to commonly asked questions.

December 2021

Mail search not working.

The search in my mail isn't working.

I get asked about this quite often. The Mac's mail search does seem to break down quite often. It's tied to spotlight so if the spotlight index fails, then search overall across your computer will be ineffective. Let's look at a few things to try to kickstart your mail's search feature back to functional.

1. Rebuild your mailbox. To do so, in the Mail application, select the your inbox then under the word "Mailbox" in the menu bar, at the bottom choose "rebuild". That may fix the issue. However, keep in mind you won't see a progress indicator so you won't have any way of knowing when it's done rebuilding. I'd give it an hour or more then see if search has started working again. You'll need to run the rebuild for each inbox you have. In other words, if you have three accounts like gmail, aol, iCloud then select each and run each separately.

2. Rebuild the entire spotlight index. I've found this to be the most effective way to get mail's search back again. First, click on the spotlight icon in the menu bar and do a simple search for something you know is related to mail like someone's name you've recently corresponded with. You should get results ranging from web searches, documents on your computer and email. If you don't see any email results then that's a very good indicator this will do the trick. Here's how to rebuild the index.
A. The Easiest way to try first: Open system preferences and go to the Spotlight pane. Uncheck the Mail and messages checkbox, restart your computer, then go right back and recheck them again. Wait about an hour.

If that doesn't resolve Mail search then we use the Nuclear option.

B: The Nuclear Option: System preferences/Spotlight…now select Privacy. Drag your entire Hard Drive icon into the window therefore adding it to the Privacy list. Restart. Now return to the same area and remove it from the list by using the minus button at the bottom left. Wait an hour.

Your mail search should now work.

Still not working or would rather someone else do it, schedule a session. There are other things we can do but those require a bit more technical surgery.

University has control of my iPad and I want to sell it.

I recently purchased an 2019 iPad Air 3 from a buddy of mine that goes to Anderson University in SC. I bought the iPad because for the past year I have been wanting one to use for drawing and note taking (I’ve been doing doing illustrations physically in a sketch pad for about 2 years now), and his school had gifted each student an iPad and he never used it, so he was just going to sell it along with the Apple Pen they gave him with the iPad to me for a reduced price.

He had factory reset the iPad before I bought it from him, but upon starting it up, choosing my language, and connecting to our WiFi, a message popped up as the iPad was setting itself up that read something along the lines of “Account/Device Management by Anderson University. This device is managed by Anderson University. Please follow the steps to set up the iPad.” And then I clicked continue and it sent me to the window I attached in this email:

I texted my friend and told him about it, and he was confused because some of his friends had sold their iPads to people and hadn’t had too many problems from what he was aware. It wouldn’t let me set up the iPad without the device management, so he just gave me his school account’s username and password so I could continue the set-up process.

After I set up the iPad I checked the general settings and looked into the MDM (Mobile Device Management) that it referred to earlier. The management seems to give them a lot of control over my iPad. I looked under the “Rights” for it and it had everything from “Erase all data and settings” to “install and remove applications and data” listed. They have so much control that I can’t even remove it manually. I don’t want the iPad if it’s not mine and not free from their control.

My friend ended up sending an email to them with the device serial code and mode number attached, explaining to them that he had sold it to his friend and was wondering if they could remove the device from their systems. But seeing as the school is the one that gave him the iPad for free, I’m not sure IT will just let him take it off their management. Like… for all they know he could be lying to them in order to just have his iPad be fully accessible and separated from their control. And seeing as they paid for it I doubt they’ll like the idea of him selling it either.

So I returned it back to him last night and he gave me all my money back, except for the Apple Pen which I kept and he only charged me $50 for. I was just wondering, knowing you’re an expert with stuff like this, is there anything we can do on our end to get the MDM off of that iPad? I did some research online but couldn’t find much on how to totally remove it on my side. It seems like the device will be managed under them remotely no matter what since it’s in their registry and my friend Elijah isn’t plan on transferring or graduating from the college any time school. Do you think this the case, or is their something we can do to remove the MDM ourselves without even having to get their approval first?

So sorry you’re dealing with this trouble. Short answer is: You have to go through the University in order to sever the relationship between the iPad and the account. There is software that, even when wiped, will still exist until the University (or business) removes it from their list. Each device has an internal number sort of like a serial number but less obvious that allows them to control all these devices remotely.

In the text you saw, it is totally possible to sever the relationship but they state that they only go through that process bi-annually. In other words, they’re not in a hurry to go the task of removing an iPad every time one of thousands of students ask them to. So they’re saying “we’ll get around to it but don’t hold your breath.”

Depending on how the remote management from the IT dept. at that university handled the install, it might be possible to go beyond a “erase all content and settings” and instead use what is called DFU mode or “restore mode”. This would require connecting your iPad to a computer using the Finder to erase and restore. However, as I said, depending on how they implemented this, there are versions of remote management software that will still exist even after doing the DFU restore.

I see this type of issue all the time. Say you give me your old phone as a gift. I wipe it and try to start using it for myself. Before I can start the setup, the phone will ask me for YOUR old AppleID password in order to complete the process. This is an anti theft measure that Apple has implemented to discourage people from stealing devices. And it works very very well. No one steals an second iPhone these days because they realize after the first one, there’s nothing they can do to work around that hidden feature.

Same situation here. Otherwise, just like you said, students would go rogue and just wipe their devices to get off the university grid so to speak.

This image is a theme.plist hack