Tech Tips

All New Apple Products!

WWDC Apple 2017 Announcements



WWDC AppleApple used the keynote address at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in early June to unveil new versions of macOS, iOS, and watchOS, new iMacs and faster notebooks, and new iPad Pros. In a “one last thing” announcement that hearkened back to the days of Steve Jobs, the company also gave a sneak peek at its first major new product since the Apple Watch: the HomePod smart speaker. Some of the new hardware is available now, the new operating systems are due this fall, and the HomePod and the workstation-class iMac Pro are scheduled for December 2017.
Here’s what you should know.

New iMacs and Faster Notebooks


For those who have been waiting patiently to buy a new iMac or Mac notebook, now’s the time! Apple refreshed the entire iMac line with Intel’s latest processors, faster storage, higher performance graphics, and brighter, more colorful screens. They all provide a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports for driving external displays and connecting to speedy external storage.

The most-improved has to be the 21.5-inch iMac with 4K Retina display, which should see the most performance gains from faster CPUs and high-performance Radeon Pro graphics processors. Plus, that model can now take up to 32 GB of RAM (up from 16 GB) — it’s far more compelling than before, if you don’t need the larger screen and better performance of the 27-inch model.Simply Computing iMacs

You can buy a 21.5-inch non-Retina iMac starting at $1,399.99, a 21.5-inch iMac with 4K Retina display starting at $1,729.99, and a 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display starting at $2,399.99. Looking for more performance than even a tricked-out 27-inch Retina iMac can provide? Wait for December, when Apple promises to release the new iMac Pro. It will be the fastest Mac ever, thanks to 8-core, 10-core, or 18-core Intel Xeon CPUs. Other performance enhancements include a next-generation Radeon Pro Vega graphics chip, up to 128 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD upgradeable to 4 TB, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and 10 Gbps Ethernet.

On the portable front, Apple’s top-of-the-line MacBook Pro notebooks should run a bit more quickly thanks to Intel’s latest processors running at slightly higher clock speeds. These models also get new graphics processors that improve rendering performance. The 13-inch MacBook Pro still starts at $1,729.99 or $2,399.99 for a model with a Touch Bar and beefier specs. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $3,199.99.

For those who prefer portability, the MacBook has become more attractive due to improvements that address its previously underwhelming performance. Along with quicker CPUs, it has a new SSD that is up to 50% faster, and you can now buy it with 16GB of RAM, (up from 8GB).
If you don’t have much to spend, consider the $1,199.99 13-inch MacBook Air. Apple gave it a minor speed bump, replacing the stock 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 processor with a 1.8 GHz version (upgradeable to an Intel Core i7 running at 2.2 GHz).

By the way, if you’ve been jonesing for a full-size wireless keyboard, you’ll be pleased to learn that Apple also just released the new wireless Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. It’s $169.99.

New iPad Pros


If you’ve been holding off on an iPad Pro purchase, the wait is over! Apple introduced a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro that’s just a hair taller and wider than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro it replaces, despite having a larger screen that’s 20% larger. The company also enhanced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a variety of new hardware capabilities.

All motion on the screens of both iPad Pros will be smoother and more responsive, thanks to a previously unheard of 120 Hz refresh rate. Simply Computing iPad ProsIt will make drawing with the Apple Pencil even more fluid. The screens are also brighter, can display more colors, and have low reflectivity. Both models get new cameras that match those in the iPhone 7: a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and True Tone flash, plus a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera on the front.

Since professionals care about performance, the new iPad Pros rely on Apple’s new processor, the A10X Fusion chip. Apple claims that the A10X is 30% faster than the A9X used by the previous generation of iPad Pros, and it also delivers 40% faster graphics rendering. You can buy an iPad Pro with 64 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB of storage, significantly more than last year’s models. The 64 GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro with Wi-Fi costs $869.99; jumping to 256 GB increases the price to $999.99, and going to 512 GB raises it to $1,259.99. For the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a 64 GB configuration starts at $1,049.99, with 256 GB at $1,179.99 and 512 GB at $1,439.99. Add $170 to any configuration to get cellular connectivity as well.

Although the iPad Pros are available starting this month, you can look forward to them becoming significantly more useful when Apple releases iOS 11 in the fall. That’s because iOS 11 promises to bring a number of iPad-specific features, including: – A customizable Dock that holds more than six apps – A new App Switcher that includes split-screen app combinations – A new Files app for managing documents – Drag-and-drop capability for moving data between apps – Instant Notes, which opens the Notes app with an Apple Pencil tap on the Lock screen – Inline drawing with the Apple Pencil in Notes and Mail – Handwritten text recognition so you can search what you write

iOS 11

 
At WWDC, Apple gave us a peek at iOS 11, due as a free update this fall (probably September). Although it offers numerous changes, iOS 11 won’t seem like a huge revision, since most of the changes are refinements rather than new apps or wholesale rewrites.
Perhaps the most noticeable change is Control Center, the panel that appears when you drag up from the bottom of the Lock screen or Home screen. Apple has redesigned it so that the audio and HomeKit controls fit on one screen, even on the iPhone. In iOS 10, you may have to scroll sideways to see all the controls, which is awkward. The new design also takes advantage of 3D Touch to let you do more than toggle settings on and off.Simply Computing iOS11

We’re looking forward to the new Messages, which takes advantage of iCloud to sync messages (including deletions!) between your devices. What’s most important about this is that older messages will be stored only in iCloud so they won’t occupy precious storage space on your device.
Siri will receive new voices that sound more natural, and it will also sync what it knows about you between devices to personalize responses better. Siri is also getting smarter, or at least more observant. Thanks to a technology called Siri Intelligence, Siri will better understand your interests and the context in which you’re speaking, so if you search for information about Paris, the News app may start recommending articles about France.

