to commonly asked questions.

Catalina Kills old Microsoft Office

You helped me transfer my old laptop to my new laptop back in January.  I'm really bad about doing the updates that pop up all the time.  I usually just push "ignore" a gazillion times, but I went ahead and gave in to the recent update (I've come to know now as the Evil Catalina!!!......and boy did I make a mistake!  My computer is pretty much useless.  Word and Excel are both not working now.  Is this something you can fix?  Or am I going to have to subscribe and pay for everything again?  

I have encountered many issues with the Catalina rollout. Mostly due to the installer. The actual operating system has been fine but getting it installed has been problematic for many people. In regard to your Microsoft issue. Yes, this was going to happen. Catalina 10.15 is all 64 bit which means that any old programs that run in 32 bit would stop working. Apple has been moving toward an all 64 bit process for many years. If you went to Mojave 10.14 last year you may have seen a warning when opening Word, Excel, etc.. saying "this version is not optimized for this Mac".

So this means the old 32 bit versions of Office will no longer work in Catalina. So here are your options:

1. Abandon Office and use Pages, Keynote, Numbers
2. Abandon Office and use Google Docs online
3. Buy the new version of Office for one computer at $150. (A one time purchase with no future updates)
4. Subscribe to Office at $69 per year for one computer.
5. Subscribe to Office at $99 per year for 5 computers.

Backup has failed.

I just realized I have not been backing up to anything but Backblaze. Both my time capsule and seagate external drive (which is full (4 T) have not backed up since 3/13/19.



As you know, I’m a big fan of Time Machine. You may want to reformat the time machine drives and just let the backup process start once again from the beginning. You could also re associate the drives to the computer and hope that it inherits the backup history. Third option is just to get new backup drives. I do not approve of Time Capsule. It is unreliable.

Google photos in addition to Apple Photos

May need to cancel appt until I get another phone or solution to my photo problem.
Is drop box an option?
Can I keep work photos there and out of my personal feed? Also, i downloaded Google photo’s thinking I could keep work photos there. That was a disaster. Google photos imported my entire photo library so know I have 2 huge photo libraries on my phone. How can I delete google phots without deleti g all my pics??
Aarrgghh. Any ideas? Thank you!

Google photos will not reverse sync with Apple's Photos. In other words, if you delete your Google photos items, they will still be in Apple Photos. The initial sync moves copies of your library over to Google Photos but the syncing stops there. New photos do move over but deleted or edited items do not.

Dropbox will work but think of either of these choices as having to do a lot of manual work. Pictures will move into dropbox as well via camera uploads but you would be doing a lot of deleting.

Gmail server error

I get this on my phone 500 times a day! How do I make it stop?


One of two things has happened:

1. You've changed your gmail password and the phone doesn't know the new one.
2. Gmail has updated their security preferences and your phone doesn't currently have permission to check your email.


Just delete the gmail account and re-add it on your phone. Go to settings/Passwords and Accounts/ select the gmail account and choose "Delete Account" at the bottom. Then go back one window and select to "Add Account". I like to first prove that I know my password before entering it on the phone. To check your password, go to on a computer web browser and try to log in. It's always less frustrating to check a password using a real keyboard instead of a glass iPhone keyboard.

Can I remove information about me from the internet?

Hi Scotty! How difficult is it to remove my name from a company in Charleston that used to carry my art. They always pop up first Then clients contact them and I'm sure they try to sell anything but giving my new gallery contacts. If you can come help me w this that would be great. And they pinned my art all over Pinterest. Ugh.

Unfortunately, once information is on the internet, it will be there for a while. Even if you ask the company to remove it, it will still show up in searches residually over a period of time until it eventually falls from search results. All you can do is ask the company to remove all mentions of your name.

Try doing a google search for words like "traitor" and you will see people who would rather not come up under those terms as well. I give this example to say that there is no good way to control what is on the internet about you. None. If enough people were blog that I was a terrible person, then that information would eventually show up in searches. Google and other search engines scan the internet on almost a daily basis so it takes a good bit of time before information completely falls from searches.

As a side note, when I search for your name, your actual site shows up first followed by articles about your work. So it could be your browser history that is playing some effect in this. I do not see the business you mentioned in the search results.

Discretionary photo organization

Hi Scotty. I just booked an appt with you, but want to make sure we can do what I want to do...
Im trying to clean up my photo library and keep work photos separate from my photo it possible for me to keep work photo albuns and delete it from my personal feed?

Google photos?


You can’t keep photos in an album but delete them from your photos feed. Photos now works the same way as iTunes, email, or contacts. If you delete a song from the main library it will also disappear from your playlist. If you delete a contact, it will leave any group it was in, etc.. Same with Photos.

With iCloud syncing, it’s all or nothing. Implementing google photos is a good idea. It’s a little messy and more work but it can be done. Basically, what you are saying is you are taking two types of pictures. Personal and Professional. You could take a professional picture, allow it to sync to google photos, then delete the picture from your Photos library after it has moved. But the reverse would also be true. You take a personal picture and then have to delete it out of Google photos.
In other words, there’s not good answer other than to have two different cameras/iPhones.

Using words to scare you into subscribing to useless services

Thoughts? I’ll plan on starting on this sometime this week unless I hear otherwise from you.


