Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

Responses to reader questions about rolling back Safari versions in OS X, and more.


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

This week readers wrote in with questions about how to roll back to a previous version of Safari after experiencing compatibility issues with a newer version, how Time Machine manages full backups in multidisk setups, and concerns about both Mail syncing errors and security with e-mail account names being shown. I welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!

Question: Rolling back to a previous version of Safari
MacFixIt reader Clark asks:

When I went into my Yahoo.com mail, I was asked to update Safari. When I went to the page it showed that the update/upgrade was for Mountain Lion. I have Snow Leopard on my machine, which is not compatible with Mountain Lion due to the configuration of my computer with the Intel Core Duo processor. Yahoo then asked me to return to the last Safari used for mail, which I clicked on and it was not the same Safari as seen in the 5.1.7 version used for Yahoo. How can I uninstall the older version of Safari in Yahoo and return to the proper version?

Unfortunately you cannot downgrade Safari once you have installed a newer version, since in OS X Safari installs and updates many core aspects of the OS. Your best bet will be to use an alternative browser such as Firefox or Chrome. If you do want to downgrade, you will need to roll back your entire OS installation using a recent Time Machine backup that contains the desired Safari version.

Question: Managing full backups with multidisk Time Machine setups
MacFixIt reader Ian asks:

If you have multiple disks [configured with Time Machine] and it does a backup does it back up everything to that disk since the last time the disk was used or just from the last backup, which could have been on another disk.

The backup picks up where where that disk was last used. For example, if you have equal and updated backups on both drives, and then modify a document, the document will first be backed up to the first drive, and when Time Machine runs again it will be backed up to the second drive. This ensures that regardless of what drive is used, the latest backup be a full representation of your system that can be restored if needed.

Question: Concerns about Mail syncing errors and security with e-mail accounts being shown
MacFixIt reader Jerry asks:

For the second time in a month or 6 weeks Mail has changed the name on my primary mailbox to my Apple ID password. It's there in the Mailboxes side panel for anyone to see anytime Mail is in front! How about someone who may read email at work or in some other public place?

Further, Mail has begun putting general e-mail in mailboxes designated for mail from specific senders. It has begun creating new mailboxes which, usually, duplicate the function of existing mailboxes. It then puts some mail in the new box and part in the existing (original) mailbox. Syncing has never been 100 percent accurate. Mail shows up on one computer and not the other, for example.

I don't need a fancy e-mail client (VIP stuff for instance). I need a client which will filter messages to the proper mailbox, minimize SPAM, and allow me to read, send, reply, and forward my e-mail messages. Do you have any thoughts about this problem or any suggestions about a simpler, more controllable e-mail client for me to use?

Aside from Webmail options like Gmail, the popular full and currently supported e-mail clients for OS X are Mail and Outlook. Mozilla's Thunderbird is not being actively developed anymore. There are some alternatives like Sparrow and MailMate, but they are a bit limited in their offerings. However, you can try them out to see if they will meet your needs.

The problems you are experiencing primarily sound like syncing errors for Mail, which may be from any of your configured Mail clients. Unfortunately this issue can happen with any e-mail clients, and not just Mail. My approach would be to remove the accounts from all e-mail clients except one, and then configure that one client to work properly. Then add them back one-by one and test each accordingly. Mail should be able to serve the purposes you need.

As for Mail account names, for Apple's iCloud service you can set them in the iCloud Webmail preferences by going to iCloud.com and logging in, followed by going to the Webmail program and then choosing Preferences from the gear menu. Then click Accounts and ensure you have an alternative to your log-in (i.e., your full name) set in the Full Name field. This name will then propagate to your Mac OS and iOS devices to be used instead of your account name.

If you are concerned about security in public areas, you can set up a screen-lock option in the General section of the Mac's Security system preferences; this will require a password to view the screen and use the system after a set amount of time of inactivity. If you enable the keychain access menu (in the Keychain Access utility's preferences) then you can use this menu to explicitly lock the screen when you leave your system. Another approach to this is to turn on Fast User switching (for older versions of OS X) and then choose Login Window from the user accounts menu whenever you leave your system.

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