Apple will introduce new formats to the Camera app in iOS 11, which should result in photos and videos that take up much less space. iPhone 7 Plus users will also appreciate improvements in the two-camera Portrait mode. If you like Lie Photos, don’t miss new features in Photos for trimming and editing the underlying movies — you can even apply looping and reversing effects. We’re pleased to see Apple updating maps with features like indoor maps of malls and airports in major cities. It will also inform you of speed limits and offer lane guidance on large roads.
If splitting a restaurant bill is awkward, you’ll be able to use Apple Pay in iOS 11 to send money directly to another person. It goes into an Apple Cash Card found in the Wallet app, and money stored there can be transferred to a bank account or used to pay for Apple Pay purchases.

Last, but certainly least, is a potentially life-saving feature: ‘Do No Disturb While Driving’. When enabled, it will detect that you’re riding in a car and shut off all notifications to your iPhone. You’ll be able to set an auto-reply text message in case anyone messages you, which the sender can break through by stating that the message is urgent. You can also turn off Do Not Disturb While Driving if you’re a passenger.

iOS 11 requires a 64-bit device, which means that it won’t be available to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and fourth-generation iPad, but it will run on all other iOS devices Apple has released since 2013.

 

MacOS 10.13 High Sierra

 
When Apple releases macOS 10.13 High Sierra this fall, it will include big behind-the-scenes improvements and a few upfront changes in core Apple apps like Safari, Mail, and Photos. The upgrade will be free, and High Sierra will run on all Macs that can run 10.12 Sierra now.

The most important change under the hood is a new file system called APFS (Apple File system), which is designed for modern needs like fast backups of massive amounts of data and optimal behavior when storing files on solid-state drives. The file system is the smarts beneath the Mac’s Finder, helping your Mac to keep track of all its data. The Finder itself won’t change much, but certain tasks like duplicating lots of data will be much faster.

Simply Computing High Sierra
Other low-level technology changes will enable developers to bring faster video streaming and playback to the Mac. Plus, they’ll be able to cvreate graphically demanding apps that have even more realistic images, which is important for the fields of virtual reality and gaming. More obviously, you can look forward to Safari providing a more enjoyable Web browsing experience, with fewer ads, articles opening in the less-cluttered Reader view, and no more auto-playing audio. You can customize all these settings, as well as the text zoom percentage, on a per-site basis.

Searching in Mail will be significantly faster, with a Top Hits area that Apple says will learn from you over time and get smarter about suggesting ideal results. Mail will also feature a redesigned split screen option that puts the compose window next to your messages, and your Mail archive will consume less drive space than before, thanks to better compression.

Photos gets a lot of attention from Apple in High Sierra, with a refined interface that should make it easier to find tools, syncing of facial recognition training between your Apple devices, new editing tools for fine-tuning and saturation, and fun choices for enhancing Live Photos. Also, Photos will finally allow integration with third-party editing apps like Photoshop and Pixelmator, along with support for printing projects to non-Apple print services, so you’ll have more choices in that area.

Overall, High Sierra looks like it will be a solid refinement on Sierra, with some core improvements for pro users and a nice collection of enhancements to apps that the rest of us use every day.

 

tvOS and watchOS 4

 
Although Apple gave tvOS the lead announcement at WWDC, it was just to get it out of the way quickly before making all their other announcements. The news is that Amazon Prime Video will be coming to the Apple TV sometime later this year, and better yet, it will integrate with the TV app. It’s likely that there will be additional changes in tvOS before Apple’s big OS release in the fall.

Simply Computing Apple Watch watchOS, on the other hand, received quite a bit of love during the WWDC keynote. watchOS 4, due for free this fall, will feature a new Siri watch face that feeds you relevant information based on the time of day, your activities, and data from apps like Activity, Calendar, Maps, News, Reminders, and Wallet. Other new watch faces are for fun: Toy Story characters with tiny animations and a Kaleidoscope face that draws ever-changing patterns.

Since fitness tracking is important for the Apple Watch, Apple has made watchOS 4 pushier to help you stay on the exercise wagon. It will send morning notifications to encourage you to match the previous day’s activity levels or reach a new Achievement. It also nudges you in the evening to complete your activity rings and issues monthly exercise challenges tailored to your situation.
The Workout app will help pool swimmers track sets, pace, and distance for different stroke types. Triathletes will like being able to switch between workout types and later combine them into a single session for better tracking. Apple will also add motion and heart-rate algorithms for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). And if you work out in a gym, you’ll be able to sync exercise data with sufficiently capable gym equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes, and stair climbers.

