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Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

How does one search for past MacFixIt articles, and can you run iPhone applications on a Mac? Here we answer these and other questions from MacFixIt readers.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week people wrote in with questions about how best to search for past MacFixIt articles, an iPhone not properly controlling Keynote, external drives not formatting, resetting a blank Admin password, and how to run iPhone and iPad applications on the Mac. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present answers here, we welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your own suggestions in the comments.

Question: Searching for past MacFixIt articles
MacFixIt reader "lloyd" asks:

Is there a way to search f or info from the MacFixIt database? When I use the "Search CNET" feature I seem to just get ads for products for sale.

CNET's search is not the best for finding MacFixIt articles. What I recommend people use is a Google search similar to the following (replacing "SEARCH QUERY" with the words and phrases of your search):


This will search for pages with the word MacFixIt on them and limit the search to the CNET site. Optionally, you can limit the search to "" instead of "," which will further narrow the results to the MacFixIt site, but this is usually not necessary.

Question: iPhone unable to control Keynote presentations
MacFixIt reader Juan asks:

I've tried to link my iPhone to my new Air 11, but it always gives me error in the end. It is the only easy way to remote-control a Keynote presentation!

Try consulting Apple's support article on setting up the Keynote Remote app. However, if this isn't sufficient and you can't use Keynote because of a router configuration problem or other error you can't figure out, then you might still be able to use a presenter remote, such as these you can find on

The iPhone app is the only Apple-supported method for running Keynote. There are also a few other third-party iPhone/iPad apps for controlling presentations that you can try and that are available in the App Store.

Question: External drive unable to write to last block
MacFixIt reader Steve asks:

My external disk drive will not erase or partition. Disk Utility gives me a message "Unable to write to the last block of the device."

This sounds like a hardware fault in the drive, particularly the portion that is used for storing the partition tables. My only recommendations are to either try formatting it on another system, preferably a system running another OS like Windows, or to use a tool like Drive Genius to check the disk for errors. However, it's likely that you will need to replace the drive.

Question: Resetting a blank Admin password
MacFixIt reader Moji asks:

When we were initially setting up our MacBook Pro, my wife left the pasword for the administrator blank. Since then we cannot get into Accounts to change the blank password. Every time we try, the preferences window freezes.

You should be able to set the password for any local account on the system (admin or otherwise) using Apple's password reset tool. If you are using Snow Leopard or earlier then see the "Installation DVD" section of this article. If you are using OS X Lion, then see this article.

Question: Running iPhone and iPad apps on a Mac
MacFixIt reader "iligili1" asks:

How can I run iPhone apps on Mac?

The simple answer to this is you can't. They're built for a different OS and hardware architecture than the Mac. Apple does distribute an iOS simulator application as part of its Xcode developer tools, which technically should be able to run iPhone and iPad apps, though this environment is solely provided to run locally compiled applications and will not run any that are downloaded from the App Store or obtained elsewhere.

Questions? Comments? Have a fix? Post them below or e-mail us!
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