to a restricted website, you may see this message.

So try going directly to either or by typing in the website manually then entering your daughter's username (email address) and password. If those sites still fail to load on your computer, then it's certain that you have parental controls turned on on that user.

Why is my mail not going out?

My internet connection has not been working for a few days on my desktop. I keep getting these pop up boxes. I've reset the wifi and still can't get a connection. My wifi works on my phone but not my desktop.
Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 7.42.14 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 7.42.26 PM


Your issue is most likely not wifi related. These messages are related to incoming/outgoing server settings within the mail application. There are many settings to consider here but the easiest way to deal with this issue would be to delete the email account and re add it. Even then, sometimes the old incorrect outgoing server settings will still show up when trying to send and email and the same problem can occur.

In the first pic, the .me server is an older server. It still works but you'd be better off getting the newer iCloud based server. The best way to do this is to delete the mail account and re add, as I said earlier. We could handle this issue remotely if you'd like assistance with it at some point. You can schedule a remote session online. Unfortunately, due to there being so many potential causes to this issue, there's not one tried/true one-click fix. More info would be required.

Why do I have all these photo libraries?

Can you tell me what to do with the photo libraries?
Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 7.40.42 PM


First and foremost, always have a good time machine backup before removing files just in case you change your mind later. The above picture shows info on three different photo libraries. Most of us really only need one. The iPhoto library is left over from when Macs used "iPhoto". They now use "Photos" so it is very likely that library could be thrown out. It would no longer be relevant. That leaves you with 2 practically identical libraries. Photos 1 an Photos 2. You will also be able to toss one of these as well. To determine which one your computer actually uses, you can open Photos, go to preferences, select General and look for the one listed. That would be the one you would keep. The others can go.

Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 1.06.35 PM

By the looks of the size of each of these libraries, I feel confident that all the pictures that exist in your old iPhone library are also in your new Photos library. But just to make sure, you always have a backup (time machine) just in case 2 years from now you say to yourself "I think I'm missing some pictures from that trip we took to Yipsilanti. I wonder if they are in the old iPhoto library". That way you still have them on your backup. It's not easy to get to them from your time machine backup, but they are there.

Someone has logged into our AppleID

We just got a notification that someone on my son's phone is signed in using our AppleID. We checked with the only people our son knows. What do we do? We are going to change the password.

Interesting. If he has two factor authentication on then there’s probably a simple explanation.  If he didn’t then it could be problematic. You are doing the correct thing to change the password. If his Apple ID is signed in to an unaccountable device, you can go into and wipe it.

Have you heard of Qustodio parental control software?

Have you heard about this app for parental controls? Qustodio

Yep. Your kids will work around it in less than 30 minutes. Remember, they don't have to figure out how to do it themselves. They can either just know one of their friends that knows how to Google or use Google themselves. The answers are a search away. Keep in mind, Apple will NEVER let another company's app totally control an Apple device. That's where screen time comes in. Other than that app, there's always a workaround.

ABC News to explain further.

I'm happy to give exact directions if you'd like but your children will find a way. I stand by my original statement when it comes to youth and technology. Our kids are smarter than we are. All we can do is do our best to direct our children in the right direction but we cannot rely on software to do our jobs as parents. They will always
find a way.

My child is ignoring our limits

I have lost contact with my daughter’s screen time. It has not refreshed since Monday. On another front, my daughter tells me that she can ignore time limits by hitting a switch that says ignore time limit. What’s up?

Regarding ignoring time limits:

Depending on the age of the child and if the screentime settings are part of a family the parental controls have different limitations. It sounds like your child's screen time may be considered an adult account (anyone over 13 is an adult in Apple's eyes) and with an adult screentime, the adult can simply ignore the limits by entering in a separate screen time passcode or even not have a passcode. So in your case, you will want to change the screen time pass code on your child's device to a different 4 digit number. Keep in mind, this is different from the phone's passcode to unlock the screen.

