How to Save to .afphoto Format After Opening from Affinity Photo Extension in Apple Photos

Problem to be solved:

You’ve found an image in Apple Photos you want to edit in Affinity Photo, so you use the extension to open in Affinity Photo. You make some adjustments, add some layers, and then want to save in the native Affinity Photo format.  However because you opened through the extension, Save will only save it back to Apple Photos, and Save As is greyed out.

Thanks to owenr in the Affinity Photo forums, there’s a trick using Snapshots to solve the problem.

Requirements: Affinity Photo for Mac loaded on your system.

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iCloud Services Verification Failed – SOLVED

The problem to be solved here is your iCloud credentials are fine (you can log into icloud.com without issue), but you can’t log into iCloud services natively on your Mac.  The places this error will show up include:

  • Logging into iCloud via the System Preference
  • Launching Mac App Store applications
  • Viewing files in iCloud Drive from the Finder
  • Connecting to iTunes for paid content or viewing your account

The instructions here come from Apple Support Article HT204649 which deals with an error message from iTunes. It’s the same root cause, but you’d never find the article if you search for anything but iTunes.

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How to Disable Apple’s Two-Step Verification and Enable Two-Factor Authentication

I signed up for the extra level of security Apple offered called Two-Step Verification. With the advent of iOS 9, Apple started offering Two-Factor Authentication.  If you want to read about the differences, I’ve listed the two Apple support articles about the offerings.  The main difference between the two is that Two-Step Verification relied on the code being sent via the less secure method of SMS, and the newer Two-Factor Authentication uses built-in funtionality in iOS 9 and above.

Two-step verification: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204152

Two-factor authentication: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204915

My goal  was to enable my Apple Watch to automatically unlock my Mac running macOS Sierra, which requires Two-Factor Authentication, so we’ll go through those steps as well.

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How to Extract One Image from a Live Photo

The iPhone 6s and above can take what are called Live Photos. They have a key frame photo but also show you a second or two on either side of that key frame photo.  The following steps will allow you to extract an image that is NOT the key frame, e.g. one taken before or after the key frame.

Live Photos are actually two files – a single JPG of the key frame, and a movie (.MOV) file.  As of the time of this writing, the Movie file is taken at 1080p while the JPG can be much higher resolution.  It’s possible Apple will raise this resolution at some time in the future.

Following the steps described here will give you an image that is 1440×1080, not the high resolution size of the JPG.  You can’t extract a higher resolution image because it simply does not exist.

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How to Reduce the File Size of a PDF Using Preview

Ever created a PDF with images only to discover the file was huge?  Using Preview you can shrink the file easily but the quality fo the images will be dreadful.  Back in 2012, Josef Habr figured out a clever way to edit some System-level Library files to improve the quality of the images when using Preview to compress the files and posted them on http://hints.macworld.com. He spent some time coming up with some options for good, better, and best image quality too.  After he posted this, someone else pointed out that instead of editing the System Library files, you could accomplish the same thing using the ColorSync utility.  While using the ColorSync Utility is great for creating the modified filters, many have reported that you still have to move the filters into the System level Library to make them take.

Basic outline of the steps will be:

  1. Show how the default Reduce File Size option is accessed in Preview
  2. Use ColorSync Utility to create good, better and best filters
  3. Copy the newly created filters into the System level Library
  4. Verify that the new filters are available in Preview

One caution – when you reinstall or upgrade your operating system, these filters will be removed, so keep a copy of this tutorial and a copy of your filters as well so you can put them back for later use.

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How to Create Address Labels from macOS Contacts

1. Introduction – Problem to be Solved

In this short tutorial we’ll work through how to use your Contacts application in OSX to print cute address labels for your holiday cards. Every time I go through this I make a lot of mistakes, so I’m actually going to show you how to do it wrong so you’ll remember how to do it right…because I assume you’re smarter than me!

Here’s an example of how your labels will look when we’re done

2. Create a Group

2.1 Contacts (Formerly Known as Address Book)

How to Enable iCloud Photo Library

This tutorial will show you how to have all photos in their original size you take on your iOS devices to be uploaded to the iCloud and downloaded to your Mac. It will also enable all photos in an optimized size to be moved onto your iOS devices.  With this scheme you won’t run out of space on your iOS devices ever again, hopefully.  I’ve tested this with a 300GB+ photo library!

First check the size of your Photos Library, (Get Info on Photos Library in your Pictures folder).  You will need ot know this to figure out how much storage you will need in the cloud.

This process will use a lot of data, so it is suggested you perform these steps while on an Internet connection that doesn’t cost you a lot for data transfer.

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How to Separate (or Combine) 2.4GHz and 5GHz Bands with AirPort Utility

Many modern routers support two frequencies for wireless access, 2.4GHz and 5GHz.  The 5GHz band is much less congested, so if you have devices that support 5GHz you want them on that band. At the same time you probably have older devices that can only do 2.4GHz.  

The Airport Extreme from Apple allows you to choose two ways to configure the bands:

  • With a single name for both bands allowing the devices to find the highest band on which they can work
  • With two distinct names so you can actively choose the band on which you want each device to function

This tutorial walks through how to use AirPort Utility to change these settings. I start with the two bands set to have the same name and show you how to give them unique names.

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