Mac 911: Why is my Mac full of a million tiny files?

Last time, I talked about the “dark matter” of your iOS devices and OS X systems: stuff that seems to occupy space without offering up information about why. In this Mac 911, I’ll answer more questions about storage and backup.

As many as grains of sand on the beach

Doug Eldred writes in with a concern about a form of file bloat—but not about bloated sizes. Rather, the sheer number of items that seem to appear on his drive.

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Find your missing Wi-Fi adapter and free up that 'Other' storage space

Greetings! You may be used to a much thicker mane of hair occupying the Mac 911 seat, but as you may have heard, one Mr. Chris Breen has gone on to greener pastures as an orchardman, and I’ve been tapped to take your questions.

I started using a Mac in 1985 and never stopped. I even owned a G4 Cube. My first smartphone was the original iPhone; my current, an iPhone 6. (Is it my last? As they say in Maine: Not yet.) Your problems are mine, and I feel your pain, and want your questions.

You can email things that perplex you or need solving to mac911@macworld.com, tweet them at me (if brief) @glennf, or call 206–337–5833 and leave a voicemail message. (We’ll be experimenting with some audio in the future, and may put your question “on the air.”)

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Troubleshooting your Apple products: The last word

Writer Chris Breen is looking at a big change and has something to say. He writes:

After decades of offering advice to Apple users in the pages of MacUser and then Macworld, I‘m making a career change and heading off to a fruit-flavored tech company sandwiched between Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. As this will be my last word from Mac 911, is there anything I can say to put this whole “Ack, my tech isn‘t working!” thing into perspective?

I’ve found these three broad principles to be the most helpful.

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Even more Photos for OS X questions, answered

It seems that even after you offer a first look at Photos, suggestions for ways to prepare your iPhoto library for Photos, yap about Photos in a podcast, and field a number of Photos questions, people have more on their minds. Let’s get to it.

Combining libraries

A number of us probably have multiple libraries to minimize the iPhoto slow-downs. If what I read about Photos is correct, it will alleviate much of that sluggishness and allow working with much larger libraries. What is (are) the best way(s) of combining the individual libraries in order to have one consolidated library for use with the new app?

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How to prepare your iPhoto library for Photos for OS X

Reader Dave Inglis has The Question about the upcoming Photos for OS X app. He writes:

I read your article about Photos for OS X and the app looks great. What can I do with my current iPhoto library to get it ready for the transition to Photos?

The glib answer is “nothing.” When you finally get your hands on Photos for OS X (which is slated to be released sometime this northern-hemisphere spring) and launch it, you’ll be asked if you’d like to import your iPhoto library. (If you have multiple iPhoto libraries, you can hold down the Option key while launching Photos and then, in the Choose Library window that appears, select a library to use.) Note that cloud syncing works only with the default System Photo Library.

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How to deal with two Apple IDs, well, kind of

Reader Dave Smith, a newish Apple user, is confounded by Apple ID. He writes:

Not being an Apple person I didn’t understand the whys and wherefores of an Apple ID when I bought my first devices. As a result, I have two Apple IDs. One I use for my iPods and iPhone and the other for my iPad. This causes me some grief over time as I sometimes have plugged one in for syncing when the other profile was in place. I’d like to get rid of one and consolidate. Is there any way to do this?

You were doing so well up until you mentioned “consolidate.” And there’s the rub. Apple does not allow you to consolidate two Apple IDs. A couple of years ago there was some talk of this as an upcoming feature, but it didn’t materialize. Rather, Apple embarked on its Family Sharing effort, which isn’t the same thing.

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