Thursday, December 01, 2022

Family Sharing: all charges go to Family Organizer - UNLESS there's an Apple Account balance

One of the drawbacks of Family Sharing is all charges go to the Family Organizer. Even if a family member has a payment method stored in their Apple Account it won't be used. When I look at my son's purchase history in iTunes I see that his recent music purchases have been billed to me. Apple's Support article is clear about this:

Which payment method is charged for purchases that family members make?

When Purchase Sharing is turned on, everyone's purchases bill to the family organizer's payment method.* If there's an issue with the payment method, the family organizer can update their payment method or add a new one.

If you're the family organizer and you don't want to share a payment method with your family, turn off purchase sharing. When purchase sharing is turned off, you can continue to share subscriptions like Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade. When Purchase Sharing is turned off, everyone must use their own payment method.

But this isn't true. My son's recent charges didn't appear on my credit card even though, as noted above, his purchase history says I paid for them.

It turns out there's an asterisk in the above paragraph. I think that was added recently. The asterisk points to a different support article:

Some purchases aren’t charged to your Apple Account balance

If you're in a Family Sharing group, purchases that you make are charged to your personal Apple Account balance. If you don't have enough Apple Account balance to pay for the purchase, the remainder is charged to the family organizer if purchase sharing is turned on.

Yes, that excerpt is internally contradictory! Ignore the heading, the key information is sort-of here: "If you're in a Family Sharing group, purchases that you make are charged to your personal Apple Account balance."

Basically the Apple Account balance is always used first regardless of Family Sharing status. Whatever exceeds that balance is charged to the primary payment method; for a family the primary payment method is always the credit card of the Family Organizer.

So this suggests that if you want charges to go to a family member rather than a family member, you use their primary payment method to create an Apple Account balance and then enable auto-reload.

Even when the payment is through the personal Apple Account balance the Purchase history will show that the purchase was by the Family Organizer. That is a bug. (Apple's purchase history records are a dumpster fire.)

An Apple Account balance can be created through a gift card. But what about using a family member's debit card to add money to their Apple Account? What about using Apple's Auto-reload feature?

Great questions! There's not any good documentation. I don't yet know the answer to the first question, but I did discover what happens with Auto-reload. Even if the family member's debit card is associated with their account the auto-reload will use the Family Organizer's payment method. (In my testing it took over 2 weeks for the first auto-reload charge to actually show on a credit card statement.)

So, what does this mean for those of us who would really like to have family members pay directly for their purchases? So far, not much. If you use auto-reload it may be easier to track the auto-reload payments and not worry about the per-item charges, but that's a small benefit.

That's all I know so far!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Apple Numbers appears to display a + instead of a / or ÷ for the division formula

I'm on Mojave for a while (Aperture) so I get to use an old version of Apple's spreadsheet - Numbers 10.1 (6913). It think this is still true however.

If I type a formula that divides one cell by another the Formula bar shows this:

It is actually doing division, but instead of a / or other operator it seems to displays a +.

If you add the same too numbers the formula  bar shows

A 2015 Discussion post explains the problem. This is an artifact of using Numbers on a non-Retina display with the default Numbers font. The first screenshot is actually a ÷ symbol. It's just super hard to see for an Old person using a non-Retina external monitor. (Did they even have Retina displays in 2015? Maybe Apple Devs had them?)

I suspect it's never been fixed -- so I'm gonna call this a bug. Apple is such a weird company and Numbers is weird even for Apple. There are many things I like about it but every so often something like this shows up. (Also, the Help function reminds me how bad macOS Help is.)

FWIW Numbers has an ePub User Guide and an online User Guide (version 12, but you can tweak the URL and seems to show 10.1).

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Migrating from an Apple Store/iTunes shared media Apple ID to a standard Apple ID configuration

I'm putting this up as a peacekeeper. I hope one day I'll fill it in better, but if you are trying to migrate from a shared Apple ID to each family member having only one Apple ID for both iCloud services and media then you will welcome any information.

First, see my prior post. I'll continue with this convention:

Let's say my iCloud Apple ID was "Sam" and my Media Apple ID was "Linda". So my device Apple ID configuration was Sam/Linda.  After the change it was Sam/Sam. 

I think the migration will more or less work. This is what I did so far, omitting errors and redirections:

  1. Let my Apple Music subscription lapse and cleaned up other subscriptions. These were owned by "Linda".
  2. Subscribed to Apple Music one day after the lapse using Sam. I'd seen hints Apple keeps iCloud media data (playlists) around for at least 1 month post lapse of subscriptions. I can confirm they last at least 1 day.
  3. Changed my devices to be Sam/Sam (maybe this would best be done later)
  4. In iCloud Family Sharing settings opened settings for Sam.  Even though my device might be Sam/Sam when I inspected details on my Family Organizer Apple ID I could see shared access was mediated by Linda. I changed that to Sam in Family Sharing.

I ran into too many issues to enumerate. A few tips:
  1. Changes to media rights seem to take time to be effective. After starting a subscription give it at least 30-60 minutes.
  2. iTunes classic allowed import/export of XML playlist files. These are useless. The key identifier is the track ID so they only have meaning for the Library they came from.
  3. Sharing a playlist by URL from Monterey worked -- but not at first. It got hung up in the subscription translation.
  4. Even after family members had renewed subscription access they needed to do something to get Apple to synchronize. Sometimes this was clicking on the sign-up add for Apple Music then choosing the subtle link for "already have a subscription". Sometimes shutting down and restarting. Sometimes looking at preferences and turning on iCloud library synch. (Sorry, there were so many issues!)
Extra comments
  1. There are two kinds of Playlists - "Apple Music Playlists" and traditional iTunes/Music playlists. I think when you migrate an old iTunes library to Monterey the app turns legacy playlists into Apple Music Playlists. Not 100% sure about this.
  2. I'm not gonna talk about this more, but I'm still running iTunes on Mojave and I'm amazed it works at all. It more or less survived the process. I have future work to do around migrating things out of iTunes on Mojave. (That machine will be an Aperture machine until I migrate that -- an even greater challenge. Then it will likely be replaced.
  3. Post migration it's not clear how to identify what a Family Member purchased from the days of the shared Apple ID. Apple suggests going to; it only goes back 90 days though. Before doing the Apple ID migration the Family Organizer view had data broken down by family member, but after the migration that was very limited.
Update 11/15/2022 - the dreaded Apple ID for purchases". 

Only my #1 son still had the "Linda" Apple ID for purchases (Store, Media). He's on iOS 16.1.1. Even after switching his Media Apple ID to be his iCloud Apple ID, and despite his Settings Family Sharing saying he had access to the Apple Music subscription, both and said he didn't have family sharing access.

I found There are 3 Apple ID settings in iOS, not 2. There's iCloud Apple ID, Media and App Purchase Apple ID, and for the Family Organizer there's also Apple ID:Family Sharing:Purchase Sharing:Purchases:Apple ID for Purchases! The last is not updated when a user changes Media Apple ID. It's a "secondary Apple ID".

