Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get the most out of their computers every day.

Get Cocktail here

Back up your files before installing macOS High Sierra

macOS High Sierra is easy to install. However, we recommend a full back up before you install it.

Apple makes it very easy to back up your Mac using Time Machine, so there is no excuse not to create a Time Machine backup before installing macOS High Sierra.

Follow these steps to back up your Mac using Time Machine.

• Connect an external hard drive to your Mac. Choose a new hard drive, or one that you don't mind erasing.

• An alert may appear asking if you want to use the drive to backup your Mac. If so, Use as Backup Disk.

• If not, open System Preferences > Time Machine and click Select Backup Disk. Choose the external drive.

• Switch Time Machine to On.

• A progress bar will appear in the Time Machine system preference pane. Wait for the Time Machine backup to complete before continuing with the macOS High Sierra installation.

Follow these instructions to install the macOS High Sierra update on your Mac.

• Once you've backed up your Mac, launch the App Store (located in /Applications) and search for macOS High Sierra.

• Click Download to initiate the download, and fill out your Apple ID information if prompted. Download progress will appear in your Purchases tab.

• Once the download has finished, you'll see a macOS High Sierra installer launch. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish installing the software update, which should take around half an hour depending on the spec of your Mac.

Do Macs get viruses?

Posted in General Security

Wondering whether you need antivirus software to protect your Mac? macOS is more secure than Windows, but you'd be wise to look carefully at your security options.

The Mac is generally considered to be safe and secure, and there are a number of reasons why Macs are considered more secure than PCs. Malware writers are less likely to target Mac users because of the perception that it has a far smaller market share than Windows. There is also the fact that the Mac operating system is Unix-based, and Unix offers a number of security features built in.

Apple goes to great lengths to protect you from malware by making it impossible for you to download it in the first place. The company has built-in antimalware protection in macOS. The Mac's malware scanning tool, Xprotect, works invisibly and automatically in the background and requires no user configuration. Apple has a list of malicious applications that it checks against when you open downloaded applications. Updates happen invisibly too. This is similar to having antivirus software from another software developer running on your Mac, with the bonus of being written into the operating system and therefore it doesn't hamper the speed of your Mac. If you download and try to open files contaminated with malware, you may see an explicit warning that the files will "damage your computer", along with a reference to type of malware. You should delete the file immediately.

In addition, macOS blocks downloaded software that hasn't been digitally signed - a process in which Apple approves the developer. This leads to the familiar error message when you try to use or install unsigned software: "[this app] can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.". The system at work here is called Gatekeeper and can be controlled via the Security & Privacy section of System Preferences. In addition to Gatekeeper, which should keep malware off you Mac, FileVault 2 makes sure your data is safe and secure by encrypting it.

It's certainly not an essential requirement to install antivirus software on your Mac. Apple does a pretty good job of keeping on top of vulnerabilities and exploits and the updates to the MacOS that will protect your Mac will be pushed out over auto-update very quickly. However, sometimes Apple doesn't respond as quickly as Mac users might hope. In that case there are some free anti-virus apps (such as Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition or ClamXav) that might give you some peace of mind.

Uninstall macOS applications

Windows has a program manager in the Control Panel that lets you uninstall applications, but you will not find a similar function on your Mac. So what's the best way to uninstall macOS apps?

In general, applications in macOS are packaged into a ".app" bundle that appears to be a single file but is actually a self-contained folder. Unlike Windows, in which an application usually installs a folder that contains the executable and supporting files, most of what an macOS app needs to run is stored within the .app bundle. Deleting an application bundle will remove that application's binary and all the supporting files contained within. Many apps, however, also install additional files in the user's Library folder, such as application preferences and caches.

To manually remove an macOS app, make sure the app is closed and head to the user's Library folder (in OS X Lion and above, hold down the Option key while selecting the Go menu from the Finder's menu bar and select Library). Here, you'll want to check for references to the application in the Application Support, Caches, LaunchAgents, and Preferences folders. Remove any files or folders that you are certain belong to the application you're trying to uninstall. You may also want to check the main Library folder by navigating to the top level of your hard drive and opening the /Library folder, although most applications will confine their files to the user-specific Library. Due to sandboxing requirements imposed by Apple, apps obtained from the Mac App Store are even easier to remove. Simply delete two items: the application file itself from the Applications folder and the application-specific folder in ~/Library/Containers (user's Library folder).

Another way to remove macOS apps is to use third-party tools. Take note, however, that automated tools can sometimes miss certain files or folders, and users employing these tools should always perform a manual check to ensure that all remnants of the application have indeed been removed. Finally, some applications (such as Cocktail) have their own uninstaller. Wherever possible, use the application-specific uninstaller for these applications.