If you listen to music while you work out, improvements to the Music app will be welcome. It will sync your most-listened music from your iPhone automatically, and if you subscribe to Apple Music, it will also pick up your favorite mixes. Finally, watchOS 4 will make it easier for developers to connect the watch to more Bluetooth devices, such as for continuous glucose monitoring, analyzing your serve via a sensor on a tennis racket, or recording wave height and calorie burn via a sensor on your surfboard. Let us know if you have a sensor-enabled surfboard! Happily, watchOS 4 will be compatible with both the original Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Series 2, so all Apple Watch owners will be able to enjoy these new features. Apple said nothing about new Apple Watch hardware, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see some before the holiday shopping season.

 

HomePod

 
The much-rumored HomePod is Apple’s answer to the popular Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers. Setup will be as simple as setting up AirPods; just hold your iPhone next to a HomePod to configure it. Physically, the HomePod is a 7-inch high cylinder covered in a 3-D acoustic mesh (available in black or white). Inside, it features a 4-inch Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, and an array of seven beamforming tweeters that proSimply Computing HomePodvides pure high-frequency acoustics. Also, the smarts in Apple’s A8 chip mean that if you put a pair of HomePods in the same room, they detect each other automatically and balance the audio to deliver an immersive listening experience.

The in-built microphones also let you control the HomePod via Siri. It’s designed to work with an Apple Music subscription, and Siri will be able to respond to many more music-related queries and commands. You can also ask Siri for weather forecasts, sports scores, traffic reports, stock prices, and even unit conversions as well as sending messages, make reminders, set alarms and timers, and control HomeKit devices. Because it’s Apple, protecting your privacy is paramount, so the HomePod sends nothing to Apple until you say “Hey Siri,” and even then, it’s anonymized and encrypted.

When it ships in December, the HomePod will be more expensive than the Amazon Echo or Google Home, but cheaper than many high-quality wireless speakers. We’re looking forward to listening to our music and podcasts on the HomePod, and to seeing how successfully Siri responds to us.

To preorder any of the new issue products please contact your local Simply Computing store.

Staying Safe Online

Safe Browsing on the Internet


The Internet is a wonderful thing. It’s a place where people can connect from all over the world to bond, share, and, quite often, debate but it’s also a place where malicious users can target the unsuspecting and innocent. Apple devices utilize very safe operating systems which means viruses, while possible, are rare and because of this security safe browsing is a skill that is often overlooked. In this post we will be discussing how to browse the internet safely.

Make Sure the Website is Secure!

Websites that handle private or sensitive information are often times protected by encryption. Internet banking websites or online marketplaces (such as Amazon) encrypt the data that you send to them to ensure that only you and they can see it. This is important as data that is not encrypted can easily be intercepted and read by anybody in plain text. When you are on a website your browser of choice should be able to tell you whether or not the website is encrypted, often times with a padlock symbol.

Examples of checking site security:
Safari
Firefox
Chrome

If your browser does not show the website as secure you should not be inputting any sensitive data into that website and should avoid using it if possible.

Only Download Applications From Trusted Developers

Applications are programs that a user can download and install to enhance their experience with their computer. Applications can range from Internet Browsers (such as Google Chrome) to document editors (such as Microsoft Word). Apple computers use a .dmg file (Disk Image) to install an application while Microsoft computers use .exe files (Executables).

When downloading and installing an Application from the internet you should be asking yourself a few questions. Does this application come from a trusted developer? Do I know what this application is for? Do I trust the website that I’m downloading this from? If you answer no to any of these questions then it is time to consider that the application you are looking at may be superfluous or malicious.

A malicious program will sometimes masquerade itself as helpful or necessary in order to try and convince you to install it. Other times malicious programs will latch onto other application installers so you’ll be installing two programs without knowing you’re doing so. Most applications will have a few steps to follow before you can install them and it is highly recommended that you read through them carefully to make sure nothing malicious will be installed on your computer.

Before you install anything downloaded from the Internet make sure that it is safe and something you trust.

Beware of Advertisements

Most websites make money by using advertisements. While annoying, these advertisements are usually not dangerous but some of them will execute something called scripts which can force downloads of malicious applications or lock your internet browser with an alarming message. If you see something pop saying you’re computer has a virus it’s safe to assume that one of these scripts has just been executed.

These scripts, while malicious, do not actually do anything to compromise your computer. They require further action by the user to cause breaches. By installing an application downloaded by one of these scripts you may find your computer injected with Adware (sometimes called scareware or malware). This can make your computer run slow, force targeted ads to pop up, or hijack your Internet browser. If you see a message urging you to call a 1-800 number you may be lead through a series of pointless steps and find yourself with a large bill.

Adblock extensions for Internet browsers can sometimes prevent these scripts from being run but can also render other websites unusable unless disabled temporarily.

