A number of owners of Apple's mid-2010 MacBook Pro who have upgraded to OS X 10.8.3 are noticing that systems with dual graphics cards will automatically switch to using the more powerful discrete graphics chip regularly, even when using non-graphics intensive applications like Google Chrome, Dropbox, and Growl. This does not result in crashes or other interruptions in workflow, but it does increase the drain on the systems' battery and result in a shorter working time when not connected to AC power.
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in with questions on fixing a stuck locking mechanism for a MacBook lid, the inability to boot to or otherwise use the Recovery HD partition in OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, and tackling nonspecific slowdowns in OS X. I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Stuck locking mechanism for a MacBook lid MacFixIt reader Dominic asks:The locking mechanism on the lid of … Read more
To upgrade your MacBook's RAM or hard drive, or otherwise work on its interior, you'll need to remove the bottom of the case. This is fairly simple to do with the appropriate screwdriver, but when you reassemble the system, even if you do so with expert precision, you may find that a screw is loose or even missing after a while.
The screws holding the bottom case together are fairly small, and while you can tighten them significantly, slight flexing of the bottom cover and chassis (unavoidable on portable systems) may work them loose over time. Additionally, since … Read more
Transparency in images files can be quite convenient, especially if you need to place the same image over different backgrounds and want it to properly blend in. While having a white or other solid color background may help you view the image on the screen, with this setup if you embed it in a document with a different-color background then the white will stand out as an obtrusive rectangle.
To help reduce this, you can both manually remove backgrounds from images using Apple's Preview application or use a transparent canvas to compile images that already contain transparency.
To create … Read more
Apple's ColorSync technology in OS X uses calibrated profiles of correction curves and other scaling factor information to match the color of various image input and output devices such as monitors, printers, and scanners, so images viewed on them will appear as close as possible.
Most devices will use a factory-provided profile or a generic one to give a close color match, but these often have notable color discrepancies that in some cases you can manage by creating your own profiles. For example, for matching colors across different displays, you can use the Calibrate button in the Color section … Read more
For every application installed on your Mac, OS X will scan its document-handling capabilities and store them in its Launch Services database, which it then uses to pair up document types with the applications that are built to handle them. Therefore, if you install a new image-handling tool on your system, when you right-click image files or get information on them you should see this program be available in the "Open With" section as an optional handling program.
This service is convenient for ensuring that documents can be opened directly from the Finder; however, it assumes you always … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in with questions about Spotlight not being able to find files that are known to exist in a user's account, options for adding 16GB of RAM to oldersystems, and options for troubleshooting and fixing a broken trackpad in a MacBook. I welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Spotlight not finding files MacFixIt reader Mike asks:I can't figure … Read more
Following news of the new adware Web plug-in Trojan found to be affecting OS X systems, Apple has released an XProtect malware definitions update to protect anyone who stumbles across it.
The Trojan, called Yontoo, is initially disguised as a media player or download manager plug-in and distributed on underground file-sharing and movie trailer Web sites. When installed it pretends to be a player called Twit Tube but installs the Yontoo plug-in. This plug-in will work in all Web browsers to track your browsing behaviors and then present ads on legitimate Web sites.
Unlike other malware that can hide itself … Read more
Apple's Mail e-mail client supports a number of different messaging protocols including POP and IMAP, but if you convert an existing account from POP to IMAP then you may run into a problem in which e-mails are longer saved on the server.
MacFixIt reader Bruce recently wrote in with such a situation:I have recently tried to convert my wife's AOL email from POP to IMAP. I did this by adding a new account in Mail. When she sends messages with the new account, the sent messages do not show up on the server, even though I have … Read more
Security company Dr. Web is reporting on a new adware Trojan attack that is targeting Mac users, where malicious Web sites will trick users into installing a plugin that will track your browsing and display ads to you.
The malware, called "Yontoo," will be first encountered as a media player, download manager, or other plug-in requirement for viewing contents on some maliciously crafted Web sites disguised as sources for file sharing and movie trailers. When the plug-in prompt is clicked, you're redirected to a site that downloads the Trojan installer and requires you to run it. The … Read more