Regardless of which method you choose, remember that leaving behind the occasional abandoned preference file is not likely to cause harm or performance issues. In general, removing the app bundle from the Applications folder and a file or two from the user's Library folder is enough to remove the application from the drive and free up disk space.

Maintain your MacBook battery

The battery is the key component of any portable device, but did you know that battery maintenance is important to keeping your MacBook healthy? With proper maintenance and calibration, you can keep your computer's battery performing at its optimum, providing you with more juice when on the go.

Battery Calibration

A Mac portable is just that: a portable computer. It was designed to be plugged and unplugged to allow the battery to discharge and recharge on a normal cycle. As such, if you use your machine plugged in all the time, then it is important that you discharge (or calibrate) your battery every so often. If you rarely use the battery, then Apple recommends completely discharging the battery and charging it again at least once a month. If you use your notebook frequently on the battery and plug it in to "top off" the battery, then a full discharge cycle is required less often.

Follow these steps to calibrate the battery:

1. Plug in the power adapter and fully charge your MacBooks's battery until the light ring or LED on the power adapter plug changes to green and the onscreen meter in the menu bar indicates that the battery is fully charged.

2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for at least two hours. You may use your computer during this time as long as the adapter is plugged in.

3. Disconnect the power adapter while the computer still on and start running the computer off battery power. You may use your computer during this time. When your battery gets low, the low battery warning dialog appears on the screen.

4. At this point, save your work. Continue to use your computer; when the battery gets very low, the computer will automatically go to sleep.

5. Turn off the computer or allow it to sleep for five hours or more.

6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged again.


Checking Battery Condition

If you hold down the Option (alt) key on your keyboard while clicking the menu bar battery icon, then you'll see a Condition option. The battery condition can be in either one of four states: Normal, Replace Soon, Replace Now, or Service Battery.

Normal means that the battery is operating properly. 

Replace Soon means that the battery is functioning normally, but is currently holding less charge than it did when new, and may need replacing.

Replace Now means that the battery is functioning normally, but holds significantly less charge than the battery when new, and needs replacing before it could possibly do harm to your hardware.

Service Battery means that the battery isn't functioning properly or your computer has noticed a change in its behavior. You should take your battery and/or computer in for servicing if this problem continues after a few restarts.  


Long-term Storage

If you don't plan on using your Mac portable for more than a six-month time period, then you'll want to properly store your Mac's battery with a 50% charge. This will ensure that it won't fall into a deep-discharge state, or lose capacity and therefore have a shorter life.

Temperature is also a huge factor when storing your computer. You'll want to ensure your Mac and its battery are stored in an environment where the temperature is between 50ºF and 95ºF (10ºC and 35ºC). Anything more or less, and you could seriously damage your battery over a long period of time.

What to do when your computer won't turn on

One of the scariest things that can happen to your Mac is a failure to turn on at all. You press the power button and nothing happens - no startup sound, no light, nothing. If this happens, you can check several things before hauling your Mac to the nearest Apple Store for repair.

First, trace the entire flow of electricity to your Mac. Check your Mac's power cord to ensure it is firmly seated where it connects to the computer as well as where it plugs into the wall. If it goes through an outlet strip or a UPS, make sure that's also connected and turned on. Also check that any surge protectors are still working - a power surge might have knocked them off. You can confirm that an outlet is good by plugging in something else, such as a light. If the outlet and all cable connections check out, make sure the power cord has no crimps, breaks, or other damage.

Once you've established that your AC power path is good, it's time to look at your Mac itself. Unplug everything you can - not the power cord, your mouse and keyboard if they're wired, and your monitor if it's not built in - but disconnect everything else and try pressing the power button again. If your Mac turns on, you know that one of your peripherals was at fault.

If your Mac doesn't turn on, it's worth trying to reset your Mac's SMC (System Management Controller), a chip that manages a number of hardware functions - including the operation of the power button. Directions vary by Mac model; see Apple's instructions for details (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3964).

If you have a Mac laptop, its battery should last through most power outages, so you may not notice that you have a power-related problem until the battery runs out, at which point your Mac might simply appear to be dead. So try all the above tips, but also check your power adapter. If you have an AC cable attached to the adapter (as opposed to a plug going directly into the wall), make sure that cable is securely connected. If you have access to another AC adapter, switch to it briefly - that will tell you whether the original adapter is bad or whether it's something in your Mac itself.

Still no luck? In that case, it's time for professional help. An Apple Store or authorized repair center should be able to diagnose and fix the problem.