I don't think the Apple ID for purchases always exists. On my son's phone it can be changed. On my personal family organizer phone it appears it cannot be changed and it's incorrect. There can be significant timing delays when it's changed, the Done button may appear not to work but on screen refresh it may work.

After I removed the secondary Apple ID for purchases from his phone he was able to access Apple Music. Then I could enable "Sync Library" in Music Settings.

Update 11/18/2022: Article on the secondary Apple ID and purchase sharing. This article changed 9/2022. It feels like Apple's attempt to mitigate the multiple Apple ID curse. You can only change this every 90 days. I changed it from "Linda" to "Sam" but in 3m I might change it back again -- after some research.

Update 11/19/2022
After doing the Apple ID separation I needed to recreate a Library for my son that identified what he'd actually purchased over the years that his purchase were on the family shared Media Apple ID. The Media Apple ID had its own account on one of our Macs, so I could create a Playlist from that to share, then open that shared url in his current Library. That worked pretty well in the end, but there were many issues and steps. I used many macOS Music app queries and sorts to reconstruct which things were his (He still purchases Music from Apple. That's a longer story.)

Once he had the Playlist I created open in his macOS Music app I had to select all songs and use "Add to Library" to actually make them part of his Library. Note you can download songs for a Playlist but that doesn't make them part of the Library. I needed his Library to reflect his purchases and preferences.

As a part of this process I found the best way to view purchase history was to enable iTunes in Apple Music, then in iTunes click the Purchases link.

Incidentally I ran into many UI bugs and issues with Apple Music. The worst is the insane and inexplicably persistent Apple Music product manager decision to use an enormous Playlist header section that makes the essential column browser very inefficient. There were problems with Authorizations, with downloads, with list row selection and more. It's just a buggy and flaky app. At one point I was trying to download locally and nothing happened. Only by showing the Activity window could I see that my device authorization wasn't working. I had to use my son's Apple ID to authorize Music / iTunes in his user account -- perhaps the Apple ID I first used had too many authorizations on it. There was no error message.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

AppleScripts to speed Java compile and execute with BBEdit

Students are often asked not to use an IDE (I like Visual Studio Java) for their Java projects. Instead they need to use BBEdit without an IDE. BBEdit does not appear to natively support facilitated compile/execute but it does run AppleScrips that can speed things a bit.

The site has some scripts written for TextWranger. If you rename them to BBEdit they work well.

Reproducing them here in case that site vanishes. I didn't see much like this. Note if you open and save in macOS Script Editor they will be compiled. I like that the first action is to save the document, it's easy to forget to save before a compile.

Compile java.scpt

tell application "BBEdit"
save text document 1
set the_file to file of text document 1
end tell

set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ":"
set source_file to the last text item of (the_file as string)

tell application "Finder"
set the_folder to container of file the_file
end tell

tell application "Terminal"
set p to POSIX path of (the_folder as string)
set shell_script to "cd " & (quoted form of p) & ¬
"; javac " & source_file
if (count windows) is 0 then
do script shell_script
do script shell_script in the front window
end if
end tell

Run java.scpt

tell application "BBEdit"
set the_file to file of text document 1
end tell

set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ":"
set source_file to the last text item of (the_file as string)
set compiled_file to text 1 thru -6 of source_file

tell application "Finder"
set the_folder to container of file the_file
end tell

tell application "Terminal"
set p to POSIX path of (the_folder as string)
set shell_script to "cd " & (quoted form of p) & ¬
"; java " & compiled_file
if (count windows) is 0 then
do script shell_script
do script shell_script in the front window
end if
end tell

Friday, October 14, 2022

Apple Music subscriptions stop working when I changed my Media & Purchases Apple ID

Apple digital rights management (DRM, FairPlay in this case) is very complex, particularly when one adds Family Sharing or has an atypical Apple ID setup.

In our case, for reasons that made sense 10-15y ago, my iCloud Apple ID is different from my Media & Purchases Apple ID. My iCloud Apple ID is the family organizer and my Media Apple ID is a family member.

Over the past few years I've been trying to migrate to using a single Apple ID on my phone. I have migrated all but one family member.

Migration has been difficult. I don't think Apple has published a transition guide. You can't, of course, transfer purchases or media or subscriptions. There's a risk of losing a lot purchases and Apple is unlikely to help.

I looked at doing a test migration on a macOS Monterey account of mine but it seemed Monterey did not a user to change only their Media Apple ID. [Later I found you can. In Monterey, unlike iOS, it's obscure how you do this; it doesn't show up in an Apple ID. You change the Media Apple ID through the App Store (Sign Out, Sign In).]

Since it seemed couldn't test on Monterey without trying a full Apple ID transition I made the changes on my iPhone.  Let's say my iCloud Apple ID was "Sam" and my Media Apple ID was "Linda". So my device Apple ID configuration was Sam/Linda.  After the change it was Sam/Sam. Sam is the Family Organizer, Linda is a family member. Linda owns our app and media purchases -- at least that's where they show up when I look.

I was particularly curious how Apple Music would work including test playlist sharing. Unfortunately I couldn't test the playlist sharing because Apple Music didn't work at all! As far as iOS was concerned I didn't have an Apple Music subscription. It offered to give me 6 months free. I also didn't have any Playlists or other configuration. Music (iTunes) configuration is tied to the Media Apple ID, not the iCloud Apple ID.

To recap, Sam is family organizer and Sam/Linda purchased the family plan Apple Music subscription. Linda shows up in Family Sharing as a family member. Once I became Sam/Sam I had no access to Apple Music. Reviewing Family Sharing it appeared that Sam should have access to Linda's Apple Music subscription. That doesn't work.

... Make sure that you're using the same Apple ID for Family Sharing and Media & Purchases... 

They don't say how to migrate to that idea of course! Obviously it was possible to use a different Apple ID for Family Sharing and Media (Apple Music worked before). I don't know if the changes made to my device impacted any other family members (wish I'd checked!), but it appears for a Family Organizer device to see Apple Music they have to use the same Apple ID used at time of purchase.

Somewhat surprisingly Apple let me revert back to Sam/Linda on my iPhone. (I think there was some time limit/change limit on Apple ID media changes.) After a period of sync I had my old playlist and Apple Music access.

My guess is that to make the change to Sam/Sam and keep Apple Music I'll have to end my current subscription (tied to Linda) then change the Media Apple ID then resubscribe for the family. (In practice I'll end all subscriptions for Linda before the change.)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Expelling demons from 2020 Air: when Disk Utility says to run against the Container (and more)

If you have to maintain a modern Mac, it helps to be retired. How else would I have hours to spend one Friday pm?

