Sunday, January 09, 2022

Converting from Aperture to Apple Photos: Personal results

I've begun early experiments in converting from Aperture to Apple photos. I've not found any good user descriptions of the process. This post will be updated as I do experiments or use the results of experiments to refine my searches.

Trial 1/9/2022

For my first trial I created a new project from a single JPG image and one version using Aperture under Mojave. I copied it to an Intel Air running Monterey 12.1 and opened it in Photos.

Photos said it could not open the Aperture library. It did not say why.

I then regenerated full sized previews per Apple's directions and I tried again. This time the import proceeded. I could see the Version of my original photo but not the original. I then chose Revert to Original and Photos displayed the original image. Then I tried "Undo Revert" but that did nothing. My Version was lost.

Opening the package I could see a file in the originals folder named with a GUID and a .jpeg extension. It had a size of 2.3MB which is the size of the Aperture original.

I tried to repeat the process but Photos declared that "the content of the Aperture library ... has already been migrated to Photos". The famous léonie of Apple forums explained - the conversion process changes the extension to "migratedphotolibrary", I renamed the extension to .photolibrary and I was able to repeat the import process.

On repeating I saw my Version image. I then tried to edit it and got this message:

"Cannot Start Editing Photos cannot edit this image because it uses an unsupported format"

I explored the new Photos library (Package Contents) and could not find any JPG other than my original. I am puzzled as to how Photos generated the version I could see.

There does not appear to be any way to see the original image other than by reverting to original -- which cannot be undone. There also doesn't seen to be any indication that an original exists! (This appears to be a global Photos problem however).

If one wanted to see both a Version and the Original one would need to export from the Version rendering then open that in Preview, revert to Original, then compare.


Friday, January 07, 2022

How to remote (push) install a xbox store purchase to xbox from Mac

I couldn't find out how to push an xbox game install to the console with Google searches. Here's what I learned on my own.

  1. Go to xbox store.
  2. Login
  3. From profile picture choose 'My Microsoft Account
  4. Click Order History
  5. Click on appropriate order
  6. The bold text below the order number is actually a link. It's evidently a secret
  7. Click on the link (Resident Evil ...)
  8. You'll the item description in the store. There's a button to push install.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Family sharing screen time bug: a fix for ghost apps

I'm happy to say I actually fixed a bug in the buggiest apple product ever - family sharing screen time.

The "always allowed" app list showed "ghost apps" -- left over apps from old versions of iOS like Find Friend. They appeared with a generic icon.

Removing my son from the family then adding him back in removed the ghost apps.

One bug down, dozens remain.

Update: Nope, the fix was transitory. Ghost apps back again. Screen Time is such a cluster.

Update: Ok, this might be the real fix. His Apple ID had 3 associated devices -- and iPad, and iPhone and a macOS user account on an old machine running maybe Sierra.  I removed the obsolete macOS relationship from his Apple ID on the web site, but it had to be remove again on his iPad.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Apple Mac App Store: "Unable to download item. Please try again later": The problem may be that you are not the purchaser.

I was logged into my admin account on my daughter's Big Sur Air and saw the usual nag to update Apps. When I tried though I got  "Unable to download item. Please try again later."

It never works to try again later. This is a typically useless Apple error message produced when something has gone wrong with their complex FairPlay DRM authentication. There are a range of fixes that Google shows but, even after I figured out the bug (a design fail of this sort is a bug) I couldn't find anything that explained the fix [1]. So here you go!

The problem happens on a multi-user Mac with multiple admins installing software using different Apple Store Apple IDs. It might also require that automatic updates are not enabled and it might require that Family Sharing is enabled.

Every admin gets notification of a pending update, but only the FairPlay determined DRM owner can actually successfully do the update. Other admins who try get the useless error message.

The fix on Big Sur's Mac App Store is to cast your gaze down to the bottom left corner of the App Store window. There you see a user name. Click on the user name and you'll see an "Account" screen. At the top of the "Account" screen is a "Purchased by" drop down with the user name of every family sharing member [1]. Switch between Accounts here to find who has the "update" for the problem app. Then update. Continue until all apps are updated.

It will be interesting to see if this is handled better in Monterey. I can imagine several potential fixes!

[1] As every Old will repeat ad nauseam, the Google web was much better 20 years ago.

Friday, November 19, 2021

How to mitigate SMS spam in iOS 15: filter unknown AND disable notifications for unknown senders

I do not understand why it took Apple so long to do basic management of text message (SMS) spam. I don't understand why the solution appeared over two releases. I don't get why the implementation is so obscure. And I don't get why I had to write this; even knowing the two necessary settings I can't find a good article on it. Apple's own documentation doesn't mention disabling notifications.