If you are worried about the security of your computer you can come talk to a representative at your local Simply Computing where we can perform a Malware Removal if needed for $49.

New iPad Lineup

The New iPad Lineup


Apple often adjusts its iPad and iPhone lineup in March, and this year’s changes make the selection more attractive and affordable while adding a new way to support the (RED) international charity. Let’s take a closer look at what Apple has done and what it means for you.

New iPad replaces iPad Air 2
The most significant of Apple’s changes is the replacement of the iPad Air 2 with a new 9.7-inch iPad model called simply “iPad.” This latest iPad is extremely similar to the iPad Air 2, and although most of the changes are for the better, Apple cut a few features so as to reduce the price to the lowest ever for a 9.7-inch iPad.

Physically, the new iPad is almost identical to the iPad Air 2, apart from being 1.4 mm thicker, which might cause problems for some current cases. More interesting is that Apple swapped the iPad Air 2’s A8X processor for the faster A9 chip, which should improve performance. The cameras remain mostly the same too, though photos taken with the rear-facing camera should be somewhat better, thanks to two improvements over the iPad Air 2’s camera: auto image stabilization to help avoid blurry images and a hybrid infrared filter to improve color accuracy and sharpness.

On the downside, the new iPad lacks the iPad Air 2’s laminated display and anti-reflective coating, which combined to increase screen clarity, particularly in bright light. You’d have to compare the new iPad against the more expensive iPad mini 4 or the much more expensive 9.7-inch iPad Pro to see if the screen change is a major problem for you.

The big win with the new iPad is price, it’s now only $449.99 for the Wi-Fi–only 32 GB model or $579.99 for 128 GB. The cellular models cost $619.99 for 32 GB and $749.99 for 128 GB. It’s now the least expensive iPad and what Apple expects most new buyers to purchase. It’s now available at a Simply Computing store near you.


Apple reduces iPad mini 4 price, drops iPad mini 2
The new iPad takes over the entry-level iPad spot from the iPad mini because Apple simultaneously dropped both the iPad mini 2, and the 32 GB model of the iPad mini 4. That leaves just the 128 GB iPad mini 4, which is now priced at $549.99. Despite the price drop, unless you especially want the iPad mini’s smaller size or better screen, it’s probably worth $30 to move up to the new 128 GB iPad.


Paint the town (RED) with new iPhone 7 models
For more than 10 years, Apple has partnered with the (RED) international charity to raise money for the Global Fund to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. By offering products in the licensed PRODUCT(RED) color and donating a portion of the proceeds, Apple has raised over $130 million for (RED), making it the charity’s largest corporate donor.

On March 24th, Apple started selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus PRODUCT(RED) Special Edition models in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. They’re functionally identical to the existing iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models and are priced the same too, but they come in what Apple calls “a vibrant red aluminum finish.” It’s a strong color that’s a far cry from Apple’s almost pastel rose gold color choice.

And if you’d like a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone, but have a perfectly serviceable iPhone that you don’t want to replace, Apple now offers silicone and leather cases in the (RED) color—they’re not quite as snazzy as the red aluminum finish, but they’re similarly bright.

Backing Up Your iOS and OS X Devices

World Back Up Day is just around the corner and the best way to celebrate is by backing up your information!

By Simply Kelowna’s Brandon Marnier



Last week we covered the basics of what a back up was, how to choose where to back up, and we gave a brief overview of how to back up to through the method you chose. This week we are going to go a little deeper and detail how to back up with a few methods.

Backing Up With Time Machine:  
“Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Back to the Future

Time Machine is a built in way to backup your OS X device that utilizes an external hard drive (either wired or wireless) to save your data regularly. Time Machine works by making a copy of everything on your computer and using this first back up as a reference file. Whenever your Time Machine backup drive is connected hourly back ups are made of any changes that you make on your computer. Using the original backup file as a reference allows Time Machine to only backup changes which means your future back ups happen much more quickly.

Your back ups are organized into daily, weekly, and monthly back ups as time goes on. This means that if an important file is lost you can retrieve it by accessing the appropriate date and time that the file was created. If your computer crashes you can restore from your latest backup, or if the crash was caused by software, you can roll back to a previous date of when your computer worked.

In order to back up with Time Machine you must first connect your external hard drive. Once connected you should be prompted with a message asking if you want to use this drive as a Time Machine backup. By selecting “Use Disk” you are permitting your Mac to reformat your external drive (if the drive is already formatted correctly it will skip this step) and begin the process of backing up. Your first backup may take a while depending on the amount of storage you are using on your computer. To access information on a Time Machine backup you can select your drive and open it. Your backups will be stored in a file called Backups. Alternatively, you can select the Time Machine icon on your menu bar and press “Enter Time Machine”.


Backing up your iOS Device
Backing up your iOS device is a very simple process and you have two options. You can use either iTunes or iCloud.

