When sharing an Apple ID creates iMessage and text message confusion

Danielle Gibbons notes that her family has a single Apple ID/iCloud account, “and we keep getting each other’s text messages. How do we stop that from happening?”

Unfortunately, an Apple ID and the associated iCloud account are a single entity—there’s no way to split out multiple, different text messaging or iMessage delivery addresses.

However, it is possible to use third-party messaging apps, like WhatsApp (free, iTunes Store link), and third-party apps that handle sending and receiving text messages, like Text Free, because you can set up a unique account with those services.

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How to convert between music files formats in iTunes

Larry Dixon wants to convert MP3 to AAC in iTunes, like he used to. But in the latest version, he can’t figure out the process. I admit, it’s a little wonky, and I had to read up and test the process, because elements of it date way, way back in iTunes and show their age.

You can select any media file or files in iTunes that’s not DRM protected, and then choose File > Convert > Create [Format] Version. That creates a copy of the file or files in iTunes in what format appears. You can also hold down the Option key and the menu item changes to Convert to [Format], and lets you save the selected items in any location you want.

For me, “format” says MP3. But that can be changed:

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How Media Services and Wi-Fi Assist can drain gigabytes of mobile data

Sue Simpson writes:

We just had one of our employees use 84GB in 12 hours. She has a new iPhone 6. She received an overage message and her data was shut-off. Highest use of data in her apps indicates “Media Services.” No one knows why nor how this is possible. She was at home on wireless at the time as well.

First off, great diagnosis job on Sue and her staff’s part. If you’re trying to find a bandwidth drain, going to Settings > Cellular will show you data consumed by each app, but not in order of usage, only alphabetically. Swipe down to the bottom of that list and tap System Services, which is sorted by internal iOS processes from most to least usage.

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How to delete locked images in Image Capture

Steve Harris is trying to delete images in the Image Capture app, but a lock icon appears on photos. He wonders how to proceed.

The most common reason for this is that you’ve mounted a memory card through a Mac’s SD Card slot or an external card reader, but the card’s tiny lock switch has been flipped on. I have never intentionally used the lock switch, which is designed to prevent accidentally overwriting images and video as a physical, on-demand read-only setting.

Eject the card, then flip the switch to the unlocked position, then mount again. The locks should be gone. If they remain, the card may be damaged. SD cards are tiny computers that manage the wear pattern on what is effectively an SSD. If the on-board computer determines it can’t write data, the only indication would be these locks in Image Capture.

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The problem with blocking phone numbers in iOS

Did you know that Caller ID is a sham? It is. There’s no system of verification on the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to check that the Caller ID number inserted into the system by the calling party is a number that party legitimately owns. For many years, the New York Times’ Caller ID was (111) 111-1111; I freelanced for the Times, and when that number popped up on my cell, I knew who it was.

This makes it frustrating and sometimes impossible to block all incoming spam, fraudulent, or harassing callers, because many people and organizations who want your time use Caller ID tricks. There are free and cheap services to route calls one at a time, and software that lets boiler-room operations do it in bulk.

As a result, one scamming outfit might call you on a variety of numbers. Recently, I have received a series of phishing calls that appear to originate not just from my area code (206 in Washington state), but from my exchange, the three digits at the start of a local phone number, like 123 in 123-4576. This, of course, makes it more likely for me to pick up.

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How to find recently deleted media in Photos for Mac

Wava Langford has since on her own solved the problem she wrote about, but I wanted to share it and the result. I’ve heard from other people as well. It’s in regards to an error in Apple’s online support pages:

I deleted some photos from the Photos app [for OS X] and I need them back. I’ve researched this and the only answer seems to be to use File > Show Recently Deleted.

Wava says there’s no such item in her File menu. Her app wasn’t damaged nor was she looking in the wrong place: Apple switched behavior in some release of Photos for OS X so that there’s now a Recently Deleted album with a trashcan icon in the sidebar. If you haven't deleted anything, the Recently Delete album does not appear. Also, the Recently Delete album disappears if you empty it.

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