If Apple Notes stop syncing

Has it ever happened to you that Apple’s Notes just stopped syncing reliably via iCloud?

For me it happens like this: the Mac stops uploading local changes to some notes to iCloud, so I don’t see them on my phone. I know that the problem is really in uploading from the Mac because the web version of iCloud continues to sync normally with my iPhone. Also, the new notes that I create on the phone, appear on my Mac.

You may have found several fix suggestions online, must futile. Signing off iCloud and then signing back on helps, but this way you lose all the local changes that haven’t been uploaded to iCloud.

What I’ve found to be a working and safe solution is to select the “All iCloud” folder in Notes, then sort notes by date changed, then move all the notes that hadn’t been uploaded to iCloud to the “On My Mac” account (you must enable it in Preferences) and then move them back to the iCloud account.

Dec 27   Mac   solution

How Apple can preserve face while recovering from the MacBook Pro mistakes

In The best laptop ever made, Marco Arment outlines just how great the previous-generation MacBook Pros were. He does not say this directly, but obviously alludes to the multiple problems with the current MacBook Pros.

Really, almost all changes in the new MacBook Pros made them worse: unreliable keyboard, no useful ports, no MagSafe, worse battery life under load. All this with no meaningful improvements to performance. And nobody seems to care about the Touch Bar.

I don’t know whether Apple internally even think they’ve made a mistake with the 2016 design, but let’s pretend they do. If they just go back to the 2012 design next year, they will thus admit they’ve screwed up with the design. And that’s not what Apple usually does. But the 2012 design with the newer guts is what the market wants — at least until Apple comes up with a design that is actually better, and that takes time.

So how can they both satisfy the market and preserve face?

They still sell new 2012-design MacBook Pros. I think they will continue to do so, and will update those machines. Maybe they will rebrand them as “Classic” to contrast with the “Touch Bar” models, at least when they talk about them.

So, in year 2018 we may see updates to both lines. The Classic MacBook Pros could get faster processors, better displays and a couple of USB-C ports. The Touch Bar MacBook Pros could get a reliable keyboard, and to make them look super-cool, maybe, Face ID, if that’s not too early.

And by the year 2020 or so Apple will hopefully do another redesign, and we’ll see if it’s good enough to finally abandon the Classic line.

Nov 25   Apple   Mac

Make text lower case

Sometimes you paste a text from somewhere, and it’s all upper case, and you want to make it normal case. Few people know that changing text case is a built-in feature of every text field on a Mac, like cut, copy and paste.

Edit → Transformations → Make Lower Case:

Make text lower case

See also: Quickly convert any text to plain text.

2017   lifehack   Mac

How to un-hang a hung app on a Mac

In some cases an app on your Mac would hang: the mouse cursor would turn into a spinning beach ball, and the app would ignore all clicks and key presses. If this doesn’t cure itself in a couple of seconds, there’s not much you can do other than to force quit the app and re-launch it.

Except that sometimes you can. Open Activity Monitor and select the hung app in the list. It’s shown in red as “not responding”. Then click the gear icon and select “Sample Process”:

How to un-hang a hung app on a Mac

If you are lucky, the app would just magically un-hang!

I have no idea what this feature is for, and it doesn’t always work. But if the app’s data is very valuable to you, you don’t just want to give up and force quit it. So you can try this. I’ve saved a couple of Photoshop files this way.

2017   lifehack   Mac   software

Reminders app is so buggy

Reminders is one of buggiest apps Apple has ever made. Sometimes it forgets to remind, sometimes it reminds twice. It cannot sync anything between Macs, iOS devices and the watch. And now, it decided to remind me of five things:

Reminders app

Thanks, I guess.

2016   bugs   iPhone   Mac   software
2016   Mac

Spacing separates, lines join

People often draw lines to separate things. They should, instead, move the things apart.

Here is the Mac menu bar:

If you “separate” the items with lines, the effect will be the opposite:

2014   design   Mac   user interface

The stupid “Compose New Message” menu item

Let’s say you’ve right-clicked the’s dock icon and want to write a new mail:

Why, why is the menu item called “Compose New Message”? Why does it say “Compose”? No sane person would ever say: “Honey, I need to compose a message”.

In every other app on Earth there is no verb before “New”. Just “New Window” in Safari. Just “New Event” in Calendar. Heck, in iMessage it is just “New Message”. Who does Apple make me spend several seconds trying to find the line I need in This is one of those things you cannot get used to.

2014   Mac   rants   text   user interface

Steve Jobs demos the Mac in 1984

Watch this video. I am almost as excited about the stuff they show as the audience:

I think the 2007 iPhone demo will look impressive even in thirty years.

2014   Apple   iPhone   Mac   video

Fix sudo on a Mac

Sometimes the sudo command stops working for reasons beyond human understanding. When you try to sudo anything, it says: “no valid sudoers sources found”.

It happened to me twice. The first time it happened to a MacBook. I tried to make some changes to the sudoers file, but it didn’t help, and I gave up. After adding an SSD drive to my Mac Pro and moving the system to it, it happened again. Mac Pro is my main working machine, so I had to fix it this time.

Turned out the problem was with the permissions on the root directory. Presumably I’ve somehow broken them while moving my system.

I found a working solution on MacRumors forum. Here’s what you do:

  1. Restart your Mac is a single-user mode (press and hold ⌘+S during boot until you see command prompt).
  2. /sbin/fsck -fy
    check the filesystem integrity (not sure it’s necessary, but I did it anyway).
  3. /sbin/mount -wu /
    mount the root filesystem.
  4. /bin/chmod 1775 /
    fix the permissions.
  5. /bin/sync
    commit the changes to filesystem.
  6. exit

After booting to the normal Mac environment, you may also need to repair permissions with the Disk Utility.

2012   Mac   solution
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