To backup with iTunes connect your device to your computer and open iTunes. In the upper left hand corner your device should appear as an icon. If you click on your device you will see a button that says Back Up Now and once you click that button your backup will begin. This process will back up all of the files on your iOS device. Your files will not be viewable as they are encrypted and compressed to save room. In order to access your files you will need to erase your device and restore from the applicable backup. Your device will then automatically back up whenever it is connected to iTunes (unless you have turned this feature off).

To backup to iCloud go to the settings application on your device. From here, navigate to the iCloud section and make sure you are signed in. If you are signed in you will see a section that says backups. Select backups and turn it on. Once turned on your device will back up as soon as it is connected to wifi, power, and the screen is locked. You can also force a backup by pressing “Back Up Now”. Again, your files will not be viewable because they are encrypted, compressed, and stored on Apple’s servers. In order to access your files you will need to erase your device and restore from the applicable backup. Your device will continue to back up automatically whenever it is connected to power, wifi, and the screen is locked.

With Apple’s new iOS 10.3 update they are utilizing a new file structure which has the potential to save you gigabytes of space. If your iOS device is short on storage, we recommend trying the new update.


Backing Up Single Files
So you don’t need your whole computer backed up but there are important files that you do not want to lose. This is a situation where you have a lot of options. You can use cloud based storage systems to store things like PDFs, documents, pictures, or other files. You can also choose to use small external storage devices such as USB Flash drives or SD Cards (such as ones made by Kingston, iLeef, or JCPAL). OS X can utilize many of these devices while iOS needs specialized devices that have their own applications.

In order to backup single files on OS X to external devices you first need to connect your external storage device of choice. Next you need to find the files that you want to back up. Dragging and dropping those files to your device in Finder will be the easiest method or you can copy and paste.

To backup single files on iOS with external devices you must first find a device that supports iOS. Great examples of these devices are iLeef’s Leef Bridge and JCPAL’s iSave. With an external storage device chosen you will now need to download the relevant application (mentioned on your product’s box usually). Once downloaded you can choose which files you would like to migrate individually.

Backing up individual files to a cloud based service is a great option. iCloud is the easiest option as it has built in functionality with iOS and OS X devices using something called iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive can take certain types of files and store them in Apple’s servers allowing you to not only backup your files but also edit on the fly and see those edits happen on all your other devices (as long as the program supports this feature). To turn on iCloud Drive on OS X navigate to the iCloud preference pane in your System Preferences and click on the check box next to iCloud Drive. To turn on iCloud Drive on iOS devices navigate to the iCloud section in your Settings application and turn iCloud Drive on.


If you have any questions or need help backing up your devices come on down to your local Simply Computing location and talk to a representative.

A guide to backing up your data

A guide to backing up your data

By Simply Kelowna’s Brandon Marnier

World Back Up Day is just around the corner and the best way to celebrate is by backing up your information!

What is “Backing Up”?
Backing up is a term used to describe the way you safeguard your digital information. With much of our daily lives focused around technology we often forget that technology can fail and because it can fail your personal data may be at risk. It’s important to back up your data regularly to ensure that you don’t lose anything.


Backing Up Options
There are a lot of options that you can use to back up your information such as cloud based services or physical external hard drives. Here are some options that you can choose from.
    or               

Cloud Based Services: Cloud based services are storage options that are housed in other locations that have connectivity to your electronic devices. These services include Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft’s One Drive, or a server that you run yourself. Cloud based services are great options for people always on the move or for groups of people that want to collaborate. With cloud based services you can edit, store, and share your information with your other devices almost instantly. Most of these services come with a monthly subscription fee and that can be a real deterrent for some.

Physical Drives: Physical drives are hard drives that can be plugged in to your devices allowing you to transport your information to them. These can include small and portable USB drives or large stationary drives. LaCie or G-Tech are popular brands for these devices. Physical drives are affordable one time purchases and you can keep the drive anywhere you like such as a fire proof safe or a safety deposit box.

Multiple Devices: A lot of people forget that much of what is on one device may also be on another device they own. If you take pictures with your phone and upload those to your computer, if you didn’t delete them after import then they still reside on your phone. Same goes for things like documents, emails, and videos. If one of your devices fails it is a good idea to see if you can retrieve any lost information from another device.


What size should I choose?
Choosing a storage size for your backup can be a confusing task. Megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes sound similar and are often confused for one or the other. Most options come in either gigabytes or terabytes as they are affordable and have a capacity that can house most types of files.

The first thing to consider is how much space you are using. In order to find this information you will need to consult the storage settings on your device. If you use Mac OS X then the information can be found by going into the About this Mac setting and navigating to the storage section. If you are on iOS (iPhone or iPad) you can go to settings, then general, then manage storage to see how much you are using.

It is a good idea to buy more storage than you need. If you have a 500 gigabyte drive on your computer and you’re using 400 then you need at least a 500 gigabyte size back up option. By ensuring you have enough space to back up your whole hard drive you don’t have to buy two drives. If you have multiple devices then you may need to adjust accordingly.

Some useful information:
  • 1 Gigabyte = 1024 Megabytes
  • 1 Terabyte = 1024 Gigabytes
  • A 1 Terabyte drive can roughly fit equivalent of 200,000 songs, or 500 hours of movies, or 310,000 photos, or 85,899,345 pages of plain text documents.