Regarding the contact for screen time from your device. This could be related. It is possible that if the child knows the 4 digit code, then they can simply disable the settings. I suggest you put your hands on the device and revisit the settings.

I do not recall the details of your child's device, her age, or if you are managing her device within your family settings.

Reseting a Snapchat password

How do I reset my child's snapchat password? I want to get into her account so I can delete it.

If you are unable to discover it. First you have to download the app, sign in with the original password, the change the password or delete the account. More info from Snapchat’s site can be found here:

How to Reset Your Password

Is this true?

Seen this before, Scotty?

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 7.05.26 AM


Straight up total garbage. Do not interact with this.

Thoughts on parenting

Hi Scotty
The app I was trying to remember is called Bark - thoughts?
Should we think about closing the snap chat count we are deleting for good anyway and maybe the others we kept due to the fact she can access from other sources? 
Took the surface pro!  Could she get an old phone of a friend and use it to get in her apps by going through her iCloud? She mentioned today that was how she tapped into snap chat- does she have to have iCloud?

Bark is one of many many many apps that children use as social media apps. I've been doing this now for 15 years and since apps became a thing (about 10 years ago) there has been a yearly trend. Every summer the app market is flooded with new apps that will hopefully become popular among audiences. The massive majority of those fail leaving only a few to cut through. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc.. Those are the popular ones that penetrated. TikTok is only about a year old and was also one that "made it". But for those few apps there are hundreds and hundreds more that some school children try out and usually fizzle out completely by December of each year.

Bark is just another social app. This one with the angle that "if you have a dog, let's be friends". If your goal is to give your child a break from social media then consider Bark just another outlet for the same thing. The problem is that most of your child's friends will not be on that platform or they will try it out for about one month then move on. Long answer for a short question but the short version is: Download Bark yourself and judge for yourself. It's just another social app trying to cut through into popular culture.

I cannot stress enough that no matter what we do as parents, children will find a way to get to what they want. We can only point them in the right direction.

Closing your child's snapchat account is only a bandaid. The real issue is having open discussions with your child in the long rung. You might think you are shutting a child's snapchat account down while they are thinking they just have to move to another account.

Your child can absolutely get an older phone from a friend and sign in and can be right back in business. A phone has to have an iTunes account in order to download an app however if the app is already there then there would be no need. Snapchat (the app) once on the phone does not require an AppleID to be used. You simply make a snapchat account.

Lastly, as always when discussing parenting, I speak only in generality based on my experience. It is never my intention to pass judgement on any family, child, etc…. I've seen many parenting strategies over the year that produce varying results.

What should I do with this message?

As you know I’m trying to make space on my MacBook by Deleting a bunch of redundant images from my Photos Library. 

As a backup, I saved the Library on an external hard drive ... just in case I messed up images I wanted to keep.

I went to confirm the library was copied over properly but when I clicked on it in my external hard drive, this popped up (see below). 

What should I do? 

Screen Shot 2019-09-30 at 9.12.20 PM


This message is trying to tell you that your library contains full res versions as well as "optimized" or thumbnail versions of pictures. Therefore if you want to copy the entire library, you are not really copying all the pictures in their original file size. Since iCloud works with Photos in sync, the only way to actually drag over an entire full res version of one's library, they would have to download all full res versions of those pics from iCloud first. Some of those items were only partially downloaded and the message is trying to say that they will leave the full res versions alone in the cloud but get rid of the partial files it has already download. The good news here is that regardless of what you do with this message, you shouldn't lose any pictures as Photos would have already put them in the cloud.

I would need more info in order to answer the question more thoroughly.

How can I sort out my Photos libraries?

Following up on the previous inquiry about missing Photos projects. I have 3 photo libraries in my Pictures folder. I pulled the last 2 over from TM backup files.