I do not like associating to these types of services. So many companies have discovered that they can offer seemingly helpful services to its customers via SUBSCRIPTION and they make so much more money. They're stockholders (Allstate) are happy and customers are basically paying for a meaningless service that only makes them feel better.

Here's a better way to keep yourself safe:

1. Monitor your bank/credit card statements every month and account for every small charge ($5, $3, $2 etc…) Dumb bad guys steal a lot from you one time. Smart bad guys steal a little from you every month.

2. Do not join open wifi networks. Example: Airports, Restaurants, Coffee shops, Hospitals. If the network does not require a password, don't join it.

3. Make your passwords something other than a word that could be found in the dictionary followed by up to 4 numbers. Ex: "monkey1968" is not a good password.

These companies use words that normal consumers can't define as a scare tactic to get you to subscribe to their service. I hate seeing this very much as I feel that people are being taken advantage of. In the example above they are saying "dark web". Yes there is an area of the internet called dark web and yes there is tons of information out there. But here's the truth. Your information along with just about every other person's on the planet is already there and bad guys got it a long time ago. In this case they are saying that your gmail account is compromised. Google protects its accounts against brute force attacks so its security is pretty strong. The issue is always the human. In other words, you could put all the locks on your door you want to, but if I convince you to unlock them to let me in, then the locks mean nothing. This is to say you could buy all the "protection" services you want but if you join an open network or install something on your computer yourself, then that service means nothing.

Photos library taking a long time to update

How do i stop this photo library update?


Looks like you just updated to Catalina. It may take a few hours for Photos to update your library depending on the size (amount of pictures). Just be patient and it should complete.

Hotmail not working on iPhone

Hi there and good morning!  I am having some issues with my iPhone X ever since I did the most recent update last week.  I can not check my email from my phone on my hotmail address.  It constantly says it has updated, but then I will go to my laptop and check and I have several unread emails.  I called apple last night and they were not helpful.  Any ideas???  

The first thing to try is to delete the hotmail account off of the phone then re-add. When you do, it may want to set up as an exchange account. Hotmail is a Microsoft product and I think they have changed their hotmail backend and you may have to use Exchange which is also a Microsoft product.

If this doesn't work, then it could be a 2 factor issue with hotmail that is blocking hotmail access. Hotmail may also require you sign in using a browser now much like google does. So when you set it up on the phone, it kicks you over to Safari to authenticate. I should be able to assist if needed.

Computer storage is full is a serious issue.

Help my computer is not uploading photos and keeps telling me that storage is near capacity.

This can be a serious issue. If you are seeing a message saying "your startup disk is full" then that needs to be address very soon. If this is a message saying your iCloud space is full, that's less crucial. If your issue is the startup disk issue, then you always have three choices:

1. Find items you no longer need and delete them
2. Find items you don't need to store locally on your computer and move them.
3. Get a larger internal drive.

Option 2 can mean moving your pictures to the cloud. That sometimes frees up a good bit of space. I'd be happy to assist.

Canon printer not printing via wifi

I cannot print again today after we had things working yesterday. This is what was happening before. Suggestions?

Well darn it. A couple of thoughts:

For the short term, you can just use a USB cable. Not a great solution but will do in a pinch. Most likely it will print successfully via USB instead of wirelessly. However, as soon as you connect a printer to a computer via USB, it will add that printer automatically which means you will have two instances of the same printer in your Printer settings over in system preferences. You would need to go over to system preferences and use the “minus” button in the bottom left area in order to remove one of them. Otherwise, you may not know which printer version (wired or wireless) you are printing to.

Another (more complicated) potential solution could possibly be to ask the router to broadcast over a different channel or frequency. There are 11 available choices that every router broadcasts out and it is slightly possible that the printer can’t hear very well on the current channel. This is a long shot but possible. Problem here is that the current router you have may not allow you to change the channel due to your ISP possibly locking it down.

If the other resets via the printer software did not work then that may only leave one explanation. The printer’s wireless capacity has failed. You can still use USB then ask the iMac to share the printer wireless. This is done all the time with laserjet printers that don’t have wifi capability.

Help. Can't authenticate AppleID.

Hey, Scotty. You helped Daniel (my son) reset all his apple accounts in August. There was some weirdness as I remember cause of apps under my old tswatts apple id. He is stuck... it’s requiring a 2 factor authentication to an old email of mine that is still operative and I am not receiving anything. Could you help him out? We will pay. Can he text or call you or do you want him to set up an appt?

It sounds like he at least knows the password to the appleID otherwise it would not even get to the 6 digit code step. Sounds like the next step may be to log into the appleID in question and change the email address to a more current one. This is a little like rolling the dice because it sometimes just simply requires authenticating from a secondary device that you just don’t have and you fall into a never ending loop of authentication. But first step to try would be to go to using the ID in question, and editing the email address.

Apple’s number one priority is to keep user’s accounts safe so they take the stance 100% of the time that you are the bad guy trying to break in to someone else’s account. If he can’t get it worked out, it may be better for us to work on this in person due to the number of devices that may be involved. It can get confusing. And with multiple appleID’s involved it’s good to just have a visual layout of what we’re dealing with. Unfortunately, once we’ve enabled 2 factor, Apple will no longer let us turn it off.  As I always say, security equals inconvenience.  

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.

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.
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