Which option should I choose?
It’s a matter of personal preference as each option has it’s own benefit. An assessment of your lifestyle and needs may help you decide. Individuals who travel often times enjoy cloud storage while those who don’t travel sometimes enjoy physical drive back ups.


Backing up in Mac OSX
Apple makes backing up your computer very simple with a program called Time Machine. Time Machine utilizes a physical drive and automatically backs up your computer for you every hour or when changes are made.

To set up Time Machine navigate to your System Preferences>Time Machine and select the disk you would like to back up on. Then sit back and enjoy some time to yourself while your Mac backs up automatically.

Using iCloud as a back up on Mac is very simple as well. To set up iCloud go to System Preferences>iCloud and sign in. Once you are signed in, select what you would like backed up and let your Mac do the rest. iCloud will not back up every single file like Time Machine will but it will back up the most important things like photos and documents.


Backing Up on iOS
To back up on iOS you have two options that are provided to you from Apple.
To back up to iCloud navigate to Settings>iCloud>Backups. From here, tap back up now and your device will take care of the rest. To back up to iTunes you first need a computer that has iTunes installed on it. Next plug your device in and select it in the upper left hand corner of iTunes. There will be an option here that says Back Up Now. Click it and your device will do the rest. Once you have selected either of these options your device will automatically back up to either iCloud or iTunes.

Come down to your local Simply Store and ask a staff member about backing up and what you can do to secure your data!

Spring Clean your Mac

Spring Clean your Mac

By Barry Donnelly

Back by popular demand, this week is our Mac Health Checkup with Bonus Malware removal. With Spring just around the corner, it is a great time to bring your computer into your local Simply Computing store and get our Apple certified technicians to run a comprehensive analysis on your system. They will also recommend suitable options to help you enhance the performance of your computer.

There are a number of issues that our technicians regularly encounter when performing a Checkup.

No Storage
This is one of the most common issues our technicians encounter when completing a Checkup for our customers. When your hard drive gets full your computer’s performance suffers. Because there is always a steady stream of information switching between your RAM and disk storage when your storage gets low your OS cannot operate efficiently and this is when you can sometimes lead to your computer being unresponsive or perhaps you may start to see the spinning rainbow beachball.

No Backup
This is another common issue that they encounter and this scares me a lot. Just think if you woke up tomorrow morning and could not access any information on your computer, how would you feel???

I believe that having a backup of your most important information is essential. Given that we rely on our computers and mobile devices so much the thought of losing all my photos, contacts, music, and documents really worries me. If you don’t currently have a backup talk to one of our staff in store and they will ensure you get a solution that is right for you.

While we do have the ability to attempt to recover lost files this is an expensive and timely process whereas the option of purchasing a backup hard drive is significantly less.

No Memory
If you like to run a number of programs simultaneously or even if you have numerous Word, Excel and PDF’s all open at the same time this is going to really slow things down. Each window requires memory to store and processing power to deal with it. You have 2 options either close a significant amount of your windows or if you really need them perhaps look into getting more RAM installed. The increased amount of RAM will help improve the overall performance of your computer

If any of these sound familiar to you it is best to call into your local store and arrange for our certified technicians to complete a CheckUp.

Don’t Bin it, Recycle it!

Don’t Bin it, Recycle it!

By Barry Donnelly

According to the Electronic Products Recycling Association( EPRA.ca) over 80% of Canadians, who took part in a poll, indicated that they have at least one end-of-life electronics device not in use at home.

It is vital that end-of-life and unwanted electronics do not end up in a landfill. We all have a part to play to ensure that these electronics (computers, TV’s, cell phones, monitors etc) do not end up in a landfill. These electronics are made with a number of heavy metals and synthetic materials which do not break down safely in a landfill environment.

That is why it is important to understand the different options that are available to you when you want to dispose of your old electronic devices.


Recycling Fact:
Through its many programs, the EPRA keeps 100,000 metric tonnes of old electronics out of landfill each year. That’s the equivalent of 20,000 Elephants.


Upcycle or Reuse It!
Upcycling is defined as a way to reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a new products or materials of better quality or for better environmental value.

Some examples of Upcycling that I have come across is using an old computer monitor as a fish tank, use an old cell phone as an emergency only device, make jewelry from old computer parts (check out http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Jewelry-From-Computer-Parts/ if you don’t believe me).




Gift It!
You could ask family or friends if they have a need for a particular device that you do not need anymore.


Sell It!
There are numerous websites and apps available that you can post on to try to sell your old equipment. However, this can lead to some headaches when trying to arrange to meet up with a person who wants to buy your device. Maybe check the website first for similar products and see if it is worthwhile listing your device before going through the process.

If you decide to make the decision to upgrade your computer or iPad call into one of our store locations and our staff will be happy to provide you with a trade-in quote. It’s somewhat easier and plus you can use the amount towards a new computer.

Don’t worry if you cannot make it into store – click here to get a quote.


