Troubleshooting Your Mac: A Joe On Tech Guide (2015)

Read Me First

Updates

Minor updates to the electronic versions of this book will be free, and major updates will be available at a discount to anyone who purchased a previous version. Check for updates using the link at the top of the About This Book chapter.

Basics

Here are a few basic concepts that will help you read this book:

·        Links: All blue text in this ebook is hot, meaning you can click (or tap) it, just like a link on the web. When you follow a link to a different part of the ebook, you can return quickly to where you were by using your ebook reader’s “back” feature. For example, in iBooks in iOS, tap the “Back to” link in the lower-left corner of the screen, or in Preview on a Mac, choose Go → Back or press ⌘-[.

Many of the URLs are shortened (like alt.cc/abc) to make them more compact and easier to type, especially for anyone reading this book on paper. These short URLs automatically redirect you to the original target destination.

·        Menus and preferences: Where I tell you to choose a menu command, I use an abbreviated format. For example, “Choose File → New Folder” means “Choose New Folder from the File menu.” Similarly, I use the → notation for navigating to panes, tabs, and other views, especially in Preferences windows: “Go to System Preferences → Security & Privacy → General.”

·        Finding System Preferences: I sometimes refer to settings in System Preferences that you may want to adjust. To open System Preferences, click its icon in the Dock or choose Apple  → System Preferences. When the System Preferences window opens, click the icon of the pane whose settings you want to adjust.

·        Path syntax: This book occasionally uses a path to show the location of a file or folder in your file system. For example, the path to the Terminal utility in the Applications folder’s Utilities subfolder is /Applications/Utilities/Terminal. The slash at the start of the path tells you to begin at the top level of the disk. Some paths begin with ~ (tilde), which is a shortcut for the current user’s home directory; for example, if my username is joe, my Documents folder is at ~/Documents, which is another way of saying/Users/joe/Documents.

·        User Library: The user’s Library folder (~/Library) is normally hidden. To see it in the Finder, hold down the Option key and choose Go → Library. From there you can navigate to any subfolder of ~/Library.

·        Disks, drives, and volumes: When I use the term disk, I’m referring generically to a data storage device, which could be a hard drive, an SSD (solid-state drive) or other solid-state storage, or a Fusion drive (which combines a hard drive with solid-state storage). Each disk (of whatever sort) contains one or more volumes, which appear in your Finder as disks. Your startup volume is the one your Mac boots from—named Macintosh HD by default.

What’s New in This Book

This book is based on an earlier title of mine called Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac, which was last updated in 2012 and has now been retired. With the kind permission and cooperation of the folks at Take Control Books, I’ve “adopted” that book and turned it into the one you’re now reading. The overall structure is nearly the same, but I’ve thoroughly updated the text so that it reflects the latest versions of OS X, adds new techniques I’ve found to be useful, and provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about Mac troubleshooting. (And, of course, I’ve altered the look and feel of the book to reflect the Joe On Tech brand.)

If you’ve already read Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac, you can think of this new book as being equivalent to a major new edition. In this book I made hundreds of small changes (mainly to reflect the changes in OS X 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, and 10.11 El Capitan, and in third-party software and services), along with several larger ones:

·        Under Run Disk Repair Utilities, added specific instructions to Use Disk Utility in El Capitan and Use Disk Utility in Yosemite or Mavericks

·        Added a new sidebar, How to Tell Whether You Need a New Hard Drive

·        Explained how to Log In to Another User Account for troubleshooting purposes

·        Greatly revised Check Preference Files and Clear Caches with up-to-date advice

·        Added six new topics in the Solve Common Problems chapter:

§  Your Mac Stalls During Startup

§  Your Fan Runs Excessively

§  The “Open With” Menu Contains Errors

§  iCloud Data Doesn’t Sync Properly

§  Continuity Features Fail

§  Your Laptop’s Battery Misbehaves

·        Expanded the list of things to check in Your Mac Keeps Turning Itself Off

·        Completely revamped the topic You Experience Repeated Kernel Panics

·        Added two new topics in the Time Machine Misbehaves category: Restore Files After a Hardware or Name Change and Find Missing Volumes

·        Added a sidebar about do-it-yourself repairs: Replacing Components on Your Own