The 2020 Air I inherited from my daughter had met with a beverage at a bad time. We paid a third party to resurrect it (Apple doesn't touch wet stuff) but the machine seemed quirky in a software way. Maybe related to the T2 chip and doing the battery swap and then (mistake) Migration Assistant from my ancient Air.

First I had to fix the VoiceTrigger bug, but the machine was slow and I kept running into weird sh*t, like being unable to enable the default App Expose gesture.

So I decided to cleanup by removing files on that machine (they are still on my working Air) and also clean up the user library. I removed a lot of 2007 and earlier items, including a RAZR plug-in. Maybe did nothing but didn't take long.

Then I ran Onyx and it complained the disk was corrupted. When I tried to run Disk Utility I ran into the SMC reset bug.

Once I fixed that Disk Utility would run, but it complained about a corrupt snapshot on my Data drive. Deleting the snapshot didn't fix the error though, so it's likely a red herring. The message said to run fsck on the Container, but I didn't see how to do that. Running it on the Volume didn't help.

The Disk Utility directions were, of course, wrong. As were various web sites that said to try fsck in single user mode (is single user even possible in Monterey?).

Eclectic Light had the best guidance, but the real missing piece was telling Disk Utility to show everyone, not just Volumes. That showed me the Container so I could run DU there; the details console shows it's running fsck_apfs -y -x /dev/disk0s2. It ran against all the /dev/disk* things and fixed them all, exiting successfully. My App Expose gesture returned.

I think the demons are purged for now. macOS is pretty damn fragile these days ...

Monterey T2 bug - First Aid, unlocking disk, operation canceled - Do an SMC reset

When I tried to run Disk Utility on my 2020 Intel Air running Monterey I got:

    Running First Aid on ..

    Unlocking Disk

    Operation Canceled. 

Google found exactly one reference to this in a 2021 Apple Discussion post with a link to an Apple Support article that has since been removed ...

... That turned out to the known issue linked with the T2 Security chip (  Resetting the SMC solved that problem as well as the original problem with the hard drive.

Resetting SMC (I used two methods) fixed the bug and First Aid was able to continue. (There are other problems, but at least this one was fixed.)

I don't know if this insanely rare or if Google simply isn't that useful any more (probably both). Resharing here.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Managing multiple Apple Store Apple IDs in Monterey: how to sign out and thus change default Apple ID for app update and purchase

There's a lot of complexity in Apple's software, but my nomination for the ultimate complexity is the web of undocumented and slowly changing rules and tools around Apple's Digital Rights Management (FairPlay) including rights to use media (music, video) and software (apps) for both individuals and family members.

I don't think anyone truly understands it all, not even Apple's senior developers. Sometime in the past decade Tim Cook said he'd fix the Apple ID problem and then things went silent. It's a nightmare. I remember when changing a phone number associated with an Apple ID could switch the ownership arrangement for device history (presumably a matching problem between disparate databases).

My most recent experience with this was trying to fix the default Apple Store Apple ID used to for Mac App Store DRM on my wife's Air Monterey account. It was defaulting to an Apple ID we used to share for iTunes purchases 10+ years ago. I've been slowly disentangling it for 4 years now and the rules change with each macOS/iOS release. Currently there's a bit more tooling to sort out who owns what on a Mac but it's obscure.

As far as I can tell the controls for this are now hidden in the App Store app. That kind of makes sense, because the rules (and Apple's DRM contracts) for movies/TV, music and apps are all likely different. You have to go into the App Store app, which can show the apps associated with multiple Apple IDs, then you have to sign out from the menu:

After signing out the default account for App Store purchases was her Apple ID.

Her Music account seems to be based on her Apple ID, but I didn't check to see if changing the App Store Apple ID changed that too. It would make sense if Apple were to have separate rules though. 

I think the complexity of Apple ID DRM may be one of the reasons Apple never provided a multi-user iPad for families. (Our shared iPad has its own unique Apple ID but is a member of our family sharing.)

Monday, August 29, 2022

Monterey orphaned our physical podcast files. What can we do with them?

Podcasts started out as distributing MP3 files; back then iTunes was a great podcast app (and music and audiobooks, and voice memos and more -- it was a glorious app before the fall.)

Over the years Podcasts really shifted to streaming, listen once, don't keep. Then, somewhere post Mojave (Monterey) Apple orphaned the physical podcast files stored in iTunes. The Finder shows physical files in your media library but neither or can browse them. Music. app's browser Get Info still shows the media type dropdown, but there's only one type! (Music)

If you click on a podcast file iTunes will play it and import the file into the media library where it has media type Music but genre podcast.

So the fix is:

1. Move Podcast folder out of media library

2. Reimport all podcast as music.

3. For genre podcast multi-edit to make more like podcasts. You use macOS column browse to see all with genre "podcast", select all then hit cmd-I. You'll see a prompt asking if you wish to multi-edit (yes). Then in Options select: 'remember playback position' 'skip when shuffling'. I think this operation may fail if a file is being uploaded to Apple Music (at least I get to burn GB of Apple Storage!) so let uploads complete if it doesn't work.

Reference Stack Exchange.

PS. Voice Memos are supposed to have a migrate path, but that didn't show for me.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Using Apple's USB-C to T2 adapter: not for video but still good

My 2015 MacBook Air uses Thunderbolt 2; it was connected to an elgato T2 hub (reliable for over 6 years) with a few USB and Firewire 800 peripherals. That Air is in for a battery swap after which it will be primarily an Aperture machine with some portable use. At the moment I'm sharing my son's 2020 Air; there may be a Pro or M2 Air ahead.

To reduce costs and hassles I decided to try Apple's T3/USB-C to T2 adapter. It costs around $45. Everything works for now -- except my external HDMI monitor. It flickers on and off. I might play with it a bit but for now I have it connected directly to the laptop via a compact Anker USB-C hub [1]. Apple tells us that "This adapter does not support DisplayPort displays...". I wonder if the HDMI display connected to a Hub with a DisplayPort/T2 cables affected by this limitation.

Overall it's worth the money, even though I'm likely to switch everything to a USB-C or better hub eventually. The single remaining Firewire 800 device can be retired.

- fn -

[1] When I disconnect the laptop I have to pull two cables! Oldness helps with the indignity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Migration Assistant from Mojave to Monterey is mostly a train wreck

Ugh. Almost nothing went well with doing migration assistant from Mojave to Monterey. I had to trash my Photo Library and recreate a new system photo library to repopulate from iCloud. I had to turn off iCloud Drive, delete the Archive versions, then turn it back on again. A bug with deleting user accounts was unrelated but took up an hour or two.

Kind of what I'm used to with Apple to be honest.

I probably would have been better off to migrate my documents folder and my mail files manually, then recreate the rest.

Unrelated but also sad: I hoped Apple's T2 to USB-C cable would let me continue to use my T2 hub and related peripherals (some Firewire 800!) but it's unstable in early testing.

