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.

Happy New Year to All Mac Fans

Hey y’all.

I know what you’re doing at this moment, definitely not sitting in front of your computer or reading my blog 🙂

As new year is around the corner, very soon…I want to take this opportunity to wish all Mac fans (especially, my dear blog readers) a happy and prosperous 2017!

2016 has been a gorgeous year for me as I learned a lot along the way, both work and life.

Cheers and I look forward to any challenges or opportunities up coming in the new year.

Happy holidays and have fun!!

Is It Worth Upgrading a MacBook with an SSD?

So you’ve been told that getting an SSD can boost your Macbook performance, and you’re thinking about doing so? But, is it really worth it to upgrade your MacBook Air or Pro to an SSD?

In this article, I’ll share a few of my own opinions.

What is SSD?

SSD is short for Solid-state drive. In case you are new to the SSD world, check out the wiki for more information.

The common misconception about SSD

There are a lot of debates over HDDs vs SSDs in the past several years. Bill from EMC outlined the top three misconceptions about solid-state drive. The article was written in 2014. According to him, the common misconception was that SSDs are unreliable.

That is not true. According to PCMag’s explanation of difference between SSD and HDD, SSDs win HDDs on durability because

…an SSD has no moving parts, so it is more likely to keep your data safe in the event you drop your laptop bag or your system is shaken about by an earthquake while it’s operating…

Bill also mentioned that SSDs were expensive than HDDs, which was and still is true. But, earlier this year Lucas Mearian posted an article in PCWorld stating that SSD prices are coming close to HDDs. Here’s a graph you’ll find interesting.

Is it worth upgrading your Macbook to SSD?

In my opinion, it depends on your goal, and more important, the current situation of your Mac.

If your MacBook is a couple of years old and runs really slow to a point that affects your productivity (in particular, assuming you use it to do work most of the time), then you should consider replacing the internal hard drive with an SSD. Typical models include 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

If your MacBook is relatively new and it works okay to deal with most errands. Then I’d not recommend you to upgrade even if it has performance issues. Because you can resume some speed by unloading some apps, cleaning out unnecessary files, etc.

Be careful when choosing an SSD for your Mac

It’s common perception that a product receives good reviews and customer feedback, it must be good. But what if I told you that’s not exactly true?

What do I mean? Take a look at this SSD shadiness: “Kingston and PNY caught bait-and-switching cheaper components after good reviews”.

Seriously, I was shocked by the news reported by Joel Hruska from ExtremeTech (thanks Joel! I always have full respect to courageous journalists). I don’t know how dare these established tech companies tossed out business ethics.

Anyway, the takeaway to you is watch out for those SSD brands and manufactures that had bad reputation. It’s always safe to read reviews from different sources and compare what users had to say about their using experience.

How to install an SSD to your MacBook?

You don’t have to be super tech-savvy to do this. In fact, there are tons of great video tutorials out there to help you out. iFixit, for example, is one of my favorites. For MacBook Pros, this guide has detailed a 4-step instructions.

A general rule you should follow is to make backups before you proceed. This is very important and should always be kept in mind. Set up Time Machine, or have a solid online backup mechanism in place.

Hope you find these tips useful. Now I’d like to hear from you. What’s the life looking life for an SSD-based MacBook? Or any other reasons that are holding you back from upgrading?

Drop me a line in the comment!

How to Show Battery Percentage on macOS

Today a reader left a message to me. It was related to displaying the battery percentage on her new MacBook Pro.

Hey, I just bought a new MacBook, completely new to the macOS world. I was trying to figure out the proper setting to make the battery percentage show up so I can better prepare myself in case the percentage falls under 10% and enters sleep mode automatically (like Windows 10, maybe). Please help!

Well, first off — I want to make it clear that Macs, unlike PCs, don’t force the system to enter sleep mode when battery level is below 10%. At least, based on my personal experience, I’ve never encountered this situation when my MacBook sleeps or shuts down when the battery crosses the 10% line. In fact, most of the time I can still use my Mac for 10-15 minutes before I have to plug in the charger.

As to how to show the remaining battery percentage besides the icon bar, it’s actually quite simple:

On the menu bar, click on the battery icon, and select “Show Percentage” in the drop-down menu options.

