I’ve been feeling like the unluckiest Apple fangirl of all time with all the problems I’ve had with my Apple gear in the last year. Most recently you might remember the saga back in August of my 2016 MacBook Pro going belly up (wouldn’t charge). It would only stand out in your memory because my 2013 backup MacBook Pro couldn’t connect to Apple’s services so I ended up asking executives at Apple to give me a hand.
Anyway, that all got resolved and I got my 2016 MacBook Pro back with a shiny new logic board. I haven’t wanted to mention it because I was hoping the problem would just go away on its own, but I’ve been having a problem with the Mac ever since I got it back. Do you do that too, go into denial and just wish these things away?
NosillaCastaways go see Mamma Mia!, I solve some interesting challenges with the new Touch Bar MacBook Pro, I explain how not to do Migration Assistant when getting a new Mac and Bart Busschots joins us for another lively session of Security Bits.
Good friend of the show, (and personal friend of mine), Dorothy, is an extremely methodical person. Unlike me, she does not jump willy nilly into a new operating system when it comes out. She gives it a few months and lets the crazy people figure out what’s broken and only after the angst dies down does she even consider upgrading.
She found herself in the enviable position of getting to replace her spinning hard drive in her 2009 iMac with a 1TB SSD that just happened to be lying around the house. Her husband Marc loves hardware and was itching to pull that glass off and give her this upgrade. She figured this might be a good opportunity to do some serious housecleaning, so she decided to do a clean install on the new SSD. If she was doing a clean install, me might as well finally take the leap to El Capitan. Continue reading “If You Don’t Like Mom’s Answer, Ask Dad”
What would make not one but two Macs suddenly have their screens go black? We’ll unravel that mystery along with a Dumb Question from John Ornsby asking if it’s ok to partially turn off System Integrity Protection (SIP). I’ll give you a review of the Tenba DNA 8 Messenger Bag and then we’ll close out the show with Security Stuff from Bart Busschots.
I had a HUGE problem with my MacBook this week. A lot of people mock the MacBook because it only has the one USB-C port and for a while there I thought they might have been right. For Christmas Steve got me a new USB-C dongle that would give me an SD card reader and 3 standard USB ports. It’s a nice form fitting device that just sticks to the side of the laptop instead of dangling off the side like my old one. We celebrated Christmas at Lindsay’s house and I was super excited to give it a try.
When I plugged it in, disaster struck. The screen on my MacBook went black. It was weird because the light came on on the dongle, and sometimes the keyboard would light up, but the Mac display was dead. I was so sad! I finally closed the MacBook up and took it into the other room for a time out.
A few hours later I opened it up, and it worked just fine! Yay! Forget that new dongle, I plugged in my old dongle to bring in some photos from an SD card…and the screen went black again. I fiddled with it like crazy, shut it down, reset the SMC (system management controller that controls power stuff), even did an NVRAM reset but no joy. Again I closed it up in the other room and when I opened it back up later it was fine.
I was afraid that now the USB-C port itself had gotten damaged, but the MacBook charged just fine overnight via USB-C.
We drove back home and I wrote a couple of blog posts while in the car and had no problems at all. We got on the road again the day after Christmas to go to Steve’s sister Linda’s house and again I used the MacBook in the car to do a bunch of writing and nothing went wrong.
At Linda’s house I had planned to record a few segments with Bart. My plan was to use my ATR-2100 Mic plugged into one of the dongles to record while sitting in a back room next to her router to get good speeds. I plugged everything in and just as I got Bart on Skype…the screen went black again!
Well the Sheridans are not without a backup plan, right? Steve had his MacBook Air with him and so he let me borrow it to Skype with Bart. Steve didn’t say anything but I know he believes this single USB-C port thing is just silly so he was probably happy that his multi-port MacBook Air would be there to save the day. No dongle needed, I plugged the ATR-2100 into the MacBook Air and called Bart. Everything was fine, and then I slightly moved the MacBook Air…and the screen went black!!!
Seriously. There’s nothing in common between these failures at all, other than ME! I briefly got the MacBook Air to come back up and again I moved it slightly and again it went black. Unbelievable!
As you’ll hear in Dumb Question Corner and the other segments we recorded, I ended up having to do the calls with Skype on my iPhone using Apple earbuds (even though I had plugged in my ATR2100 to the phone using a USB to 9pin adapter it didn’t recognize the mic). In addition I used my iPad Pro to read the shownotes Bart had put together. We managed to muddle through but it wasn’t what I had in mind!
On the way home in the car, again I was able to use my MacBook with no problems of the screen going black. When I got home I decided I’d better get a genius bar appointment right away because I really need my MacBook when I go to CES the second week in January. Right before setting the appointment I thought maybe I should take a gander at the Apple discussion forums to see if there are any reports of this black screen problem.
I found a thread started by alexmac27 that sounded like the exact same symptom. He later posted that he figured out what went wrong and it fixed my problem. Believe it or not, he and I were both putting the laptops on top of a sleeve case that had a magnetic closure on the short side! I tested it out and it’s 100% repeatable. I can move my MacBook or Steve’s MacBook Air so that the charger port is near the magnet and instantly the screen goes black. Move it away and it comes right back. Can you believe that???
Since I was sitting on the bed when I was trying to record, I had used my Incase sleeve to stabilize both of the Macs on the bedspread. You should have seen me dancing around the house after reading alexmac27’s explanation!
I had just recently gotten the Incase sleeve but Steve had one for ages that he always put under his Mac when on travel so I wondered why his didn’t cause the same problem. Turns out the magnet on the 13″ sleeve is on the long edge in the middle which doesn’t affect the Mac at all. By the way, these sleeves are fantastic and I wouldn’t get rid of mine for anything. They fit super snug but give great protection on all four corners and have really nice soft padding inside. I just won’t ever set my Macs on it again! They’re called ICON sleeves from Incase and you can get them for all sizes of MacBooks for around $70 on Amazon or direct from Incase.
One more tidbit. During the débâcle at Lindsay’s house, when my MacBook wouldn’t wake up, I resorted to using my iPad Pro with the Apple keyboard but even THAT stopped working. Since the iPad Pro has a magnetic attachment for the keyboard AND a magnet to put it to sleep, it looks like the keyboard doesn’t like the magnet in the sleeve either.
I love this story because it was so weird and then having the solution be 100% repeatable makes me giggle with delight.
If you want to see this in action, Steve and I put together a video showing the repeatable effect of the magnetic closure on the MacBook.
I’ll give you my assessment of the iPad Pro after a few weeks (and the gushing has worn off), then I talk about how in the old days the only battery I owned was the one that started my car. Learn how to make cute address labels for your holiday cards – new and improved for this year. I’ll tell you about my troubleshooting steps for Apple Watch charging problems. Don’t forget to use the Amazon Affiliate link for your holiday shopping. Bart Busschots joins us for Security Lite.
As I mentioned in my post entitled “Taking Charge of My Life”, at any given moment in time one of my devices requires a recharge. Many people make it through an entire day with an overnight charge of their Apple Watch but I do not. Near as I’ve been able to figure, the best way to burn through your Apple Watch battery is turn on the exercise tracking app.
Since I work out twice a day, I usually run the exercise app for about two hours. It’s not uncommon for my battery to die before bedtime on my Apple Watch. The other night it died really early at around 8pm which was unusual even for me. Normally when you set it on the charger it shows you a little circle filled in with how much battery you have left, but mine was so dead all I got was the little battery indicator you see when you’re in low power mode. It shows a red lightning bolt and the time and that’s it.