Photos Library (my main one that has everything backed up to the cloud and is up to date, but is missing all old projects) 111GB
Photos Library (original) I didn’t do this, but the system named it this. Not sure why it’s there, but it is. I opened it and all my projects are there but pics only go back to July ’19. 108GB
iPhoto Library 75GB

How should I proceed? Is there any way to get all my projects from Photos Library Original into Photos Library (main)? Do I still need iPhoto Library? Seems like maybe a lot of duplication.

Pretty involved question to answer without seeing the libraries first hand to get a better understanding of the issue but I'll give a rough response.

Main Photos library is also referred to as the system library. Only one library can sync to an iCloud account. Some people have more than one photo library for various reasons but the second library will not sync to the cloud. Nor will it receive pics from the cloud (or a phone) without manually adding them.

If you only pulled content (by showing package contents and moving/importing masters) then that would only include the photos themselves and not the projects. To my knowledge there is no way to import projects from one library to another. There may be third party software out there that syncs multiple photo libraries but the last several times I've tested them out, I've been met with disastrous results so I do not recommend third party photo library syncing tools.

You could bless the original library as your system library, therefore recovering your projects but sacrificing July to present pics. However, they would be in the old (main) library and you could move over the 2019 July through present pictures manually.

The old iPhoto library is no longer necessary and can be deleted. As always, have a good time machine backup before you proceed with any deletions.

Phone contracts for your child.

I've had a rash of struggling families lately with how to deal with technology in their children's lives. If your child is in the 9-14 age group you may want to take a look at a couple of these phone contract examples. These should not be used as is with your family. Chances are, you won't agree with every element of any of these examples. Instead, let these act as a starting point for you to take a few minutes to create one along with your child. Make them a part of your contract negotiations. They'll feel more invested themselves.


Is this legit?

This image keeps coming up on my screen. Seems odd. Is it legit?


This is legit. However I don't know specifically what process is asking you to input your password. I could be caused by several things. You could have changed your master password in the past and the computer is having to re-authenticate over and over for various tasks. Only by investigating further within Console or Activity Monitor would I know for sure. Or if you have a specific series of events that cause it I could rationalize it as well.

What virus protection to you recommend?

Antivirus/Malware-I have been using the free Malware and free Sophos-what are your recommendations here? And do you recommend the paid versions of these?

I do not recommend any antivirus for the Mac. Bad things happen on your Mac when you allow it to. In other words, in order for your Mac to become "infected with malware" most of the time it requires that you grant permission for it to be installed. I see the issue of people falling for the tricks out there every day. Saw it twice today. Bottom line is that when prompted for your password you should be very cautious and understand why your computer is asking for your password.

I have a dedicated section to this question on my answers site that can be found here.

scams | Answers | Sells Consulting
viruses | Answers | Sells Consulting

For more details on how to avoid the scams that are out there I'd be happy to go over things with you via remote session any time. I work with a variety of people across the US remotely using a piece of software called Zoom.

What backup plan do you recommend?

I use iCloud for my whole family, and that is working well.
I also use Crash Plan. I used to have their family backup service, but they cancelled their home back up and went “business” back up only. Since then, I have had my families 5 computers backing up to Crash Plan's business back up, but it is $50/month.
I have been looking at others to see if there are any less expensive that allow a family to be backed up.
Do you have one you recommend? iDrive, Back Blaze, stick with expensive Crash Plan, use another one as a “small business”-I just don’t know what to use!


I've never been a fan of those cloud backups. When it comes time to recover your data from any of the cloud services mentioned, it's usually a very lengthy mess. What I do prefer is good organization and a larger range of services. Using Dropbox for all of your important text documents then iCloud for your pictures and videos shot with your iOS device leaves one category unbacked up: home movies. Other that that category everything else makes it way to the cloud. However, what supersedes all other backup strategies is good old fashion Time Machine. Having two dedicated Time Machine drives that your rotate several times a year will ensure you don't lose your data. Keep one plugged in and the other offsite.

Has Time Machine completed yet?