Donate It!
Another good option is to see if any local charities could find a good use for them.


Recycle It!
If all of the above is not possible, ensure you properly dispose of your e-waste. You can dispose any of your unwanted computers, cell phones, monitors, laptop batteries at any of our store locations. You can also check to see where your closest EPRA Drop-Off Centre is by clicking here.

Speed Dating Tips for your Mac

Speed Dating with Your Mac this Valentine’s Day

By Barry Donnelly

With love in the air this week I wanted to give you some  “Speed Dating Tips” on how you can get to know your Mac better.  I cannot promise that it will love you back but I think this could be an instance of acceptable unrequited love.

Spotlight Tool

This is something that many people already know about but given that it is something I use on a daily basis I wanted to mention it.
This feature can be launched by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the top right-hand corner of your screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut of Command (⌘)-Spacebar. A text field will then appear on the screen (usually appears in the top-right portion of the screen). Just type what you would like to find and your Mac will provide a list of results it deems relevant. Bonus Tip – The spotlight tool is also a calculator so if you require an answer to a math equation this is perfect for you.

Add Emojis everywhere 😍💘💚💝

With emojis becoming even more popular here is a quick tip to add them anywhere you wish. Press Control-Command (⌘)-Spacebar and you will be presented with a wide range of emojis. Here are some pop songs explained using emojis, see if you can guess the name?
  1. 🚀👨
  2. 💰💰🚜
  3. 👋👋👋
  4. 👬🚫🙅⬅💏
  5. ⬆️🍷
Answers are at the end of the post.

Instant Screenshots

There are a number of apps available that will assist you when you need to take screenshots but the options built into your Mac are more than capable of providing you with instant screenshots. If you want to take a snapshot of a portion of your screen, press Command (⌘)-Shift-4. Your cursor will turn into a plus sign which can they use to click and drag down to the right. Once you release your hold, it will create a snapshot of your selection. There is also an option to take a snapshot of your entire screen just press Command (⌘)-Shift-3. There is one more option if you wish to take a snapshot of a single window that you have open. Press Command (⌘)-Shift-4 and hit the spacebar. Your screen will turn blue and your cursor will turn into a camera icon. Move this icon to the window which you would like to take a snapshot of and click on it. Any screenshot that you take will be saved and will appear on your desktop.  

Gesture Controls

With the use of your trackpad, you can swipe, tap, pinch or spread one or more fingers to perform a wide range of useful controls. While everybody uses their computer differently I will give my 3 most useful ones. Look Up and Data Detectors: Tap with three fingers to look up a word or take other actions with dates, addresses, phone numbers and other data.



Swipe between Full-Screen apps: Swipe left or right with four fingers to move between desktops and full-screen apps. Depending on the macOS this control may only require 3 fingers.



Swipe between pages: All this requires is for you to swipe left or right with 2 fingers to show the previous or next page.



For more information on the range of gestures that are available go to System Preferences>Trackpad and you can turn on or off different gestures. It will also show you what gestures work with your Mac.




Easily move Files to the Trash

This is may seem like a simple one but there are a lot of people who are unaware of this little trick. It’s also a very good time saver. Rather than spending lots of time dragging files to the trash all you need to do is select the file you wish to delete and then press Command (⌘)-Delete. This will be moved to the trash and if you select a file by accident just press Command (⌘)-Z and it will undo the last thing you did.

There are a number of different shortcuts included and explained in the above post but there are many more that you may find useful. If you would like to learn more of them I would recommend purchasing the Shortcut Keyboard Protector that is available in all our stores and online.

Emoji Pop Song Answers:
  1. Rocket Man (Elton John)
  2. Gold Digger ( Kayne West)
  3. Bye, Bye, Bye (N-Sync)
  4. We are never ever getting back together ( Taylor Swift)
  5. Raise Your Glass (Pink)

iPad Pro 9.7″ – The Perfect Gift

ipad-pro9-7 iPad Pro 9.7″ – The Perfect Gift

By Brandon Marnier, Simply Computing Kelowna

With the Holidays just around the corner, we thought that it would be a good time to take a closer look at the new iPad Pro 9.7 inch model.

At its core, the iPad Pro 9.7 boasts Apple’s A9X chip with 64-bit architecture and an embedded M9 coprocessor. This is the fastest processing chip that Apple has released for its iPad product line to date and coupled with 2GB of onboard RAM it packs a serious punch. Clocking in at almost double the speed of the iPad Air 2 the iPad Pro 9.7 is a great upgrade for any tablet user.

Cameras and Sound

Capturing memories on an iPad have never looked better. With a 12-megapixel iSight Camera, auto image stabilization, and a True Tone flash pictures on the iPad Pro 9.7 look crisp and clear. The iPad Pro 9.7 also features 4K video recording at 30 frames per second and a Live Photos option that lets you see the before and after moments of a picture. When watching videos or movies the iPad Pro 9.7 is a great option. Four speakers provide an unparalleled surround sound experience and the retina display looks better than ever.

