Parallels Just Released A New Version and Now We Have Desktop 14 for Mac

As a long fan of this great software company called Parallels (I got to know them since Parallels Desktop 7), it’s good to know that they just released a brand new version: now we’ve got Desktop 14!

Version 13 had a number of awesome features including enhanced retina support, picture-in-picture new view mode, and you could customize Touch Bar for Windows apps, to name a few.

What’s New in Parallels Desktop 14 for Mac?

According to the newsletter the company sent to we subscribers, they are:

  • Ready for upcoming macOS Mojave release
  • Improved application launch time
  • Increased Touch Bar support for popular Microsoft Windows applications
  • 4K shared camera support
  • The latest Windows features are supported

You can also get a quicker overview of the newer version from this YouTube video:

Or this official blog post written by Beatrice Vogel, the communication manager at Parallels:

Happy running Windows apps on your Mac with this awesome virtual machine software.

What to Do When Mac Randomly Shuts Down and Restarts?

The other day I was doing simple edits to a photo using Preview app on my Mac, to my surprise the machine first froze for a few seconds and shut down itself.

More surprisingly it restarted (I swear I didn’t press the start button). I’m on an old Mac ? precisely, a 2012 model MacBook Pro.

A quick research turns out that I was not the only “casualty”, and it seems the causes are still kind of unknown. Some said they managed to fix the problem by replacing the motherboard, some said you should go change the battery.

Well, I did suspect that it was related to the battery issue, as it always says “replace soon” while checking the battery condition.

Should I replace the battery on my old MacBook Pro?

But, it’s still hard to pinpoint the real “culprit”, after spending hours looking into scores of Apple macOS threads in different communities/forums.

Although many fellow Mac users even called Apple support team and did send their Mac machines to Genius Bar for diagnosis, turned out Apple genius guys weren’t that helpful — and the experiences frustrated many of us which is reasonable considering the time and efforts they invested.

SMC Reset Seems The Obvious Solution

The only official guide is from this Apple article, whether it indicates some symptoms that might mean an SMC reset is necessary:

Your Mac sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly and you can’t turn it back on.

Here’s a nice video showing you how to reset it:

But, I’m Not Sure Whether It’ll Work Out

I’ve already tried that, but it would take some time for me to conclude that a SMC reset is the working solution.

Are You Using an iMac?

In this iFixit thread, Billy Moon shared his story about random shutdown (he’s using an?iMac 27″ 3.4 GHz i7, Late 2012) and he managed to fix the issue by replacing the power supply. After five months, the issue never comes back again.

This is one of the few cases I’ve seen people resolving the problem. So, if you’re on an old iMac (instead of MacBook Pro), that solution might work for you too. Thanks Billy and “Mayer” for the great discussion!

Stay Tuned!

Or if you have good suggestions or experiences regarding this kind of weird mac shutting down issue, leave a comment and let me know.

Why Mac Mail won’t quit and keeps interrupting shut down?

I’ve been bothered with this issue for several times. I can’t shut down my Mac because of Mail, an app I use daily.

It seems Mail won’t quit and it shows me this error message:

I remember I quit the Apple Mail app, but somehow it just failed…weird!

After attempting to research the reasons why, I also bumped into a few forum discussions where other Mac users were also experiencing the same issue.

And to my surprise, we can’t figure out the exact reasons. Some say it’s related to the OS X (now macOS) your Mac is running under, while there are also people say it’s due to the Mail app itself — meaning it’s a bug that needs to be fixed.

Personally, I feel the later sounds more reasonable. Because I’ve encountered a few other issues related to Mail, such as the app takes longer to receive and send out new mails. Especially when I send an email, sometimes it just freezes on the “sending” process, I often have to double check the sendbox to make sure my email reply is delivered successfully. Apple already knows this issue as you can see from this support article.

Another case, which is more recent — the Mail app has some problems after iPhone and iPad users updated to iOS 11. Apple and Microsoft ware working together to fix the problems, as you can read more from this MacRumor report.