Hi. Back up drive still yellow after being plugged in all day yeaterday.

Often, looking at the color of the hard drive icon on the desktop is not the best way to determine if the backup has completed. Instead, go to the menu bar and click the counterclockwise circle near the time in the top right hand corner of the screen. The drop down there will tell you the time machine backup status. It will either say "last backup" followed by a time or it will say "backup in progress.". If backup is in progress then you need to consider how long the backup has been going. If the backup has been running more than 12 hours and still not completed then it's time to reformat the backup drive and start completely over again.

Another consideration is to perhaps just get a completely new drive. External drives are very fragile things and I don't put much faith in their longevity. $60 (the price of a new drive) buys a lot of peice of mind when backing up your computer.

Surface won't connect to wifi.

Hey! My son’s wifi works on all devices except his Microsoft surface that the school gave him. Here is pic.
What should he do?
Should he call you?


If all other devices are able to connect to the wifi network with the exception of the Windows Surface, that would lead us to believe that the problem is with the Surface. Given that it is a school computer, I wonder if there are limitations that have been placed on the computer that do not allow for it to connect to random networks. To resolve this you may need to ask the school admin if connecting the Surface to outside networks is allowed. If he can go to Starbucks and connect to the Starbucks network then this is not the issue of course.

A few other things to try in the meantime:

Restart the Windows Surface (not shut down)

Toggle Airplane mode. To do this go to Settings/Network & Inernet/Airplane Mode

Check the date and time settings: Settings/Time & Language.

If none of those work then it might also be possible that the school has Machine Access Code Filtering turned on. This is another method that does not allow school computers to join unauthorized networks.

How do I recover files from Time Machine with different users?

1) Mac’s slowness never seems to be related to CPU. It’s always very low (<5%) even when I’m getting spinning beach ball or general slowness.
2) When I kill Photos and all those processes, still no difference. The system will hang if I click to open an email for example, or click somewhere in an already open app. It’s maddening. No idea what’s causing it.
3) As for the missing Photos projects, I tried your idea about entering TM while Photos is open and seeing if they show up in the sidebar. Two issues that arose from that.
a) When I enter TM with Photos open, it just opens a Finder window and gives me all the past backups of Finder windows. No way to see Photos.
b) It only has backups showing (when I enter TM) going back to when I started using the external HD as the startup drive. I think it’s because when I did that, I mistakenly named my user account differently that what it was previously. It’s now fullname, but it used to just be firstname. Can I change that? Files are all still on the TM drive, but not available when I enter TM.

I would use Time Machine manually. In other words, instead of going through the Apple "space warpy" interface, just open a finder, navigate to your time machine backup. From there, you have to choose the correct path. If you didn't choose to inherit backup history when you went to the new drive, then it's possible time machine has two different backup folders; one for each drive. If it doesn't have two drives then there would definitely be two users as you described. But since you'd be in the finder, you'd just navigate to the older full name user and then go into the pictures folder. You would then pull the entire photos.library file out onto a different location, hold down the option key when booting Photos and tell it to open that library.

Another problem you could possibly run into would be permissions conflicts. If you get a message that says something like "you don't have permission to access" that file, then you would need to apply a different set of permissions. I won't go into that at the moment. But long story short, I never use Apple's space warp interface. I always just use the finder and find what I'm looking for within time machine's history manually.

Can we export mailboxes?

Hi Scotty,
I didn’t want bother you for an office visit, but we’d like to back up our emails on a jump drive. I wanted to click on “Export Mailbox” but I got nervous that this would move it or delete it somehow. Can you quickly advise us how to back up our emails using the exchange email?

Using the export mailbox should be totally fine. It will place a copy of the selected box or boxes on the desktop or where ever you choose for them to go. They will be in the form of "mbox". This does not allow for individual emails to be browsed within the Finder. Instead, if you ever need those emails again, you would choose to import the mailboxes back into Mail and then you'd be able to see the individual emails once again.
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