MacBook in easy steps: Covers OS X Yosemite (10.10) (2015)
MacBooks are ideal for mobile working, for business or pleasure. This chapter looks at being mobile with your MacBook, including protecting it and security concerns.
Transporting Your MacBook
Keeping Your MacBook Safe
Dealing with Water
Some Apps for Traveling
Transporting Your MacBook
When you are going traveling, either for business or pleasure, your MacBook can be a very valuable companion. It can be used to download photographs from a digital camera, download movies from a digital video camera, keep a diary or business notes and keep a record of your itinerary and important documents. Also, in many parts of the world it can access the Internet via wireless hotspots so that you can view the Web and send emails. However, when you are traveling with your MacBook it is sensible to transport this valuable asset in as safe and secure a way as possible. Some of the options include:
MacBook cases and sleeves
There is a range of MacBook cases and sleeves designed specifically for providing protection for the MacBook. They can be bought from the Apple website or Apple stores.
If you are concerned that your MacBook may be in danger of physical damage when you are on the road you may want to consider a more robust metal case. These are similar to those used by photographers and, depending on its size and design, you may also be able to include any photographic equipment.
A serious option for transporting your MacBook while you are traveling is a small backpack. This can either be a standard backpack or a backpack specifically designed for a MacBook. The latter is clearly a better option as the MacBook will fit more securely and there are also pockets designed for accessories.
A backpack for carrying a MacBook can be more comfortable than a shoulder bag, as it distributes the weight more evenly.
Keeping Your MacBook Safe
By most measures, MacBooks are valuable items. However, in a lot of countries around the world their relative value can be a lot more than it is to their owners: in some countries the value of a MacBook could easily equate to a month’s, or even a year’s, wages. Even in countries where their relative value is not so high they can still be seen as a lucrative opportunity for thieves. Therefore, it is important to try to keep your MacBook as safe as possible when you are traveling with it, either abroad or at home. Some points to consider in relation to this are:
•If possible, keep your MacBook with you at all times, i.e. transport it in a piece of luggage that you can carry rather than having to put it into a large case.
•Never hand over your MacBook, or any of your belongings, to any local who promises to look after them.
•If you do have to detach yourself from your MacBook, put it somewhere secure such as a hotel safe.
•When you are traveling, keep your MacBook as unobtrusive as possible. This is where a backpack carrying case can prove useful as it is not immediately apparent that you are carrying a MacBook.
•Do not use your MacBook in areas where you think it may attract undue interest from the locals, particularly in obviously poor areas. For instance, if you are in a local cafe the appearance of a MacBook may create unwanted attention for you. If in doubt, wait until you get back to your hotel.
•If you are accosted by criminals who demand your MacBook, hand it over. No piece of equipment is worth suffering physical injury for.
•If you are abroad make sure your MacBook is covered by your travel insurance. If not, get separate insurance for it.
•Trust your instincts with your MacBook. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Save your important documents onto a pen drive, or an external hard drive, on a daily basis when you are traveling and keep this away from your MacBook. This way you will still have these items if your MacBook is lost or stolen.
Traveling consists of seeing a lot of different places and cultures but it also invariably involves different extremes of temperature: a visit to the pyramids of Egypt can see the mercury in the upper reaches of the thermometer, while a trip to Alaska would encounter much colder conditions. Whether it is hot or cold, looking after your MacBook is an important consideration in extremes of temperature.
If a MacBook gets too hot it could buckle the casing, making it difficult to close.
When traveling in hot countries the best way of avoiding any heat damage to your MacBook is to prevent it from getting too hot in the first place:
•Do not place your MacBook in direct sunlight.
•Keep your MacBook insulated from the heat.
•Do not leave your MacBook in an enclosed space, such as a car. Not only can this get very hot, but the sun’s power can be increased by the vehicle’s glass.
Wrap your MacBook in something white, such as a T-shirt or a towel, to insulate it against extreme heat.
Again, it is best to avoid your MacBook getting too cold in the first place and this can be done by following similar precautions to those for heat. However, if your MacBook does suffer from extremes of cold, allow it to warm up to normal room temperature again before you try to use it. This may take a couple of hours, but it will be worth the wait, rather than risking damaging the delicate computing elements inside.