Anyways, the solution to fix that Mail failing to quit error is also simple.

Simply click the Apple logo on the top left corner, then select Force Quit, highlight the Mail app, and confirm the operation. After that, your Mac should be able to shut down properly.

Another way to do this is open Activity Monitor (do a quick Spotlight search? to open the app), then select the Mail related process and quit it.

You can choose either way to get that done.

That’s for this update, I hope you find it useful. And hopefully Apple Mail team would improve the app and make it more smooth to use 🙂

Love this fantastic writing app Ulysses

I’ve been writing for a while (as you can see from the archives on this little blog) and honestly I never thought I need any writing apps, because the default WordPress typing dashboard is so awesome…kudos to the amazing?WP geeks 🙂

Case and point,?a minute ago I just created a new post and now I’m typing here – without any distractions thanks to the well-designed distraction free mode. I can also see the number of words I’ve typed and WordPress automatically saved my writing as a draft. Anyhow, those features can’t be more helpful than ever.

But today, I discovered another great yet professional writing app. Yes, you probably have knew it from the title of this article – it’s Ulysses.

You can learn more about the app from its official site here:?

I’m not going to cover how to use the app as you can find tons of tutorials from the developer’s site and on YouTube. And Shawn from the Sweet Setup team just launched a course about it, it seems pretty good though I’m yet to watch it in details.

Plus, I’m still in the learning curve…will take a little bit time, but I don’t think it requires ages. Two reasons: I’m eager to learn new stuff so I’m confident that I’ll get used to the app quicker than you might thought. Second, the Ulysses team has made a top-notch product, the app looks so?familiar.

What do I mean? Check out those screenshots I took!

A screen when the app has been installed successfully. “You’re all set, happy editing!”
The main dashboard of Ulysses, looks very much like the Mail app, right?
And here’s the Markup Preferences, looks beautiful, no? 🙂

You know what? The best part is that the app is cross-platform. Besides macOS, it’s also available on iOS (for iPad and iPhone).

Can’t wait to explore and learn more about this productivity app. It looks really great, isn’t it? I’ll share with you more about it later, if I get a chance.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all are great!

Is FileVault Disk Encryption Good or Bad?

The other way a reader emailed me asking whether it’s a good idea to turn on FileVault on her Mac.

Well, let’s admit it — this is a topic that has been debated again and again, and still it doesn’t seem to have a consensus among macOS users.

Just take a quick look at this forum thread, and this one in Apple Discussion…you’ll understand what I mean.

So, is FileVault disk encryption good or bad? What’s the best practices to follow if possible? That’s what I’m going to cover in this post.

But first, here are some opinions from authorities:

FileVault Is Good

Data security is the top reason for using it, and that’s what the feature was designed for, according to Apple, FileVault 2 full-disk encryption uses XTS-AES-128 encryption with a 256-bit key to help prevent unauthorized access to the information on your startup disk.

So, if your Mac has stored tons of highly private and sensitive information — it’s probably a good idea to have FileFault turned on as always. Because you never know what would happen to your Mac machine, e.g. one day you may need to resell or donate it, or in worst situation the machine got stolen.

BackBlaze had a great point in this:

FileVault protects your data from prying eyes. If you?re using your computer to access sensitive data, or if you just don?t want your information to fall into the wrong hands, FileVault gives you peace of mind you won?t have otherwise.

FileVault Is Probably Not Good

The main concerns include: performance, password, and data safety.

First of all, if you’re using an older Mac that loads with a spinning hard drive rather then an SSD (unless you’ve upgraded it), then having it turned on would probably cause more slowdowns or hangs.

As Jim Tanous put in TekRevue:

Another issue to consider is performance. Because the Mac will have to encrypt and decrypt data as the user calls for it, there will be a slight performance hit when it comes to reading and writing data.

