How to disable mouse and keyboard low-battery warnings (you can’t)

Worth Gretter speaks for us all with this complaint:

The Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on my 2009 iMac (running Mavericks) both run on AA batteries. I am using disposable batteries, not rechargeables, so I want to get every bit of life out of them. The low-battery warning comes on at 15%, but I still have a couple of weeks of battery life left. Nonetheless, the warning continues to come on every day until I change the batteries. Is there a way to kill it?

I searched through Apple forums, blog posts, and old Macworld advice. This reply is to just to reassure you that you haven’t missed anything. There’s currently no way to prevent OS X from warning you regularly and frequently until you replace the batteries. I understand Apple’s desire to have your device not stop working, but the warnings can’t be customized or halted for a period of days.

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How to get a Mac laptop's headphone jack to work reliably

Reader Jeremy Saklad reports a problem many have experienced over many years, including yours truly:

My Retina MacBook Pro has recently stopped detecting headphones properly when they are plugged in. It will act as if nothing is connected and just continue using the speakers. Restarting will cause it to work again, but only until close it. The problem will then return.

There can be several causes to this problem, but you can isolate the easy one first: Get a can of compressed air or an air compressor designed for use with computers. Put the laptop on a level surface, and briefly spray air into the headphone jack. (Never spray canned compressed air except with the can perfectly level; otherwise, it can leak compressed liquid and damage.)

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When AirPort base stations don't appear over Ethernet

Henry Albert writes in with a puzzle related to using AirPort Utility to configure his network’s Apple base stations:

On my MacBook Pro and my iPhone, the access points appear correctly, just not on [my wired] iMac. What’s different on the iMac? It’s wired to the network. Its Wi-Fi is just lurking—on but not connected to any access point. The other gadgets are using Wi-Fi.

Henry might be suffering from an interface selection problem. Most people probably never click on the Other Wi-Fi Devices menu in the upper-left corner of the AirPort Utility overview. When you do, it shows other configurable base stations—but also reveals network interfaces if more than one is active.

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How to navigate among tabs in Safari for El Capitan

Leslie Rosenbaum writes in about Safari tab navigation:

I keep a lot of tabs open in Safari, and could move quickly among them in Yosemite using Command-Shift-right or left arrow. The new shortcut only accommodates nine tabs, so is there a way I can restore this functionality?

There are several things going on with tab navigation and shortcuts in Safari, both in El Capitan and before, and it’s probably worth reviewing them all, as each has advantages.

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How does Photos resize images on export or drag?

When Photos 1.0 for OS X shipped, it was clearly a work in progress. Now, under El Capitan, it’s up to version 1.3, and some features have shifted. Veteran reporter and colleague Rob Pegoraro and I were recently trying to sort out just how this worked in dealing with screen captures, and it’s distinctly different than at launch.

In iPhoto, you could export Original (unmodified source files) or Current (files with any image or cropping modifications) via the single File > Export menu item.

Photos for OS X has similar items: Choose File > Export > Export X Photos or File > Export > Export Unmodified Original [for X Photos]. The former option exports processed images, with the option to reduce file size or use the full resolution, but only as JPEG, PNG, or TIFF. The latter option simply copies out the image you originally imported, including in raw file formats, like ARW.

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How can you exit a group Messages chat?

mac 911 leave imessage no option

With just three people in a group chat, you can only set Do Not Disturb.

It’s not unusual to find yourself part of a group chat you either didn’t want to be part of originally, or that you no longer need to be a member of. Messages can let you get out in a few ways, but the limits aren’t always obvious.

In Messages in a group chat, tap the Details button and swipe down if the bottom isn’t visible. A Leave This Conversation option will appear, but not for groups of three—only for four or more! When it’s active, tap it and you can avoid getting further updates.

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How to troubleshoot an ethernet drop

Lex Friedman used to edit and write at Macworld—a lot, lot, lot of articles—and now works at a leading podcast, ad-sales, and content network. He called me after moving into a new house recently as he thought he had lost his marbles somewhere in the wiring of his house.

Lex’s problem was that the house was pre-wired for ethernet, which is generally a good thing. He got a new broadband modem from his ISP and purchased a new ethernet switch, but when he went to plug in his AirPort Base Station (a pre-2012 model), it wouldn’t work in one place on the network, but would on another.

  • When plugged via his new switch into the broadband modem in his basement, the base station worked fine, getting an Internet connection without a problem.
  • When connected via one of the house’s internal ethernet “drops”—the run in the walls from jack to jack—to the basement switch, the base station couldn’t obtain an IP address.
  • However, when he plugged the base station into the modem in the basement, and plugged in the switch in upstairs, the switch had Internet access over ethernet.
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