Anyway, as of iOS 15 you can finally turn off notifications for SMS sent from an unrecognized number. This is in addition to iOS 14 enabling sorting of unrecognized number SMS into a separate tab. (I think iOS 13 you could only filter iMessages, which is basically useless.)

First enable "Filter Unknown Senders". Unrecognized SMS messages go into a separate tab.

Second turn off notifications for unknown senders
You still get SMS spam but it doesn't interrupt you and it's hidden away.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Using Apple Locator devices (AirTags) with an older iPhone

AirTags will work with older iPhones but things are a little different. 

The trick is that they work by Bluetooth with a range of about 20 to 30 feet. The last known location showing in Find My tells you roughly where they are. The next step is to try activating the sound feature. If you see that it's working you know the lost AirTag is within about 20 to 30 feet. If it doesn't work keep moving until you start to see it working. Now you can try to listen for the sound. It can be faint. It's also short-lived. You may have to keep tapping the sound icon. Eventually you'll find the missing AirTag.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Safari on US Bank: "our system is not cooperating"

For the last few days when my wife entered into M1 Big Sur 10.4.2 and 10.5.1 Safari she immediately received the error message: 

Our system is not cooperating

Try connecting again 

She can access the US Bank site from a different user account using Safari on her machine. She can also get to it from from Chrome in her account. Edge didn't work at all -- it just hung.

I tried deleting Safari Cache and deleting all US Bank associated cookies/data. No change. I tried a Private window - no luck. I tried changing DNS provider - no help. I tried removing ALL Safari cache and cookie and other data - no change. I tried with our 1Password extension enabled and disabled.

So for now she's using Chrome. There's something wrong with either Safari or something deeper in her user profile but I don't know where to look next.

Unable to print from Chrome on macOS Mojave - use Cmd-Opt-P to print using system dialog

Over the the past year Google made several changes to macOS Chrome printing including hiding the "print using system dialog" option and removing their Cloud printing. I rarely use Chrome and almost never print from it so I ignored these changes. Sadly I recently discovered I was unable to print from Chrome on macOS Mojave. The error message is:

The selected printer is not available or not installed correctly. 

Check your printer or try selecting another printer.

A Google search found several reports but no good fix. Reinstalling Chrome didn't help.

There is a workaround. It turns out there's still a way to print using the system dialog. Cmd-Opt-P or holding option key and choosing Print from file menu brings up the system dialog. That works.

I don't know if this bug is Mojave specific. The workaround is good enough for me, I dislike Chrome in general. At some point I'll try Edge for macOS.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Calendars 5 for iOS: how to use Apple Contacts to complete attendee list

Calendars 5 for iOS makes Google Calendar useable -- at a fraction of the cost of Fantastical. It reminds me of PalmOS DateBk 5 and 6.

For me the main flaw is that it uses Google Contacts for the attendee names and emails. I keep my Contacts in Apple Contacts.

Turns out that if you include at least 1 local Calendar it will also use Apple Contacts. Birthdays works for this. So I included that.

This should be a setting, but I'm glad to to know of the workaround via Calendars tech support.

MindNode for iOS: how to fold a node

I like MindNode (mind mapping tool) for iOS but the UI can be opaque. I couldn't figure out how to easily collapse a tree branch ("fold a node"); I had to dig through a painful menu every time. I knew there had to be a better way but the documentation and Google were no help.

There are two better ways.

1. In settings turn on the edit menu. Then when you tap a node you see an edit menu with 'fold' as a choice. (MindNode on Twitter told me that one)

2 If the edit menu is off in settings then tap once to select a node and then tap again to see the edit menu. (Don't double tap, that doesn't work.)

I hope this helps someone. Adding some terms to help with search: gesture, tap, iOS, MindNode, tree, branch, collapse, fold, close, iPhone.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Getting photos from iPhone (iCloud) to Lightroom, Aperture and other non-Photos products

(Original 1/31/2021, updated 7/25/2021)

Apple's approach to photography is to keep everything in iCloud and to view or edit the images from a macOS or iOS device running (there's also some limited web browser access). There's some limited ability to share albums between family members and other groups, but this has been a mess for years and I'm not sure what parts of it are available in which versions of macOS.

This approach doesn't work very well if you want to mange your photo Library outside of How do you keep track of what you've have reviewed and exported within no longer tracks what's on the iPhone vs. what's in iCloud; there's no easy way to know what's not been imported if you don't delete all iCloud images.