On the other hands, you’ll need to set a password for the drive, and have to enter it to mount it. These days I believe you already have enough passwords, adding an extra one (different from other passwords) means more risk — you may forget it. And if that happens, it’s a disaster for all the data and content saved in the drive.

My personal take

You see? We can’t say it’s absolutely good or bad to encrypt Mac disk with this built-in feature.

Personally, I prefer not to turn it on. That’s why you see this on my MacBook Pro. Go to > System Preferences > Security & Privacy.

I have disk encryption turned off 🙂

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t value data security. You may consider set up and enable Find My Mac, and if your Mac is too old to perform well and you want to recycle it, do these things to make sure the new owner has no access to your data (yes, data recovery is possible, see my previous post here).

Last yet most important, no matter what you choose — enable or disable the encryption option, always make timely backups of your Mac data. That’s the golden rule of protecting yourself from data disaster in the digital age.

How to Disable Siri (Turn it off on Menu Bar) on macOS Sierra?

Let’s be?honest, are you really a fan of Siri?

Although Apple has put lots of efforts to make Siri?an intelligent personal assistant, I’m just not as enthusiastic as I should be told to.

Don’t get me wrong, I have used Siri many times on my phone and Mac as well – yes, I am a typical example of “the 98% have used Siri, but only 3% do so in public due to embarrassment [poll]”, a survey from 9to5mac.

You can read the article here:?

I also participated the survey, and honestly the result was surprising!

Survey source: 9to5mac

So, if you are like me who want to disable Siri on macOS Sierra, here’s a quick guide for you. I have no idea why Apple decided to incorporate it into Sierra, maybe because El Capitan users made strongly request this feature. For me, I am used to not using Siri as my personal assistant when I’m working on my MacBook Pro.

Here’s where Siri shows up on Mac’s menu bar

To turn it off, you just need a couple of steps:

Step 1: Open System Preferences.

Step 2: Click “Siri” in the preferences pane.

Step 3: In the new windows, uncheck “Enable Siri”. That’s it.

You should notice the siri icon disappear from the menu bar right away.

In case you need the feature at some point, go to the same window and select “Enable Siri”. A pop-up “Siri sends information like your voice input, contacts, and location to Apple to process your requests.” will show and just click to confirm it.

Hope you like this simple tutorial =-)

How to fix it when headphone sound isn’t balanced on Mac

Yesterday I took the plug and upgraded my MacBook to the latest version of Sierra, finally!…I know, I know, it’s quite late (call me lazy) 🙂

One problem that got around me was – when I plug in?my headphone on the Mac jack, there’s voice only on one side (I couldn’t tell which is right or left since the two sides on my headphone are exactly the same).

The unbalanced sound is oddly unacceptable, something I can’t tolerate for sure. Just imagine when Justin Bieber’s voice always come from your right ear when he’s singing What Do You Mean, lol

I have never met such issue when I upgraded my Mac to El Capitan (the OS X version before Sierra), therefore I have no idea what caused it.

Fortunately, I was able to fix the unbalanced sound issue in a few steps (really simple, actually):

Here’s how:

Step 1: Click Apple logo on top left, then System Preferences

Step 2: in the Preferences pane, click Sound.

Step 3: in the new window, under “Output” tab (select this one if you are not here). See “Balance”? Move the pointer to the middle, and you should be good to go.

P.S. In my case, it pointed to “right”, that’s why there was only sound coming from one side on my headphone.

Hope Apple would take care of this issue when releasing the next macOS version, which’s coming soon.

Thanks for reading. Hope you find this tip useful!

How to Quickly Find The MAC Address of Your MacBook Pro

You probably know what an IP address is and how to find it (yep, just type ?what is my IP address? in Google and you?ll see a series of digits). But what about MAC address (or Wi-Fi address)? How to find it on a Macbook Pro?

What is MAC address (vs. IP address)?

Okay, there are enough resources on the Internet defining the two terms and exploring their difference. I found this article most useful and to the point.

Just a note – don’t get confused by the term “MAC” (short for Media Access Control). It actually has nothing to do with Apple’s Mac computers. Every network device has a unique MAC address, including a Windows PC.

