Can’t assign apps to specific Spaces on a multi-display Mac? Here’s the fix

For years, I had trouble with what was once separately managed as Spaces and now is an incorporated part of Mission Control. I use two displays on my Mac mini, and at some point, something broke. Yes, I could do a clean OS X installation, but we all know what a pain that is in restoring yourself back to where you were. (And see my horrible, no-good, very-bad time earlier this month with broken drives and a failing older Mac.)

I wanted to use the option in the Mission Control preference pane labeled Displays Have Separate Spaces. I always want certain apps in my smaller, right-hand display, which is off to the side, and other apps always in the main 16:9-proportioned newer, central monitor. In some cases, such as my email software, I want the window in the right-hand screen, but new messages to appear on the main screen, which also contains the default system menu bar and drives.

However, despite getting this to work years ago, at some point it broke—maybe in Mavericks. No matter what I tried nor what advice I found online or from colleagues, I couldn’t restore the ability to assign displays from the Dock. When this works, you should be able to Control-click an app icon and select within the Options menu’s Assign menu among All Displays, desktops by number (1 and 2 in my case), and None.

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How to stop Calendar from duplicating iCloud synced events

An old friend messaged me: his wife’s OS X Calendar app was making duplicates for every entry. She’d create a new entry, fill it out, and then within a moment a duplicate labeled “New Event” appeared. The calendar is synced via iCloud, and it seems like a problem that would be related to that.

Because iCloud sync is live, whenever you create a new event in a synced calendar, the Calendar app pushes the initial raw entry on creation to iCloud, and as you modify it, those updates are sent. It would seem, in this case, that the initial entry is created in one step, and the modified version has a different underlying bit of tracking data that makes it appear like a distinct appointment.

That leads to the initial New Event synchronizing back to the creating Calendar app (and all other synced calendars). Why is this happening? So far, I don’t have an answer for my friend’s wife, but if you’re having a similar problem, here are strategies to try that have worked for other people.

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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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