This is what I do now:

In Mojave create smart folder for all photos that lack keyword of “Exported”

In on iOS or macOS

1. Clean up bursts

In Photos. app on macOS (Mojave for me)

1. Start from my macOS account

2. First pass cleanup in Photos

3. Select all images in Unexported and export as original (I export IPTC as XMP but not sure that’s useful)

4. Assign all images keyword of Exported

In Finder

1. Remove all the small .mov files that come with Apple’s live images.

Now Import into Aperture. Every so often I purge what's in iCloud, the real home is Aperture and its many backups.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Unable to update date of birth associated with an Apple ID: "... could not be changed because of a server error"

You can't change the date of birth or family relationship of an Apple ID with a calculated age of less than 13 years old. Otherwise it's supposed to be possible to change the date of birth associated with an Apple ID. I've done it before (for good reasons).

Recently I decided to get #2 child an Apple credit card. Since banks take birth dates seriously I decided I needed to correct his before applying. It didn't work!

This is what his birthday looks like on his Apple ID web page (same as in his iOS devices):

When I edit it to 4/2/1999 I get this message as expected:

The next step is an email sent to the (we're old customers, pre-icloud) associated with my Apple ID:
Can you see what's weird in this email? It says the change will convert his account to a child account. But the current date makes him 17, the correction makes him 22. The email should say it's being converted to an adult account.

When I click on "approve request" I get:

Cannot change date of birth.
The date of birth for ___ could not be changed because of a server error. Try again.

I started an Apple Chat Support ticket on this a week ago. After the usual back and forth I was escalated twice and ended up with a senior advisor (not sure of his title).  After a bit of work and repetition I was told a ticket had been sent to engineering to fix the birth date and I'd hear back the next day.

It's been a week. I've not heard back. I'll try a chat again tomorrow. Fortunately I have my original ticket number.

I suspect his account entry is somehow corrupted and possibly mixed with another account. Otherwise I wonder if this is a side-effect of Apple introducing family credit cards; maybe once I got an Apple credit card all the family birth dates were locked as a side-effect.

This is going to be a painful slog with no certainty of success.

UPDATE 7/13/2021: After hearing nothing back I called again and was again escalated from chat support to phone support to "senior advisor". Senior advisor said engineering had responded and said it was not actually possible to change date of birth on a child account. I believe that is wrong, it contradicts Apple's documentation saying it should be possible to change for over 13. I have asked that it be reescalated and attach the tech support ref: HT204164.

I reserved a time to call back in 3 days and was told I'd get a link to enable a direct call to a senior advisor.

Update 7/24/2021: Support didn't call back on the date they'd promised. There's still a server error. As noted above Support seemed unaware of the contents of HT204164. 

I'm going to have to give up on fixing this for now. I'll try again in a few months, maybe by then Apple will know how to fix the problem. I suspect it's something in their database design that will require serious work to fix. I also suspect their support team is dealing with post-COVID stress syndrome.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Apple Card for Families: non-owners have a $250/transaction limit but no cap on total spend

Turns out when you enable Apple Card for a non-owner family member they have a max transaction limit of $250 but no total cap (can spend to owner credit limit). I thought the transaction limit would be much higher AND I thought there would be a total spending cap.

It's less useful than I expected.

Update: You can set a number for total spend notification and you can lock at any time. The $250 limit per transaction is a hard maximum though. Too low.

Disk Utility First Aid problem in Mojave: Working around the Disk Locked bug

If you've used Disk Utility in Mojave APFS you know it's become much more complex than HPFS days. Recently I tried running it from the Recovery start and got a Disk Locked error that said I needed to wipe the drive and reformat. I couldn't find any fix for this on Google.

This did fix it:

1. I rebooted into macOS and ran Disk Utility from there.

2. I rebooted back into the Recovery mode and this time the disk was not locked.

I don't know what did the trick. Maybe all I had to do was go back into normal boot and then back to Disk Utility, but I think I tried that and it wasn't sufficient. I had to run Disk Utility from macOS.

I suspect a safe boot might have worked too. Anyway, the point is, if you're stuck and you find this post it's fixable.

PS. This isn't about mounting an encrypted disk.

Apple ID problem: sharing iTunes Apple ID in two factor world means authentication requests go to one of many possible devices

In the old days, before family sharing, families shared purchases by sharing an iTunes Apple ID while using their own Apple ID for services.

Now that we've moved to 2FA for iTunes Apple ID there's a new problem with this.

Authentication requests go to one of the devices that uses that shared iTunes Apple ID. Just one. Usually the wrong one.