Sunday, July 25, 2021

Getting photos from iPhone (iCloud) Photos.app 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 Photos.app (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 Photos.app. How do you keep track of what you've have reviewed and exported within Photos.app? Photos.app 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 Photos.app create smart folder for all photos that lack keyword of “Exported”

In Photos.app on iOS or macOS

1. Clean up bursts

In Photos. app on macOS (Mojave for me)

1. Start Photos.app 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 me.com (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 me.com 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.