Can't empty trash because VoiceTrigger is in use: It's a macOS system integrity bug

If you delete a user account in some versions of macOS (Monterey in my case) where the user account was created in certain earlier versions of macOS you will run into a System Integrity bug.

There's a folder called VoiceTrigger that in the deleted user account that is protected by System Integrity (~/Library/VoiceTrigger/SAT. ) It's located in the User's Library, so it should not be SIP protected. (In Monterey there's nothing there called SAT).

I'm guessing the bug is that it was never supposed to be SIP protected but in some version of macOS it was. Maybe Big Sur. (There's a second bug because the error message is incorrect. The problem isn't that the file is in use, the problem is it's SIP protected.)

I found the fix in in r/MacOS - disable SIP, delete, re-enable SIP:

Disable System Integrity Protection

  1. Click the  menu.

  2. Select Restart...

  3. Hold down Command-R to boot into the Recovery System.

  4. Click the Utilities menu and select Terminal.

  5. Type csrutil disable and press return.

  6. Close the Terminal app.

  7. Click the  menu and select Restart....

Login normally, then Empty the Trash Can

Re-Enable System Integrity Protection

  1. Click the  menu.

  2. Select Restart...

  3. Hold down Command-R to boot into the Recovery System.

  4. Click the Utilities menu and select Terminal.

  5. Type csrutil enable and press return.

  6. Close the Terminal app.

  7. Click the  menu and select Restart....

Things other's suggested that didn't work:

1. Terminal: sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/*

Note you need to be admin to do this. There's a way to escalate non-admin to use sudo but I think Apple has basically given up on non-admin user accounts.

2. Turn off iCloud document sync.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Wi-Fi Calling not working? Your probably SIM-swapped and your IMEI is wrong and you don't have HD Voice

When Emily complained of poor call quality I tried enabling Wi-Fi calling on her 13mini -- and got this error message:


We've hit a bump, but we should have it straightened ... ERR0093-WS 

Don't worry, it will never get straightened. This is a crap error message. A pixel page gave me the answer.

Chances are you SIM-Swapped this phone to avoid an infuriating $50 activation fee from AT&T. Turns out that only seems to work, the IMEI in AT&T's system doesn't update. If your plan has HD Voice (most do) it's not working and Wi-Fi (WiFi) calling won't work.

We called AT&T new line support (chat was down) at 611 and after a bit of careful navigating got a human being in "advanced technical support" who updated the IMEI number for us. You may also be asked for the ICCID number. After a phone restart and waiting a few minutes Wi-Fi calling worked. Her voice quality also seemed better.

I did this for a different phone and the first agent said I needed a new SIM -- then (accidentally I think) dropped me. A second agent wanted IMEI and ICCID then told me to restart the phone. It seems to take 3 minutes or so for the change to propagate and enable Wi-Fi calling (and HD Voice by the way).

If you SIM swap to avoid AT&T's #$@$ $50 activation fee you should probably call support or take your phone to an AT&T store to fix the IMEI there.

What's the chance AT&T will ever give up on its activation fee grift? Would be nice for them to just do an eSIM without the fee.


Friday, July 22, 2022

Getting Outlook to export Exchange contacts as vCards (vcf) with proper email addresses for use in macOS

In 2009 I wrote about how it was getting harder to move contact information out of Outlook into something else (like macOS Contacts). I wrote about some options, but that's not what I do now.

Here's what I do (tested in Mojave, which I'm still using because Aperture):

  1. Create a simple list Contacts view. I usually only want people so I sort by last name. In a few cases last name of people is blank so I fix that.
  2. Now create an empty email. Drag Contacts from Outlook's view into the email body. It has to be to the email, dragging to desktop creates a .msg file. It might fail if you do too many so I distribute 300-400 contacts across 4 separate emails. Outlook creates a vCard file as an attachment. It resolves the email too, so instead of an Outlook x400 (?) you get a proper email address.
  3. Send the email to your Mac
  4. On the Mac download all attachments. They show as VCF files and macOS renders them quite well.  If they have photos the photos show within the card icon. Spotlight indexes them all. You don't even need to bother with dropping them into Contacts (though that's easy to do, you can drop them into your Contacts Groups (folders)).
It's pretty easy if you know the trick. I've not seen it described anywhere else but I'm sure others know it.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

iMessage not synchronizing - your store ID matters too

Based on some issues I've seen with my daughter's devices I think that Apple Message sync will only work when both Apple ID for "iCloud" and Apple ID for "Media & Purchases" agree on both devices.

There's a dependency on "Media & Purchases" Apple ID for Apple Messages, perhaps because it's descended from the Apple messaging apps that predate iCloud.

How to leave Google Apps / G Suite / Google Workspace

UPDATE: As of early May 2022 Google has relented and will allow continued personal use of legacy G Suite domains. You need to login to your domain and then use this URL. (The option is described, a bit obscurely, in a support page).

It's hard to remember now, but there was a time that geeks had some affection for both Google and Apple (but, TBH, never Microsoft). Those were the glory days my friend.

This year's bitter resentment is brought to you by Google ending free Google Apps services. Back in the glory days Dreamhost bundled these with domains, I picked up 7-9 of them. Two of these Google App domains have been heavily used by my family. They are the core of a wide range of daily things we do, including email addresses association with numerous logins, credentials, passwords, and so on. (But not with Google OAUTH identity services, that is not supported for Google Apps email addresses.)

A few months ago, in early 2022, Google told us that these services, once as permanent as gmail (*cough*, they're coming for you), would become quite expensive. For us the costs to maintain our current setup would be hundreds to thousands of dollars a year. Shortly after this announcement we were told that there *might* be a reprieve, that non-business services would continue. This false-hope was never officially withdrawn, but in May 2022 it has been replaced by a bizarre offer to maybe continue but, like, without email or domain?

Google's very limited online guidance does not review how to exit Google Suite. In email communications they mention a 'suspended state' but do not describe what that means.

So now I have to spend several lovely days in May sitting at my computer trying to salvage our digital identities. We will clearly have to pay for at least one of our domains - principles be damned. Charges begin Aug 1, 2022. </background>

The following is a rough guide to what I will do. Much of this requires knowledge from decades ago that I'm having to refresh.

Considerations and discoveries

  1. It's difficult to move IMAP emails between services. IMAP emails can be copied to a local store. In mail. app I've had success dragging and dropping emails from one IMAP inbox to another, but I believe this is fragile and unreliable. You can also copy, see this iCloud example.
  2. Local store email is barely supported any more., for example, 
  3. My domains are managed by Dreamhost which does provide some classic web services though fewer than it once did.
  4. Domain based email forwarding is fragile -- many services including google will reject it. See DKIM notes below.
  5. Modern email is both essential and a river of spam and Google has good spam filtering (though it was better once)
  6. The knowledge of how to manage DNS settings is more esoteric now than it once was, and Google Search no longer works.
  7. My Dreamhost DNS and mail forwarding has lots of old detritus. That's on me!

