to commonly asked questions.

October 2020

Will Big Sur fix Apple Mail?

My gmail is acting up again inside Apple Mail. What should I do?

Before we re-attack the problem, let’s give apple a chance to resolve it. We are VERY close to the next operating system updated called Big Sur. MacOS 11. This is a major overhaul of MacOS. We’ve been using MacOS 10 since 2001 so moving to the number 11 says a lot to how big a change the entire OS is headed for. My hope is that Big Sur will address the mail issue you’re having. I believe last time it took a lot of digging to get to the root of the issue. By the way, I’ve actually had several gmail related complaints toward apple mail in the last two months so you’re issue is not alone. Last time, we tried replacing the email account by deleting then readding and then redownloading all the email. Cleaned out the old V2 folders but in the end it was a pretty obscure fix that resolved the issue. However, let’s sit back since we are so close to Big Sur’s release and see if it self-resolves.

Full Disclosure: Big Sir won’t come without it’s share of potential problems. It’s possible that moving to Big Sur could also create new issues with VMware or Parallels. I’ve not tested virtual machines yet within MacOS 11 but it wouldn’t surprise me if either of those companies were slow to roll out updates to their virtual machines to work with Big Sur.

Airport routers still useful?

In our home WiFi, we currently have an Airport tower or base and then a smaller airport expander… sure I am not using the correct terminology. We are moving and when I just looked at options, it appears Apple stopped making these a couple of years ago.

We currently have the base and expander on our first floor and get pretty good WiFi thoughout the second floor and attic.

The question is when we move our town house will have 3 floors and the office, AV WiFi will be on the middle floor… do you have an opinion on whether we should just continue using these (they do work) or whether we should try to set up a different system and if so do you have thoughts or recommendations on what equipment to use?

Great and very relevant question. Full disclosure: I'm still using the Airport wifi devices and have not yet upgraded. The Airport Towers are still decent routers but I would seriously consider getting rid of the smaller "expresses" as they only send a potential 100 mbps through wireless so that can result in a slower network. However, I wouldn't go so far as purchasing an older Tower. (Aka AirPort Extreme.).

You are correct. Apple discontinued those routers. They had a great run and as I said, the extremes are still serving many people well but if you're looking to upgrade your system then there are 3 games in town I would consider.

1. Netgear's Orbi routers
2. Linksys Velop system
3. Google Wifi

The best of those is the Orbi system. Very strong signal and I've had many many clients move to that system. I would suggest you first see if just re-installing the old Apple routers in your new home provides enough coverage for now. If not, then upgrade your entire system to the Orbi's.

FYI: I'm not currently entering residences or businesses due to Covid so I would be unable to assist onsite with setup. (Hate it but just trying to do my part to keeping everyone healthy.)

Deskjet 3054 printer to Mac

I am out of town and trying to connect my computer (MacBook Pro) to an HP Deskjet 3054 printer. Is that possible? I have the printer on wireless and added the printer but it ask for location and I have no idea. Thanks.

The printer should work complete fine with the Mac. However printers, in general, are terrible and there are many things that can go wrong (and usually do).

1. Make sure the printer and the computer are on the same network. Sometimes your computer will jump to a different network and therefore won't be able to find the printer.
2. You can try reseting network settings on the printer. Usually available in the settings area of the printer itself.
3. That particular HP Deskjet has a very small LCD display and if I recall correctly, it's very difficult to navigate the menu system. It may be better to first connect the printer via usb, configure it for wireless, then disconnect it.
4. Often, printers can end up added twice which means you may be trying to print to the wrong instance. For example. You could add the printer via USB but also add it via wireless. The Mac is not yet smart enough to let you know it's the same printer so you may be sending the job to the USB added printer but it's not plugged up so it just waits. You can usually solve this by going into system preferences and removing the printer you want.
5. Last resort, right click in the left column of printer system preferences list to reset the printer preferences entirely then start from scratch adding back the printer.

I'm a photographer. How should I configure a new MBP?

I'm a photographer. Can you advise me as to your advice RE: processor, Memory, Graphics, and Storage options for my new MacBook Pro? My port that connects the SSD to my computer must be going bad because my SSD keeps disconnecting mid-use, which makes me worried about losing work and corrupting files as Ligthroom and Photoshop just interrupted.
After the annoyance of having an external SSD I think I will spring for the 8TB; does this choice necessitate going big in any of the other areas? Then I will use the 8TB as my main storage and just backup to the 8TB seagate you helped me select.

8 TB laptop would be a massive machine but I understand your desire to have that much onboard storage. I wouldn’t think of increasing the baseline elements (Graphics card, Memory) to be honest. The amount of ram that an Adobe application can address can be adjusted but it’s more designed for video editors than photographers. This means that 16 gigs of ram is fine for photoshop or Lightroom. If you were using Premire Pro then you could argue that additional ram might be worth it.

The speed of the processor is also not that big a jump from the baseline to the next level up. Keep in mind that you’ll already have multiple cores running which means way more speed potential the programs you’re running will never reach.

There is a big difference in power requirements between photographers vs. musicians vs. video editors. Photographers need the least speed of the group.

Expanding a Windows virtual machine inside Parallels.