Smart Connector

The iPad Pro 9.7 doesn’t just rely on its hardware though; it also has new features that make it an attractive option. The new Smart Connector allows the iPad Pro 9.7 to connect directly to Apple’s Smart Keyboard. The Smart keyboard eschews the traditional Bluetooth technology that most keyboards offer. Instead it acts similarly to a USB keyboard, providing a reliable and fast connection using the power of the iPad instead of rechargeable/replaceable batteries. ipad-pro2

Apple Pencil

The new Apple Pencil is where the iPad Pro 9.7 really shines, though. When connected to the iPad Pro, via Bluetooth, the Apple Pencil gives you extreme precision over your screen down to a single pixel. When the iPad Pro detects the Apple Pencil it utilizes its subsystem scan reading the signal 240 times per second. This allows it to detect subtle differences in pressure, angle, and position providing the most responsive feedback possible.

Creating art or running a business on an iPad is now more of a possibility than ever. In applications, such as Apple’s Notes, you can use the Apple Pencil to draw using a selection of different tools or write down notes as a presentation is being given. With other third party applications you can go even further and create paintings, sketches, and you can even sign and create documents. With the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, the iPad Pro 9.7 is like having an art studio or an office in your hand.


Coming in Wi-Fi and Cellular models in Silver, Space Grey, Gold, and Rose Gold with storage options of 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB, the iPad Pro 9.7 offers something for everyone. With options starting as low as $799 now is a great time to start thinking about switching or upgrading to the iPad.

Drop into your local Simply Computing store today and ask our staff for a demo.

USB-C Accessories: How to get connected

usb-accessories USB-C Accessories: How to get connected

By Barry Donnelly

One of the most common questions we have heard since the release of the new MacBook Pro is “How will I connect my… (hard drive, iPhone, USB Flash Drive, SD Card, external monitor) to it?” The launch of the new MacBook Pro unveiled some fantastic new features but one that really caught everyone’s attention was how thin and light the new models were (the 13-inch model is smaller than the MacBook Air 13-inch). In order to get the new models even slimmer, sacrifices had to be made so now we have a MacBook Pro with 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) on the 13-inch with no Touch Bar and 4 ports on the Touch Bar versions. The 3 new models  have the same ports as each other but these ports are totally different to the ports that are on whatever laptop you are using now. More and more companies are manufacturing laptops and phones that include a USB Type-C port and this appears to be becoming the industry standard and it is going to get harder and harder to avoid. One thing to note is that USB Type-C connections are reversible which will allow you to plug the cable in any direction you try. I am sure we have all had issues trying to plug a USB Flash Drive or Micro USB cable into a device and had issues. I, for one, am happy about this. There is a lot of information available about what adapters and cables should be purchased if you need to connect your new MacBook Pro to X, Y, and Z. The accessories below are selected to help make your connectivity experience with your new MacBook Pro seamless and easy.

USB Type A

This is your standard USB cable which you currently use to connect/sync a multitude of devices. There is an Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter available for only $10.99 which will allow you  to connect one USB-A device to your computer. This will be perfect if you use a hard drive for backups or if you want to sync your iPhone to your computer. This is probably going to be one of the most common accessories people will need. usb-c-to-usb-adapter-screen1 If you want multiple USB-A ports the best option would be to use a USB-C to USB-A hub. Available in our stores is the JCPAL LiNX USB-C to 4 port USB 3.0 hub. This is the perfect device if you wish to connect various devices (Hard drive, printer, iPhone & USB Flash drive) to your computer at the same time. There is also an adapter available from tmd which will allow you to connect 3 x USB 3.0 ports and 1 x Gigabit Ethernet.tmdgeusbx3

Lightning Cables

If you have multiple iOS devices and you would like to connect them directly to your computer you have 2 options.  
  • You can use the USB-C to USB-A adapter which will allow you to connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer using the Lightning cables that came included with your devices
  • There are 1m and 2m versions of Lightning to USB-C cables available which will allow direct connectivity.
usb-c_to_lightingcable_1m-4

Video Out: HDMI & VGA

There are separate Apple HDMI and VGA adapters that will allow you to connect to an external display while also providing you with a single USB-A port and another USB-C port which can be used for charging (you may not need this additional USB-C port on but it’s handy to have). The Digital AV Multiport adapter port will allow you to mirror your MacBook Pro to your HDTV or HD Display in up to 1080p at 60Hz or UHD (3840×2160) at 30Hz. The VGA Multiport adapter will allow you to mirror your computer display to you VGA-enabled TV or display in up to 1080p HD. If you have a 4K HDTV or HD Display and would like to your new MacBook to it, the Kanex USB-C to HDMI 4K adapter is the perfect solution for you. This adapter just contains the one port but is ideal if you require 4K connectivity. usb-c-vga-multiport-adapter-3

While you may be frustrated with the lack of connectivity options on the new MacBook Pro, the industry is moving towards these type of ports. It is only a matter of time before more and more devices adopt the USB-C format. The adapters listed above should provide ample connectivity options whether you are always on the move or if you like to use your computer as a desktop replacement. Click here to view all USB-C cables and adapters available in our stores.