When do you need to know your MAC address?

There are a number of situations you may have to know your MAC address. For example, you want to get authorized to access certain servers in your company or organization.

For me, the motivation was different. The other day the Internet on my apartment was super slow, I suspected somebody was stealing my network and draining the limited brand-width. So I went to the router and followed my Internet provider?s instructions to look up devices connected to my line. I did see several devices connected to my Internet router.

But surprisingly, it didn?t show me the names of each device. Instead, all I saw was a series of digits and characters ? which later I figured out are the MAC (Wi-Fi) addresses. But which one represented my MacBook Pro? I was confused.

It?s not rocket science to find it out?

How to find MAC (Wi-Fi) address of a MacBook Pro

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo, and then System Preferences…

Step 2: On System Preferences pane, click Network.

Step 3: now check the Wi-Fi tab on the left panel. And then click the “Advanced” button.

Step 4: in the new window, go to the Wi-Fi tab, find this line “Wi-Fi Address” at the bottom. Here we go, the series of character is your MAC Address (aka, Wi-Fi Address).

Pretty easy, right? Hope you find this quick tip useful 🙂


How to Disable AVG Antivirus App Icon in Mac Menu Bar?

I’m not super paranoid about Mac security as I haven’t been caught by any virus or malware (yet), since I started to use my Mac. But it seems recent years there are some anecdotes (maybe facts) saying macOS isn’t safe any more.

Personally, I think the trend is to the benefits of the antivirus makers whose revenue comes from system protection software. AVG is one of them. I’ve installed AVG Antivirus on my Mac and liked its quick scan and through scan features.

But, one thing I felt annoying is the icon keeps showing up on Mac menu bar (screenshot here), every time I turn on my machine. This is not cool because I’m organized and I care a lot about desktop cleanness.

I don’t like this 🙁

Fortunately, preventing it from showing up is quite easy. Here’s how to disable the icon step by step:

Step 1: Click the AVG icon and select “Open AVG Antivirus…”.

Step 2: On the top left corner, click on AVG AntiVirus > Preferences.

Step 3: Under “General” tab, uncheck this option “Show AVG AntiVirus icon in the task bar.”

Step 4: Bingo! Now the icon should disappear from your Mac menu bar.

P.S. not sure why AVG calls it “task bar” but on Macs we’re used to call it “menu bar” (that’s also what Apple describes, see here). Also, in case you want to rearrange menu bar icons instead of removing it, check out this tip from HowtoGeek.

Does MacBook Pro Have BlueTooth? How to Tell What Version It Has

Bluetooth is a technology that makes our lives easier. It has been popular for years. You probably have heard, or even used it at some point of your digital life.

As a lover of MacBook Pro, one of the questions I have in mind and got asked several times was: does a MacBook Pro have Bluetooth? How to check what Bluetooth version my Mac is equipped with?

Today I’m going to show you the answer.

Does MacBook Pro have BlueTooth?

Yes. According to Apple, here’s what it says:

“Most Mac computers come with Bluetooth technology built-in….and you can pair your Mac with a Bluetooth device”

That means, as long as your mobile devices (e.g. a mouse, an iPhone/iPad, etc.) are Bluetooth-enabled, they can be connected to your Mac without problems.

How to tell what Bluetooth version your MacBook Pro has?

Step 1: Click the Apple logo icon on top left corner, then select About This Mac.

Step 2: Click the “System Report” button to continue.

Step 3: Under Hardware tab, find Bluetooth. Scroll down and locate this line called “LMP Version:”, it indicates the version of Bluetooth your Mac is currently with. For example, my MacBook Pro is with Bluetooth 4.0 (see the screenshot below).

Bluetooth 4.0 vs 4.1 vs 4.2 (and 5.0)

In general, newer versions are faster, more reliable and secure.

If you are interested in knowing a little bit further about Bluetooth technology, here are some useful resources to explore.