I am having trouble with Parallels  The disk did not expand and I have gotten several messages that the c: drive is out of room.  Any suggestions

To increase the allotted size of the Parallels image you should first ensure that the virtual machine is completely shut down. (Not suspended.). Next access "Control Center" from the Parallels icon in the menu bar. Once there, select Hardware, then Hard Disk from the left column. Next select Properties.


Increase the size of the drive allotted space via the slider. You may run into a warning about Snapshots if you've enabled Snapshots within Windows. However, you'll also be able to manage snapshots from that same dialog box then remove unneeded ones. As always, having a time machine backup of the entire computer is always recommended. Keep in mind that Time Machine only backs up the entire virtual image. It does not give incremental backup support to items within Windows.

After you've completed this step, restart the computer, and Parallels then open Windows and select Disk Management from the Start menu. You should be able to see the newly allotted amount there.

Another thing to keep in mind that you should not be using "File Vault". File Vault (Apple's built-in encryption software) is likely to conflict with the virtual machine that Parallels relies on.

If you still do not see the newly allotted size reflected in Windows, try the following steps provided by Parallels:

Windows support is beyond my prevue once inside the Windows Operating system.

Where's the email on my iPad?

I’ve been on the lookout for an email from a teacher. Marcia told me she received a copy and showed that it was sent to me. I searched and found it - “iCloud inbox”. Yet, when I look at all my mail on my iPad for that day, I don’t see it. How can I be sent mail that I can only find by searching?

Definitely not normal for iCloud email not to sync considering that it's IMAP. First, I'm sure you've checked that the email sent is actually the email account you have set up on your iPad. In other words, if it were sent to a gmail account for instance, but the gmail account were not set up on the phone, that could be an obvious reason.

Second, try deleting the email account then re-adding it again. (On the phone that is.)

Third: Insure that "complete Threads" is turned on in the Mail settings on your iPad under Settings/Mail

Fourth: make sure that "Push" is on and set to "automatically" within mail settings. You can toggle this off and on again to hope that it will resync with the server.

Fifth: be sure the location of the email is in the appropriate mailbox. Inbox, drafts, created mailbox, etc…. Sometimes an email can be in a different location than we expected it.

Sixth: "organize by thread" on the iPad could end up hiding an email you're looking for by placing it in line with the full conversation.

Seventh: check at to see that the email is actually in the cloud as well.

What is "unapproved caller" mean?

Keep tabs on time you spend with my questions and add next time we have a session.

A few days ago Marcia was trying to send some files to our accountants portal. She got this message and the screen froze. Force Quit didn’t work and she finally had to turn the iMac off and back on.

Any idea what this is?


The wording of this error message does sound alarming but it is poorly written on Apple's part. This issue can usually be solved by booting into safe mode (holding down the shift key at start up) then restart once again after the safe boot has gotten all the way to the desktop. This will reset certain cache files that are most likely responsible for the poorly worded message.

To my knowledge, this message is related to security software on every Mac called Gatekeeper. Its job is to verify that third party software has been properly signed or authenticated by Apple. This error can be caused by updating your Mac from one operating system to another and skipping one. For instance, if you update from 10.12 to 10.15, it would make it more likely to see this message. Booting into safe mode, then restart moments later should take care of it.

Which laptop should I buy?

Good afternoon. I need a laptop for my part-time assistant, I would like to make a conservative purchase but still need to computer that can get the job done.

My expectations:
-Link to photos on my work phone
- enough power to run quickbooks reasonably fast (no need for super speed- just adequate)
- enough memory to keep up with client spreadsheets in excel
- basic letter drafting and email

What apple product do you recommend? Also, I will need your help setting it up. Are you still working only remotely? Thank you!

Linking photos from your work phone to the computer can be accomplished one of two ways:
A: use the same appleID and iCloud service for both of those devices. Keeping in mind you should not use your personal ID.
B: manually connect the iPhone periodically to the computer and sync manually over a cable.

The rest of your requirements could be handled by Apple's least expensive MacBook Air but the one thing you'd probably want to consider is hard drive space. I would kick the space up to 512. While you could certainly get away with the lesser model, I think the 512 model gives you a little more space for expanded duties and twice as strong a processor. Base line $1299.

13-inch MacBook Air - Space Gray - Apple

Yes, I am only working remotely for the foreseeable future. I am, however doing dropoff/pickups for data transfers and other offsite tasks. I am not entering homes/business at this time.

Time Machine and Encryption

1. Following directions to set up a new backup disk...for some reason “select disk” is not an option here.

2. It appears to be set up properly to back up to the 8T backup ecm drive

3. Not sure if this encrypted stuff matters...


1. The "green" disk means that the computer already has a backup relationship with the hard drive. Olive green means already being used as a backup drive. Yellow means not yet used. So if you click on a green disk, the only choice would be to remove the disk as a backup since it's already being used as one.

2. Yes.

3. Yes, encryption does matter. Your computer's drive should mirror the backup drive so if your computer's drive is encrypted (via File Valut) then the backup drive should also use encryption. While you can backup an encrypted drive with a non encrypted backup, in my opinion it is best just to turn off encryption. It's just not really something the large majority of us need on our home computers.
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