Dealing with Water
Water is one of the greatest enemies of any electrical device, and MacBooks are no different. This is of particular relevance to anyone who is traveling near water with their MacBook, such as on a boat or ship, or using their MacBook near a swimming pool or a beach. If you are near water with your MacBook then you must bear the following in mind:
•Avoid water. The best way to keep your MacBook dry is to keep it away from water whenever possible. For instance, if you want to update your notes or download some photographs, then it would be best to do this in an indoor environment, rather than sitting near water.
•Keep dry. If you think you will be transporting your MacBook near water then it is a good precaution to protect it with some form of waterproof bag. There is a range of “dry-bags” that are excellent for this type of occasion and they remain waterproof even if fully immersed in water. These can be bought from outdoor suppliers.
•Dry out. If the worst does occur and your MacBook does get a good soaking, all is not lost. However, you will have to ensure that it is fully dried out before you try to use it again. Never turn it on if it is still wet.
Different countries and regions around the world use different types of power sockets, and this is an issue when you are traveling with your MacBook. Wherever you are going in the world it is vital to have an adapter that will fit the sockets in the countries you intend to visit. Otherwise you will not be able to charge your MacBook battery.
There are over a dozen different types of plugs and sockets used around the world, with the four most popular being:
North America, Japan
This is a two-point plug and socket.
The pins on the plug are flat and parallel.
This is a two-point plug and socket. The pins are rounded.
Australasia, China, Argentina
This is a three-point socket that can accommodate either a two-or a three-pin plug. In a two-pin plug, the pins are angled in a V shape.
This is a three-point plug. The pins are rectangular.
Power adapters can be bought for all regions around the world. There are also kits that provide all of the adapters together. These provide connections for anywhere worldwide.
Because of the increased global security following terrorist attacks, such as those of September 11, 2001, the levels of airport security have been greatly increased around the world. This has implications for all travelers, and if you are traveling with a MacBook, this will add to the security scrutiny you will face. When dealing with airport security when traveling with a MacBook, there are some issues you should always keep in mind:
•Keep your MacBook with you at all times. Unguarded baggage at airports immediately raises suspicion and it can make life very easy for thieves.
•Carry your MacBook in a small bag so you can take it on board as hand luggage. On no account should it be put in with your luggage that goes in the hold.
•X-ray machines at airports will not harm your MacBook. However, if anyone tries to scan it with a metal detector, ask them if they can inspect it by hand instead.
•Keep a careful eye on your MacBook when it goes through the X-ray conveyor belt and try to be there at the other side as soon as it emerges. There have been some stories of people causing a commotion at the security gate just after someone has placed their MacBook on the conveyor belt. While everyone’s attention (including yours) is distracted, an accomplice takes the MacBook from the conveyor belt. If you are worried about this you can ask for the security guard to hand-check your MacBook rather than putting it on the conveyor belt.
•Make sure the battery of your MacBook is fully charged. This is because you may be asked to turn on your MacBook to verify that it is just that, and not some other device disguised as a MacBook. This check has become increasingly common in recent years due to security threats and for some countries, such as the US, digital devices have to be turned on.
•When you are on the plane, keep the MacBook in the storage area under your seat, rather than in the overhead locker, so you know where it is at all times. Also, it could cause a serious injury if it fell out of an overhead locker.
If there is any kind of distraction when you are going through airport security it could be because someone is trying to divert your attention in order to steal your MacBook.
When traveling through airport security, leave your MacBook in Sleep mode, so it can be powered up quickly if anyone needs to check that it works properly.
Some Apps for Traveling
When you are traveling with your MacBook you can use it for productivity tasks with the iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. In addition, Safari can be used to connect wirelessly to the Web and you can use iTunes for listening to music and iPhoto for your photos. There are also some other built-in apps that can be useful when you are traveling:
•Notes. Use this to create notes relating to your trip, ranging from Things to Pack lists to health information and travel details such as your itinerary. It is also a good option for keeping track of important items such as passport numbers.
•iBooks. Books are an ideal traveling companion and with this app you do not have to worry about being weighed down by a lot of heavy volumes.
•Maps. This is the perfect app for researching cities abroad so that you can start to feel at home as soon as you arrive. You can view maps in standard or 3D satellite view and also get directions between two locations.
•FaceTime. You can use your MacBook to send emails and text messages when you are away from home, but FaceTime allows you to see people too with voice and video calls.
For some locations, Maps has an automated 3D tour of a city. If this is available for the location being viewed, a 3D Flyover Tour button will appear. Click on the Start button to begin the flyover tour.