How to leave the OS X beta program

This summer, Apple let every OS X user with a qualifying machine who wanted to opt into a public beta do so with a very few clicks. In fact, you still can: Visit the Apple Beta Software Program enrollment page, download an installer, and follow the instructions.

El Capitan’s public betas were very stable, even in early releases, and Apple’s incremental approach coupled with extensive testing truly seemed to help produce a mature “dot oh”: OS X 10.11.0 worked well out of the gate. But what if you don’t want to preview all the micro-releases, like the curent 10.11.1? As long as you’re in the program, you’ll get daily reminders about these new betas.

But you can opt out in a remarkably easy fashion.

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How to substitute Amazon or others for iCloud Photo Library

A reader asks:

I have an Amazon Prime account and for added protection I’d like to put all my photos on its cloud drive for backup. I have a Time Machine backup but would also like to put my photos on Amazon’s cloud drive. How can I cleanly do this? Is there a way to keep the metadata? I’m not concerned about the library or folder the photos are in but would like to keep the dates, location, file names the photos have.

The metadata is no problem: because each image file format has its own spec for metadata, these defining photo and video characteristics—like the timestamp for when it was captured, the aperture, and so forth—aren’t operating system dependent. They come along with the image, unless you’re using a service that promises to scrape some metadata out. Social networks remove some metadata to protect privacy, for instance, but it’s assumed with a cloud photo service, you’re managing what you want shared.

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Imported photos in OS X don't appear in iCloud library

Romit Jain has a problem with iCloud Photo Library. It’s enabled on his OS X laptop and an iPhone, but only pictures taken with his iPhone appear in iCloud and on his Mac. Something’s not right!

While Romit clearly knows the settings required, he should check to make sure that something wasn’t reset. In Photos in OS X in the Photos > Preferences > iCloud settings, iCloud Photo Library should be checked. If it’s not or if the sync is Paused (when Pause for One Day has been pressed), then images won’t be uploaded.

But Romit’s Photos for OS X is receiving downloads of newly captured or uploaded photos, which would indicate that either or both iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream are enabled. If it shows a stalled number of uploads remaining with a progress bar, then that at least reveals something is happening.

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If you delete a photo from iCloud Photo Library, is it gone forever?

Leo Kostizen wants to migrate from Aperture to Photos and use iCloud Photo Library. However, he’s worried that once he’s enabled the cloud-based photo syncing and storage system on all his iOS devices and his Mac that a deletion in one place deletes the items everywhere.

If a deletion is made on any device, the same picture is deleted on all devices connected to the cloud…What if I retain full-resolution pictures on my iMac? Will the deletion also be made here?

I can see a grandchild accidentally deleting a few pictures on iPad and me not even realizing that they are gone. I always keep a backup but it would be difficult to tell whether I need to restore.

An excellent point and concern. To my knowledge, you can’t lock down Photos to prevent deletions entirely. You could set up a separate user account on your iMac for use by your grandchildren or other people, and they would then not have any direct access to your Photos library. This is a good way to limit damage and access even by the most honorable relatives and friends, in any case.

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Photo thumbnails on your Mac turned to black? Here's a fix

Pam Bush upgraded her Mac to the latest version of OS X, but her Photos library is full of black thumbnails, rather than tiny images. The Mac consultant who handled her upgrade told her it was a bug, and she needed to “rotate every image manually.” “Not going to happen in my lifetime,” Pam writes.

The consultant is technically correct: iPhoto and Photos rebuilds previews if you rotate an image, which can be done in Photos in the All Photos view by selecting Edit > Select All and then Image > Rotate Clockwise or Rotate Counterclockwise, and then the opposite after the rotation is complete.

However, for a large photo library, this is a lot of wasted time and effort, and might mask other problems in the file structure. Instead, you can rebuild thumbnails or repair the library, depending on the software you use.

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How to merge large iPhoto and Photos libraries

Esa Ruoho has a 11,000-item iPhoto library and an Apple Photos library for OS X that comprises over 6,000 items:

I just spent 6 hours combining three iPhoto Libraries (one on a MacBook Pro, one on an iMac and one on another iMac) via File Sharing between them, and the Fat Cat Software iPhoto Library Manager. So far, so good.

However, since the goal is to push 13,000+ images to iCloud Photos, I’m not sure how to either combine an iPhoto Library and a Photos Library, or how to combine the iPhoto Library imported to a Photos Library, and a Photos Library.

The good news is that this can be done. The bad news is that it takes more effort.

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Who owns which apps you’ve installed in iOS? A better answer

I recently answered a reader’s question about sorting out which app on his iPhone was prompting him for an account password. This can happen when you use a bypass to install—legitimately!—on your iOS device an app purchased by someone else. You can use that app, but iOS may prompt you to enter the Apple ID password for the account that bought it.

Reader jslove proffered a great solution in the comments that I need to bump out into a full article, because it’s an actual answer. What jslove noted is that in iTunes in OS X, you can select a synced or downloaded app and view the purchaser’s information.

Here’s how to go through apps methodically to see which were purchased by someone else and then remove those from your iOS device. This only works with iOS devices synced to a copy of iTunes, so you either need to set up sync to find this information or use the copy of iTunes you’ve already set up to sync with the device.

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