References related to closing Google Workspace accounts

  1. Microsoft on switching to Office 365 - cancel subscription
  2. Fastmail also has switching options, but price not much less that Google Workspace
  3. Google has not provided any migration guidance.
  4. You close your account by canceling the subscription: then deleting the account (see below).

References for migrating to Dreamhost email services

  1. Dreamhost email client configuration
  2. The Dreamhost custom MX config panel has 'uses Gmail' management links that take you to Google admin (so not terribly useful but at least can tell what to change.
  3. Dreamhost used to support both a mailbox and a forwarding action but you can't do that any more (still works for old settings). Dreamhost uses Roundcube Webmail but has not enabled forwarding in that app. You can use forwarding directly from a domain but I think Google treats emails forwarded this way as spam. (At one time we were supposed to have had quite large storage caps with Dreamhost, but I think email overwhelmed them. Similar to the days our Gmail storage was to be unlimited.)
  4. A comment on this post mentioned imap sync for moving email: "For transferring IMAP email, imapsync works well. There's a free version you can download and run on your computer (or on your hosting provider if you have ssh access). It's well documented and relatively easy to get your head around, and is fast and reliable. I’ve not got any affiliation, but someone pointed me to it a couple of years ago, and I’ve since used imapsync to migrate email hosts for a small organisation. Highly recommended."

References for migrating to Apple iCloud+ email

Apple supports custom domains with iCloud+ email including family sharing.
  1. You can assign up to 5 domains to a family group and for each domain each member can have up to 3 email addresses.
  2. Apple will instruct on how to do DNS settings (there's a bug in the quotes apparently) - there's also a tech note on DNS settings.
  3. Useful twitter stream on migration to iCloud
  4. Detailed twitter thread on migration - Google takeout mbox, import into Mail, then drag from local to iCloud.

My steps to closing an essentially unused account where I didn't worry about forwarding

  1. Go to Google admin console for account.
  2. Review how many users exist. (typically one)
  3. For that user review email to see if there's anything important, sites, docs, etc. Don't forget google  voice!
  4. From Google Admin account cancel your subscription. Now pay close attention so you don't miss the next step - delete your account (
When you choose to delete account you see:
Now return to Dreamhost
  1. Go to DNS for domain and delete the Google CNAME records
  2. Go Custom MX controls and Choose "make me regular email". It may take hours for this to work.
  3. At this point Dreamhost enables webmail. But I wonder if this actually blocks email forwarding even if you set that up! (The lack of warning doesn't give me a happy feeling about Dreamhost TBH.) So disable webmail. Dreamhost also has a control panel for email forwarding that I think is a disabled feature.) - NEED TO TEST MORE HERE
  4. Go to Manage Email and set up a forwarding account as needed. This can take a while. Apple picked up the DNS changes within about 15-30 minutes, but Google took 1-2h. (I wonder if DNS propagation in general works as well as it once did.)
  5. Enable DKIM if not already enabled.

Carbon Copy Cloner won't create sparse bundle disk image (grayed out) - Mojave

On Mojave as of May 2022 CCC v 5.whatever wouldn't create a sparse bundle disk image for me when I selected new disk image as destination. The 'action button' was grayed out. 

I switched from the non-admin account I've long used with CCC to an admin account and I was able to do it.

I was able to create disk images using Disk Utility from the non-admin account.

I don't have time or energy to debug further, but if you run into this issue try an admin account.

PS. Once upon a time CCC would just create a disk image if the task referenced one but none was found on the target drive. That's no longer an option, if you are setting up a new drive modern tasks will require the disk image to exist. It's hard to get the 'right' image manually, so you really want CCC to create it for you.

Also, by the way, and unrelated to above, you need to use AFP if you're doing network CCC backup to a sparse bundle disk image.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Universal Clipboard (Handoff, Continuity) not working - Mojave and Monterey, regenerating the authentication token/password

 Recently I've had two issues:

  1. Mojave Universal Clipboard stopped working between Mojave and iOS 15.4.1
  2. Mojave notes iCloud synced but always showed a spinning activity icon
I found that I could make Universal Clipboard work again by creating or editing a note on my iPhone or on Mojave. Once that synced then UC worked until I rebooted.

If Universal Clipboard isn't working first reboot your devices and confirm connection to WiFi with Bluetooth enabled. Then try toggling Handoff off/on on both devices. Then try:
  1. Changing my Mojave location DNS settings from Cloudflare ( to Google ( (Based on this post)
  2. Toggling Notes iCloud off then on again (restores notes)
Now the spinning is gone, and UC seems to be working.

Update 5/15/2022: UC is back to not working unless I create a note that's synced between iOS and Mojave. Notes doesn't show the skinny activity icon. So this is an open problem.

Update 8/30/2023

Continuity has worked since May 2022 on my Mojave machine, but I'm now switching to a 2023 M2 Air running Monterey. And, of course, the Universal Clipboard didn't work again.

A few hours later my devices notified me that iCloud services would not be available until I reauthenticated. That tedious and annoying process requires entering the iCloud and device passwords; I think it creates a new token/password behind the scenes. After going through this continuity worked again. Signing in and out of iCloud is a common workaround for Continuity issues, I suspect it speeds up regeneration of the new token/password.

It would be nice if Apple improved this process.

PS. Typical things to check when it doesn't work: bluetooth on, devices on same WiFi, etc.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

When iCloud Keychain stops working (No more Safari passwords) - Mojave

I'm buying tickets for an event and suddenly there's no password autocomplete in Mojave Safari. Safari Preferences Passwords shows 3-4 entries, but my Apple passwords shows on my iOS devices and my Monterey Air. It's just Mojave that has lost all its iCloud/keychain access.

A good reminder that if you want to use Apple Passwords as a 1Password replacement you need to export a static backup (and this must be automated). The Cloud is where data goes to die.

A found a relevant 2016 Apple Discussion post which would be Mojave era. So I wonder if it's a Mojave bug. The fix there was from "Linc Davis" a "Level 10" with 209K points [1]

Please take these steps to resynchronize the iCloud keychain. Your keychain on iCloud and your other Apple devices won't be affected. Take Step 2 only if Step 1 doesn't solve the problem.
Step 1
Back up all data.
Open the iCloud pane in System Preferences and uncheck the Keychain box. You'll be prompted to delete the local iCloud keychain. Confirm—the data will remain on the servers. Then re-check the box. Follow one of the procedures described in this support article to set up iCloud Keychain on an additional device. Test.
Step 2
If you still have problems, uncheck the Keychain box again and continue.
Triple-click the line below on this page to select it, then copy the text to the Clipboard by pressing the key combination  command-C: 
In the Finder, select
          Go ▹ Go to Folder...
from the menu bar and paste into the box that opens by pressing command-V. You may not see what you pasted because a line break is included. Press return.
A folder named "Keychains" should open. Inside it is a subfolder with a long name similar to (but not the same as) this:
The above is only an example; yours will have a different name of the same general form. Drag the subfolder (not the Keychains folder) to the Trash.
Restart the computer, empty the Trash, and re-enable iCloud Keychain.

