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.

dictionary-app-shows

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.

mac-system-preferences

Step 2: click Trackpad.

settings-trackpad-mac

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

points-click-look-up

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.

Now We’ve Got MacBooster 4: New Interface & Added Features

It’s always great to see a new release or upgrade for a Mac software. That means months’ of hard working are paid off to the app developer team behind the product.

Today, I just got to know that IObit released a new version for MacBooster. Now we’ve got MacBooster 4! Actually this happened in September, so this post is a bit late (but better late than never, right :D)

According to this IObit forum posting, that the newer version has a new system status UI, and a few new features like Real-time Protection, Extensions Manager, and Privacy Clean.

Nick Peers from MacWorld also covered the news. This sentence he wrote brings to my attention.

We’re not as convinced by its virus-scanning tools, which seem bolted on somewhat, and the lack of any backup mechanism to protect your system in case something goes wrong

Very interesting point, isn’t it? The security market has always been a topic for debate on the Internet, since the PC age. When it comes to Mac, no surprise it’d incur skepticism.

Also, this MacBooster review seems very thorough and unbiased -does not always say good things about an app, I enjoy reading it. Good job, Chris!

Note: in case you don’t know, for those of you who are already using MacBooster 3, IObit charges $10 upgrade fee to activate MacBooster 4. Do you think it’s reasonable? I’d like to hear from you. In my experience, software upgrade is usually free.

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 Record Your iPhone Screen on Mac (without Jailbreak)

If you are a fan of mobile gaming, a marketer of an iPhone app, or a Youtuber, you probably have wondered whether there is a way to make a screen video of your iPhone.

In fact, there are many methods (and apps) out there. But, not all of them are easy to use. Some even require you to jailbreak your device which is illegal in many countries.

Thankfully, Apple has added a new feature to QuickTime Player that allows you to not only play/share a video, but also record movies from external devices like iPhones.

You don’t have to jailbreak your iPhone any more. All you need are:

  • Mac with OS X Yosemite or El Capitan.
  • iPhone with iOS 8 or later
  • The Lightning cable (for connection)

How to do that? Take a look at the step by step tutorial made by Hans from Tweaking4All, it’s quite good and fun to read (he’s humorous :-/).

I’m sure you’ll love the pup on his iPhone screen 🙂

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! 🙂

How to Better Organize Exported Mailboxes in Apple Mail

If you are like me, who have been using Apple Mail for years. Chances are that your emails would take quite a bit disk space on your Mac, until one day you get a message saying your Macintosh HD is full, and you have to start cleaning the hard drive.

One of the things you can do is to delete those old mailboxes and emails, but before you embark on that, a good habit is to backup the mails first. Fortunately, Apple Mail offers a convenient feature that allows you to export these mailboxes quickly.

All you have to do is select the Inbox (or Sent, Trash, Archive, etc.), right click and hit “Export Mailbox” option. Next, choose a destination folder to save exported files.

However, one problem I faced is that the exported mailboxes (in .mbox format) separate files rather than archived as one. Here’s what it looks. Quite messy, right? Yep, I’ve added 14 accounts, that’s why there are so many files with strange names (how can I tell INBOX 8 is what? Heck ).

Anyway, the question is – is there a better way to organize these mailboxes by altering some settings in Apple Mail?

Unfortunately, no. There is no such feature, after exploring all relevant settings disappointedly.

So, here’s what I do. I manually created a new folder by naming it with the current date, then selected all mailboxes, dragged and dropped them into that folder. Later is the time-consuming part, I renamed each mailbox with the respective email address. That way, whenever I need it (for recovery purpose), I know which file to go.

That’s all what I want to share. It may not be that useful to you, but it works though you’ll have to take extra effort.

Note: I’m using OS X El Capitan (10.11) on my Mac, if Apple does offer such feature in the future, I’ll update this post.

2 Ways to Disable CleanMyMac Menu from Showing on Mac Menu Bar

I have been using CleanMyMac 3 for quite a while, and I like the app a lot. It’s really simple to use, and it cleans many unneeded files that take up gigabytes of disk space.

But one thing I don’t like that much is that it keeps showing up on my Mac menu bar every time I turn on my MacBook. Well, more specifically, I feel a little disturbing and apps (or services) that add themselves to the startup list is annoying, just personal preferences 🙂

If you are using CleanMyMac and you also want to disable the Menu from showing up on the Mac menu bar, we match! Today, I’m going to share with you two ways to do that.

First off: what is CleanMyMac Menu?

Simply put, it’s like a “mini dashboard” of the CleanMyMac app. According to MacPaw, the CleanMyMac Menu is designed to keep you up to date with what’s happening on your Mac and allow you to access all the utilities of the full app. See this screenshot:

Okay, now here’s how to disable it.

#1: Turn it off in CleanMyMac app preferences

Step 1: click on the CleanMyMac Menu icon on your menu bar. Locate the gear icon at the bottom right corner. Click it and select “Preferences”.

Step 2: a new window (the Preferences) pops up. Under the “CleanMyMac 3 Menu” tab, you’ll see a button (with green color). Click to slide it to OFF. Now the Menu will disappear immediately.

Also, it won’t start when you restart your Mac next time.

#2: Disable it from Login Items

Another method (which I usually do) is to remove it from Login Items. Well, not only can you disable CleanMyMac Menu, but also many other apps or services that launch on startup.

Step 1: click the Apple icon on top left corner, go to System Preferences.

Step 2: On the System Preferences dashboard, locate Users & Groups. Click on it.

Step 3: On the “Login Items” tab, select CleanMyMac application, and click on the minus “-” icon. Done!

Either method works, and it’s up to you which way to go. That’s all what I want to share. Once again, I don’t like apps that automatically launch, but MacPaw makes it a breeze to disable the CMM Menu.