Mavericks and the ancient AirPort base station

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous has a simple question about Mavericks and an older version of Apple’s AirPort Utility. That question reads:

Now that the older AirPort Utility doesn't work in Mavericks, how do people administer their older AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express base stations?

I answered a question similar to this in regard to old base stations and Mountain Lion and that technique still works—provided you’re running Mountain Lion. With Mavericks, nuh uh.

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Revealing Mavericks' hidden screensaver images

Reader Anna Howarth seeks to beautify her desktop. She writes:

I love some of the images that appear in Apple’s Aerial screensaver collection. Some of them also appear as Desktop backgrounds, but not all of them. Is there some way I can use them as my Mac’s background pattern?

There is. In the Finder choose Go > Go to Folder (Shift-Command-G), enter /Library/Screen Savers/Default Collections/, and click Go. In the resulting window you’ll see four folders—1–National Geographic, 2–Aerial, 3–Cosmos, and 4–Nature Patterns. These folders hold all the images for the screensavers of the same name.

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How to share iTunes content with your family right now

Reader Frank Stillman has a question related to a feature recently announced by Apple. He writes:

I’m interested in Apple’s announcement of the Family Sharing plan, where you can share iTunes media with other people in your family. Is there any way my family and I can do something like that now?

[Insert sounds of hesitation here] Well, sort of. A common misconception is that you can use a single iCloud account per device for everything that device does. For example, once you configure an iCloud account within Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, that account will be tied to not only your email account but also purchases from the iTunes and iBooks stores. This isn’t the case. Your iCloud account and iTunes/App Store/iBookstore account can be different (though, for many people, they're often the same thing).

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How to identify VPN protocols in OS X

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous requires more information about a VPN connection than OS X is willing to provide. The reader writes:

I’m helping out at my spouse’s small office and want to help configure her colleagues’ Macs with the same VPN configuration I somehow successfully set up for her many months ago. The problem is that I can’t remember which protocol I originally used—L2TP, PPTP, or IPSec—and nothing in System Preference’s Network preference tells me. How can I tell the difference?

When you first set up a VPN connection by opening the Network preference, clicking the plus (+) button near the bottom-left corner of the window, choosing VPN from the Interface pop-up menu, and selecting the kind of protocol you’ll use from the VPN Type menu, the Service Name field will display the protocol in parentheses—VPN (L2TP), for example. Of course, if you change that service name (as most people would) you lose the broad hint OS X provides. Fortunately, there’s another way.

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How to fill your home with Beats music

Reader Shawna Collings wants to get the Beats. She writes:

I’ve just heard that Apple has acquired Beats Music. I’ve never used a subscription music service before but am curious to try. I’d like to hear its music on my devices other than just my Mac. What are my options?

To begin with, it’s important to understand that Apple intends to operate Beats as a separate entity and that, as I write this, the acquisition announcement is all we have to work with. So, don’t expect to launch iTunes and see it as a music source. For the time being, you access Beats as you always have done.

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How to capture movies of your iOS device's screen

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous has a question about capturing an iOS screen for broadcast. This person writes:

I’m creating a website of Mac and iOS tutorials and tips and I’m wondering if there’s a way to make a screen recording in iOS like there is through QuickTime in OS X.

Regrettably, unless you jailbreak your device, there isn’t a way to capture its screen directly on the device. However, with the help of your Mac, it can be easily done.

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How to set a default To address in Mavericks' Mail

Reader Fran Drakes has an issue with autofill and Mavericks’ Mail app. She writes:

My husband has three email addresses. I almost always want to send to his address, and for years, that’s what Mail automatically used when I typed his name. But when I upgraded to Mavericks (at least that’s what appears to have been the trigger), Mail decided that I really wanted to send to his Yahoo address. So every time I add him to an email, I have to manually change the auto-filled address to his address. Is there a way to force Mail to always use the same address?

I sympathise. With Mavericks’ Mail, auto-fill will choose the first alphabetical address, regardless of the order it appears in a contact’s card. For example, in the case of,, and, bubba1 will be auto-fill’s choice. So let’s take it out of auto-fill’s hands and tell Contacts and Mail exactly what we’d like to have happen.

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