Toggling Keychain off and on didn't seem to do anything so I figured I'd check in the morning. Before I checked though I did review my passwords in Monterey. For *reasons* (this happens way too often) I had to reenter my iCloud credentials there but I was also asked the usual iCloud keychain questions -- provide passcodes for my other machines.

Then I looked at my Mojave machine and Safari had my passwords again.

Maybe the fix was toggling Keychain and waiting a bit, but I'm suspicious that something happened somewhere in iCloud that required me to do the iCloud Keychain authentication dance from a Mac -- and Mojave couldn't do it.

Again, if you use Apple Passwords as your sole repository you need a non-iCloud backup.

- fn -

[1] No profile info, has participated in 97K threads. Either insane or an Apple staff pseudonym.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

What happens when you have an Apple ID without an email address and you change it? (And much more about Apple ID hell.)

I'll provide some back story below, but it's tedious and a bit ranty so I'll put the most useful stuff up front.

For *reasons* (see below) I have had an Apple ID associated with iTunes, App Store, physical Apple Store, hardware and other purchases for about 20 years. For other *reasons* almost lost to memory the username has not been a valid email address for most of those years. Until recently it had an associated email address it would forward to but Apple changed things sometime in the past two years and that stopped working.

I'm simplifying.

We will call this Apple ID username "". I will use and for my new Store Apple ID ("Media & Purchases") and my longstanding iCloud Apple ID respectively.

Once stopped forwarding I no longer received notifications related to Apple Discussions or emails related to charges. Since was the store Apple ID for my family (this was the practice in early iTunes days) our children (now adult) used it for purchases. Simplifying a lot and omitting family details the lack of email meant no monthly statements -- so I didn't spot a scam subscription - among other things.

I knew I had to fix this but I dreaded the side-effects. I'd already tried undoing the shared store Apple ID and ran into disaster; I had to reverse that attempt. I had to fix the Apple ID invalid email problem first.

Before Apple broke forwarding for the Apple ID "" I had used "" as a forwarding address. Although there was no clue in the Apple ID online configuration tool, I knew was still entangled with (see below, this post goes on for a long time but still omits much).

Ok, so far? I gets a bit simpler then you can skip the back story.

Anyhow ... when Apple broke forwarding they seem to have introduced the ability to change an Apple ID userid - such as I believe, though I can't find any documentation, that the visible username with the form of an email address (ex: is an alias for an unchanging hidden identifier (maybe a GUID). 

After some thought I decided the cleanest approach would be to change my Store Apple ID visible username from to (I knew the two were entangled, see below). It's easy to make this change from When I did this I was not asked to confirm that was a valid email address I owned. All I got was an email sent to to saying the change had been made.

After I made the change I found the following. I expect other changes as Apple's different systems synchronize and update (I will update this as I learn more, I expect to learn of problems from family members later today):

  1. I cannot login to the Apple ID or anywhere using but the two factor notification dialog still says (this may change).
  2. I think I may have more control over Apple ID two-factor, I can add/remove trusted devices, remove from account, and I can add a second trusted phone number. I still can't add a backup email address; that is available on some other Apple IDs I have
  3. Apple Discussions is intact. When I login with I show as "member since June 23, 2003".
  4. Mail sent to still fails, there's no redirect.
  5.  iTunes on Mojave: asks me to sign in and displays new Says session expired, asks again. Purchase history intact.
  6. Media & Purchases on iPhone showed new iCloud address and I had no trouble with updating apps.
In addition, Messages in my personal iCloud stopped working! It turns out "Messages" has legacy associations with the old Apple Store ID used with iMessage before Apple implemented iCloud. I got this error message

Messages in iCloud not available as iCloud and iMessage accounts do not match. (Messages in iCloud is not available because iCloud and iMessage accounts are different.)

There's a fix here but it's not the one I needed. When I looked at Messages on my iPhone it showed only my Phone number, the Apple IDs were all absent. When I tried to enter an Apple ID it showed my store Apple ID; I chose "use other Apple ID" and entered my personal iCloud Apple ID. That worked and it immediately restored all my send/receive message list. I could then reenable messages in iCloud.

It didn't fully work on Mojave iMessages though. I reenabled using iCloud Messages in preferences there and about an hour or two later it seemed to start working (though uploading messages to iCloud is still ongoing.)

That concludes the current record of changes to date. So far it has been less of a problem than anticipated, but it's early days. I will add other issues as they emerge. Then I can return to the herculean tasks of moving family members off of a shared Media & Purchases account.

Below are details for the benefit of someone searching who finds this post. They are related older items that I will summarize in outline.

----------- additional details ---------------

As noted above years ago I had as forwarding email for the Apple ID The address had no associated email because of complex changes Apple made in migrating from free iTools to not-free .Mac to MobileMe. [1][2]

When I finally realized I wasn't getting Apple media purchase statements for I began investigating what had happened to the old iCloud account. I found it was deactivated. I was able to reenable it. That's when things got weird. Remember (if you read above) that there was no longer anything I the Apple ID settings for that showed

Once I reenabled with a new password I found that:

  • Both and worked as usernames for the same Apple ID.
  • The password for the Apple ID had changed to match the password. [This actually took a day to propagate to iTunes purchases]
  • Both and showed the same iCloud services (mail, etc).
  • was still not a valid email address. 
fn -


Originally launched on January 5, 2000, as iTools, a free collection of Internet-based services for Mac OS 9 users, Apple relaunched it as .Mac on July 17, 2002, when it became a paid subscription service primarily designed for Mac OS X users. Apple relaunched the service again as MobileMe on July 9, 2008, now targeting Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, iPhone, and iPod Touch users.

On February 24, 2011, Apple discontinued offering MobileMe at its retail stores, and later from resellers.[2] New subscriptions were also stopped. On October 12, 2011, Apple launched iCloud to replace MobileMe for new users, with current users having access until June 30, 2012, when the service was to cease.

... The original collection of Internet software and services now known as iCloud was first called iTools, released on January 5, 2000, and made available free of charge for Mac users.

Services offered by iTools included the first availability of email addresses, which could only be accessed through an email client (e.g. the Mail app); iCards, a free greeting card service; iReview, a collection of reviews of popular web sites; HomePage, a free web page publishing service; the first version of iDisk, an online data storage system; and KidSafe, a directory of family-friendly web sites.

As costs rose, most particularly due to iDisk storage space, the wide demand for email accounts, and increasing support needs, iTools was renamed .Mac on July 17, 2002, as a subscription-based suite of services with a dedicated technical support team.[25]

... Existing iTools accounts were transitioned to .Mac accounts during a free trial period that ended on September 30, 2002. This move generated a mixed reaction among Mac users, some believing .Mac was overpriced...