Then you’ll see the percentage shows up on the left side of the battery icon (e.g. in my case, it says 96% which would last quite a few hours normally)

That’s it. Pretty simple, right? There is no need to configure this though Settings or System Preferences. The beauty of macOS!

The Magic Mouse Disconnecting Issue Is Driving Me Nuts

Okay, I barely complain about anything related to Apple products I use in public because I’m an advocate of Apple.

But I’m kind of annoyed by this kind problem for a long time. And today, the issue happened more often than usual.

It’s related to Magic Mouse I use. Late last year, I bought a Magic Mouse 2 (without battery) and used it ever since. I managed to resolve most of the issues I encountered including: how to auto connect, unable to finger scroll, etc.

However, there is one issue remains. Here’s the symptom:

  • It keeps disconnecting every 1-2 hours. And today I happened twice or three times in the past hour.
  • Sometimes after I start up my Mac, the mouse won’t be connected unless I log out my account and log in again.

I’ve tried almost every possible solution available on the Internet. For example, here are a few threads and blog articles I’ve read:

But nope, all the fixes don’t work for me…what a bummer.

I don’t how much patience I would have to endure this before it’s fixed. Or maybe I should return the product and get a non-Apple mouse instead? (yep, I heavily rely on a mouse to navigate).

Any help would be much appreciated.

Fixing Dictionary App Keeps Popping up Issue

If you are experiencing this issue as I did — the Dictionary/definition keeps popping up when you type or use the mouse, here’s the solution for you.

The problem appeared on my MacBook from yesterday, which I had no idea what I did. I was just typing on Google docs and some words got automatically highlighted, followed by a Dictionary app showed up that provided a definition of the word the mouse pointed at (see this screenshot). The weirdest thing was that my screen sometimes enlarged itself.


At first, I thought it was due to that I haven’t updated system to latest OS — so I went ahead and upgraded OS. But the issue still persisted.

The real solution

It’s actually quite simple. All you need to do is disable an option via in the trackpad setting.

Step 1: on your Mac, open System Preferences.


Step 2: click Trackpad.


Step 3: under Point & Click tab, uncheck “Look up & data detectors”.


That’s it. Quite simple, right?

Not sure how I messed up and checked this option. My guess is that I might have mis-clicked it while I was cleaning my Mac screen and keyboard.

Anyway, hope this tip has helped you out.

Can’t Imagine Technology Ages SO FAST

As I was browsing Mac news this morning (as usual), I read this MacRumors article:

Apple to Obsolete iPhone 4 and Late 2010 MacBook Air on October 31

Like many others, I was kind of surprised that Apple did so. If you have chance to scroll down in the article to the comments section, you’ll see many readers have similar feeling.

Some even say “and still it’s the best iPhone ever :)”, you know what that means ;D

To me, I just felt a bit sad for 2010 MacBook Air users. Well, maybe it’s the trend, but I don’t know. To me, it seems the value of a Mac (like many other types of consumer electronics) discounts faster than ever before.

Is this the trend? And is the MacBook Air pricing reasonable? I have to wonder…

How to Change the Theme of Google Chrome Browser on Mac

If you are like me, also use Google Chrome on a daily basis. You might want to change the theme (i.e. the skin) on Chrome.

Today, when I turned on my Mac and opened Chrome as usual. Not sure if it’s because I mis-clicked on some settings, the Chrome appearance looks quite different. It’s so grey (see below). I don’t really like it.

But, it only takes a few steps to add or change a theme of Google Chrome and make it look amazing.

Here you go:

Step 1: Open Chrome web browser on your Mac. On the top left corner, on the menu, click Chrome, then Preferences…

Step 2: you’ll come to the “Settings” tab. Under Settings > Appearence, see the button “Get Themes”? Click on it.

Step 3: browse the theme library, select one that you like (for me, I selected “Galaxy-View”), and click the blue “ADD TO CHROME” button. Wait for several seconds.

Step 4: Now check your Chrome skin. Does it look nicer? Whoa!

Note: you can also click the “Undo” button to reverse the process, it’s quite convenient.

Thanks Google! 🙂