[2] eWorld

. Yesterday the password for App Store was different from password for Apple ID but today they seem to be same. I think they are two different systems that update every few hours...

 · Feb 19

Today it appears there is a single Apple ID with two usernames and one password. One username has iCloud services but is nowhere displayed in Apple ID information.…

... If you change a phone's Store ID to match the phone's iCloud ID  you cannot update all their apps with their iCloud ID password. You need to use the old Store ID password. Even when family sharing is in play...

... I have a hunch that Apple has an internal ID for users separate from the username (email form) displayed with their Apple IDs and Store IDs and iCloud IDs and that is what they use in FairPlay. 

Saturday, March 05, 2022

The AT&T / Apple eSIM activation fee scam: $30 "discount" and a $30 activation fee

This is what you see when you go to buy an iPhone from Apple these days and pay full price:

You can choose "Connect to a carrier now" or "Connect on your own later". In this case they are the same price. 

If you choose "Connect on your own later  there's no additional fee. You swap the SIM card from your old phone and go.

If you choose "Connect to a carrier now" you will get an unlocked phone but it has an eSIM. It will also be "activated"; when that happens the eSIM is enabled and the old SIM card is disabled. Carriers charge a fee for activation. For AT&T it's $30.

So in this cases you pay $1,100 for the iPhone and there's a hidden fee of $30 from AT&T if you go the eSIM route. (I suspect if you switch a phone from SIM to eSIM you will also be charged $30.)

Sometimes Apple may choose to list the "Connect to a carrier now" with a "carrier discount" of $30. In this case they'll display the cost of the phone with the discount applied; the "Connect on your own later" will be $30 more. But if you choose the cheaper option you will get charged the $30 from your carrier. So Apple is .... lying about the price. Apple probably gets a kickback from the carrier,

Just choose "Connect on your own later" and pay the real price up front.

Twitter version:

AT&T's various fees, including this one.

Update 9/11/2022: For a semester in Italy we converted my daughter's physical SIM to an eSIM using the iOS convert to eSIM feature. Our next bill will tell us if there was a fee associated with the conversion.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Impressions of the Eero 6

In retrospect my AirPort Extreme was probably flaky for a while. It's hard to diagnose router failure issues, but my son complained his iPad Zwift app was disconnecting. I was getting corrupted Synology Time Machine backups after years of good results. Then the router started to power down spontaneously. It was 6 years old and the power supply had failed.

We bought an Amazon Eero 6.

Before I talk about the various issues and surprises, let me see this is one of the more fun purchases I've made in a while. It's a huge pain to move all our various devices over to the new primary and "Guest" (where untrustworthy hardware connects) networks, but it's delightful to see 5 WiFi bars everywhere. Including the MyQ garage opener -- which is at least 50 feet from our home. (That's how we open the garage door when it's less than 15F and the external battery powered device doesn't work.) I have one device by the Comcast router, one on the middle floor towards the garage, and one basically hidden beneath the ground floor serving the basement and side patio.

Why did I buy the Eero?

  1. Microsoft doesn't make a router, so the least evil tech giant was unavailable.
  2. Apple doesn't make a router, so my very Evil master was unavailable.
  3. That left Google, Amazon and the small ones (Linksys) who may not last very long and thus can't keep the patches coming.
  4. I read that Eero does a good job of updating its devices.
  5. Google is maximal Evil. I'm in the midst of a long painful divorce from Google Apps and Google Drive and I really don't want anything more from Google.
  6. Amazon could get me a Eero 6 threesome within 8 hours of ordering it. It came at 6am. I felt the fangs of my Prime Parasite dig deeper into my core.
What were the surprises?
  • Some older equipment will not connect to an Eero 6. The problem seems to be that the Eero has one SSID with two frequencies; my old AirPort had separate 2.4 and 5 GHz SSIDs. Devices that can only handle 2.4GHz may not work. We ran into two problems [see update below]:
    1. SONY Playstation 4 (SONY's link no longer works of course): Go to Settings > Network > Setup Internet Connection > Use Wi-Fi > Easy. Select the SSID (wifi network name) but don't choose it! Now press the Options button on the controller. Select the 2.4GHz band. (When I tried 5GHz I got an obscure error message.)
    2. Samsung television: It simply won't connect. Samsung has some tips I've not explored, I could try updating the firmware. Google found some Reddit discussions but that site crashed at the moment. (This TV is behaving a bit oddly, so there may be other issues.)
  • The Eero 6 has two ethernet ports on the base unit. It's hard to tell from Eero's dreadful web site but I believe the Eero 6 Pro has ports on peripheral nodes too. I needed one for the Synology NAS and one to the Comcast modem. Given that not all devices work with the Eero it would be nice to have parts on each station -- I could then hardware devices that don't work with Eero wifi.
  • The Eeros are smaller than I expected.
  • The Eero app crashes every time I try to assign a device to a profile. I suspect it can't handle the ethernet address swapping of modern iPhones. It's amazing that's not fixed.
  • If you want to use the parental control features on iOS devices you need to turn off the ethernet swapping. This will make it easier for vendors to track your use however.
  • Amazon tries to upsell subscriptions to services including a security package. This is really annoying and it keeps doing it even after initial decline. Be careful not to accidentally subscribe to anything. You don't get filtering or website controls without the extra monthly fee, other routers provide those for free (but they usually don't work well or at all with modern connectivity).
The easiest way to swap routers is to keep the network names and passwords the same. I couldn't do that for reasons, so I get the tedium of reconnecting very old devices to WiFi.

Update 2/27/2022: Pause 5 GHz to allow older devices to connect

I read an Amazon review saying there was a way to pause 5G to allow older devices to connect! I haven't tried on the TV yet. It's an obscure feature:

Settings -> Troubleshooting -> My Device won't connect -> My device is 2.4 GHz only -> Temporarily pause 5 GHz.

There are some other features buried in troubleshooting, including Health Check.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

1Password WiFi broke with my new iPhone - how I fixed it (for now)

I pay about $4 or so every month to 1Password because I have not yet been able to replace it. Reason enough to dislike them, but there's worse. 

We use 1Password's legacy WiFi sync with 1Password 7. It dates from the days that 1PW was merely mediocre. It was flaky and annoying but it mostly worked. We didn't have to put our lives into the hands of company that could be hacked or acquired at any time (China, Russian ... who wouldn't want those yummy credentials?). Even now that we pay monthly (not yearly, because I plan to leave) we still use WiFi sync.

Every so often we get this:

WiFi sync is deprecated and unsupported now, but there is still a troubleshooting page. Check WiFi, restart everything, restart router, toggle WiFi sync on/off, etc. That usually works, but this time was different. Nothing worked.

I'd just replaced my iPhone 8 with an iPhone 13 Pro, so I had a hunch what was wrong. [1] There was something broken in the authentication process between my phone and the MacBook running the desktop version of 1Password. I needed a button that said "reset authentication" -- but that doesn't exist. I could delete 1Password and reinstall, but it had been a few weeks since my last sync. Who knows what I'd changed. I didn't want to lose everything.

This is what I did:
  1. I saved copies of things I knew I'd changed to a local text file
  2. I discovered iOS 1Password has a backup/restore feature and I could transfer that to a Mac by iTunes. You can actually unzip the backup and browse it in SQLite, including the database schema (I think passwords are encrypted though).
  3. After I saved my backup to my Mac I deleted and reinstalled 1Password. As I'd guessed this allowed me to sync again. (Bad Bug 1Password Inc. But you don't care.)
  4. I then went back to my Mac, copied the backup using iTunes back to my iPhone, then did a restore on the iPhone
  5. I then did sync again.
It's not quite as simple as that. I had to quit and restart 1Password a few times. At one point 1PW for iOS was only showing me sync options for Dropbox! Somehow, after some restarts and tweaks it seemed to sync. Did it all sync properly? I have no idea. For now it's no worse than it ever was.

Once Apple Passwords get the notes feature (holds secret questions) we'll migrate to a hacked together approach of Apple Passwords and a shared Secure Note and I'll finally be done with 1Password.

Update: looks like the process lost my authenticator codes.

[1] I dread iPhone swaps. I try to do them no more than every 5 years. All kinds of pain happens.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Can you edit photos in Halide App? (No, you can't)

Halide is a popular image app. I've had it for a while but only with my iPhone 13 Pro did it feel worth using. The manual focus in particular came in handy.

Then I went to edit my image and I couldn't figure out how to do it. I'm not the only one, Google captures the common question but the responses are useless. The Halide app description and web site don't help with figuring out how to edit. I tried all kinds of gestures and swipes and taps and holds...

Yeah, you can't. It's not a photo editor. All the adjustments are like doing manual setup on an SLR for Raw or HEIC or JPEG.  You have to edit in a different app (including iOS photos). Halide is a replacement for, not for

In retrospect it makes sense, but it confused the heck out of me. It doesn't help that the Halide user guide has a weird chapter on editing.

Google isn't what it once was, but maybe one day it will use this post to answer the common questions.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Surprising things in my upgrade from an iPhone 8 to an iPhone 13 Pro (mostly bad)

 This is what surprised me:

  1. The 13 Pro is  chunk. Compared to the i8 it feels heavy and big. It's thicker than I expected.
  2. The lenses poke out a lot. It needs a case to lie flat. Which makes it even chunkier. I ordered the mag safe compatible Spigen clear case.
  3. There's still a bug in the update process. Settings may get stuck on Update Apple ID Settings. I had to power down and restart. Definitely annoying.
  4. You can order generic or carrier preset (Connect to Carrier). If you order Connect to Carrier your carrier will charge you a $30 activation fee and you get an eSIM phone. If you order without the carrier preset you need do do a SIM swap but there's no activation fee. When the carrier charges a "discount" Apple shows this as the phone price even though the actual price is $30 higher. So I'd call this one a joint Apple/Carrier scam. The advantage of a physical SIM is that you can move your number to a new phone if needed, the disadvantage is that someone who has your phone can also do that (and defeat some 2 factor protection).
  5. After you insert the SIM card you can convert to eSIM! The option shows up in Cellular for AT&T. Your physical SIM card will be deactivated, so you can't use a backup cell if your phone dies. I suspect if you did this your carrier would charge you a $30 activation fee.
  6. It took about an hour to do phone-to-phone swap but installing all my apps looks like it will take quite a while.
  7. I needed to read the manual -- especially about the camera. The zoom control is kind of cool. The transfer didn't respect my settings for compatible (JPEG, not HEIC) or Live Photo off. I had to reapply.
  8. There's no documentation at all with the iPhone. Not even the simplest pamphlet identifying the buttons. Everything is in an email sent in advance of the phone.
  9. It ships with a USB-C to Lightning cable. Weirdly I thought it was an adapter and I needed to buy one. So I have two. I'm sure I'll find a user for it. I bought the Anker USB-C mini-charger.
  10. The app install seemed to start but not progress. A restart didn't help. I was over 10 devices with my Apple ID so I removed my old phone. I then installed a new app from the App Store. Eventually apps started to complete.
  11. It ran hot for the first day or two.
  12. I share as part of the family, but "Find My" said it couldn't find me. I had to tweak my profile in Find My and specify my new phone as my location source.
  13. I went to use Apple Pay and there were no cards! Turns out Apple Pay/Wallet cards are not part of the iCloud backup. That included a transit card with an account balance. On the other hand my pending event tickets ("passes") and expired passes were restored. However, when I clicked to add new cards iOS offered to restore cards used in past! The Apple Card and the Transit card (with balance) restored immediately, I had to enter the 3/4 digit 'secret' code for the other cards.
  14. Handoff (clipboard sharing) stopped working. This might have been related to my other Apple ID issues; also I'm doing it between Mojave and iOS 13 and that's a stretch. Still, the Apple ID problems are old and it worked before, so I'll call this an update bug. I had to sign out of iCloud on both my iPhone and Mac and sign back in to restore it. (I also signed out of Store ID on my iPhone.) Of course since I'd signed out of iCloud I had to restore my Apple Wallet cards again. And download a zillion photos again.
  15. Authenticator style apps often don't backup properly. So you need to redo them all.
  16. It's very easy to accidentally trigger the 911 code with my car adapter. I turned off the emergency dial feature.
  17. 1Password 7 WiFi sync stopped working. My theory is I need to regenerate some private key but that's not supported. The company no longer supports WiFi sync so I'm kind of screwed here. [I figured out something close to a fix.]
  18. The zoom, low light image enhancement, and Find Objects features are nice, but the iPhone 13 Pro is actually not all that big an improvement over the iPhone 8.
Contents of email sent with iPhone 13 Pro:

Guides to Get You Started

Setting up your new iPhone

Watch and learn with video guides from Apple Support.
Set up your new iPhone
How to back up with iCloud
Read step-by-step guides at your own pace.

iPhone Activation

How do I activate my iPhone?

Once you have your iPhone, activation is simple. Turn on your iPhone by pressing and holding the side button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set it up.
To activate this iPhone on your employer’s plan or a prepaid plan, you may need to contact your carrier, or—if your workplace employs more than 25 people—your employer.
If you didn’t choose a carrier when you bought this iPhone, you’ll need to contact a carrier or insert your own SIM card. Older SIM cards may not work on a 5G network. You may need a new SIM card from your carrier.

Do I need a SIM card?

iPhone 13 models activate on eSIM. With eSIM, no physical SIM card is needed to connect to a cellular data plan, though you will need Wi-Fi for setup. If you would like a physical SIM card, you can reach out to your carrier.
iPhone 12 and earlier models may arrive with a physical SIM card already installed depending on your choice of carrier.