Disable the 5 Second Screenshot Delay on macOS

I was getting annoyed with how long it took to see a screenshot appear on the desktop after I took it, as I typically want to share the screenshot right away. To resolve this, I disabled the 5 second floating thumbnail delay:

  1. Open the Screenshot Utility (CMD + SHIFT + 5 by default)
  2. Under Options, disable “Show Floating Thumbnail”

You can also swipe the thumbnail out of the way if you’d rather keep the floating thumbnail.

To shave another half second off the time, you can also:

  1. Right click any blank space on the desktop
  2. Click Show View Options
  3. Untick Show Icon Preview and Show Item Info

MacOS still isn’t quite as fast at refreshing the desktop as I remember Windows XP being, but it’s tolerable now. If you still see a delay updating Finder, try disabling any Finder extensions in Settings.

One other tip: Remap the Screenshot Utility to something easier to remember, like CTRL + S, via the Keyboard:

Remapping macOS’ Screenshot Utility Shortcut to something easier to remember

How to Hide Mailboxes/Folders in Apple Mail

I have a long list of mailboxes/folders in Apple Mail and wanted to see just the three folders I use most often, with all of the others hidden.

The best solution I could find for this was Lory Gil’s article on iDB.

In short:

  1. Open the Mail app and go to Mailboxes
  2. Tap Edit in the upper right corner
  3. Select or deselect the mailboxes you want to see or hide
  4. Tap Done in the upper right corner
Hiding Mailboxes in Apple Mail on iPhone – Image: idownloadblog.com

This also allowed me to quickly hide the VIP mailbox. Very similar steps work in Apple Mail for macOS.

Another thing I’ve found about Apple Mail on the Mac is it takes a while to start up. In my case, it was taking 30-60 seconds, on a very fast M1 processor. Reducing the number of messages in the Inbox only cut down this time by 3 seconds or so.

To resolve this, I found some ancient plugins/extensions in my Extensions pane, and deleted them so the extensions pane looked like this:

Which Filesystem to Use on USB Sticks for Mac+Linux Interoperability

I had an hfsplus-formatted USB stick that I wanted to use for backups on my Linux machine. All worked fine until I restarted the Linux box. I tried to mount the USB drive and got the error “Mount Point Not Mounted or Bad Option“:

This command had worked before to mount the drive, but after the reboot it wasn’t working. Checking dmesg and running mount in verbose mode (-v) didn’t provide any helpful info.

After digging around on the arch wiki and stackexchange, I came to find that Linux support for HFS is iffy at best. So I decided I’m not going to waste any more time digging into this error and instead will just reformat the drive with something more compatible and reliable.

The most recommended filesystem type if using the drive on both Macs and Linux is … Microsoft’s NTFS. Weird, but true. So, time to repartition and format the drive as NTFS! Here’s how this was accomplished:

  1. Install the ntfs-3g package using your favorite package manager
  2. sudo fdisk /dev/sdb , then type d, p, n, t, L, 11 (GPT), w
  3. sudo mkfs.ntfs -Q -L label /dev/sdb1

I then was able to mount the drive successfully via the following command. (and complete my backups)

sudo mount --mkdir /dev/sdb1 /mnt/usb256MB -o rw,force,user,auto -t ntfs-3g

Thanks to Stefan van den Akker for writing an excellent article that helped me re-familiarize myself with fdisk syntax.

iPad Pro Smart Keyboards: Disposable After 2 Years

My wife bought a first gen Apple Smart Keyboard for her iPad Pro back in 2017. Within 2 years, the connector only worked intermittently and often failed to work at all. This meant the $169 keyboard was pretty much useless.

Rubbing a magnet on the guttering as described in this 26-page Apple Discussions article temporarily fixed the connectivity problem, but it eventually popped up again.

Apple recognized how widespread the problem was and replaced my keyboard in late 2019, for free under a 3-year extended repair service program. But a little over 2 years later in 2022, the replacement keyboard failed again in the same way. And this time, the magnet trick didn’t work. The replacement only has a 90-day warranty and is apparently not part of the extended repair program.

Apple’s First Gen Smart Keyboard for iPad

So I brought the iPad Pro and the Smart Keyboard into the Apple store today to see if they could fix it. The tech was kind and tested the keyboard with his own iPad Pro and noted that it failed in the same way. But he could only offer a $169 out-of-warranty replacement.

He did note that if I had bought AppleCare+ when I originally bought the iPad, a replacement would have been covered in full. But that would have required me to have done the following:

  1. In 2016, acquire iPad Pro, then buy AppleCare+ for $129
  2. In 2017, acquire Smart Keyboard (can be added separately to AppleCare even a year later as long as you are still covered under AppleCare)
  3. In 2018, buy extended coverage after the original AppleCare+ ran out after 2 years for another $129
  4. In 2019, receive replacement keyboard
  5. In 2020, buy extended coverage for another 2 years for another $129

In other words, for the low low price of $387 ($129*3), I could have been given a $169 keyboard that would fail in another 2 years for free.

No thanks.

Ended up giving my wife an old Apple Wireless keyboard from 2011 to use with her iPad. It connects instantly, and she likes how solid feeling it is:

Apple’s 2011 Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard

She still uses the old Smart Keyboard as a stand. A $169 stand.

MacOS Ventura Lost My Shortcut Folder Names

A few weeks ago, all of my Shortcut folders had names.

Suddenly when I go to open Shortcuts today (on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad), all my folder names are wiped out:

Missing shortcut folder names that can’t (?) be changed back

I tried renaming a folder, modified a shortcut within that folder on the Mac, and the folder reverted to a blank name again! This was 100% reproducible for 1 day.

Then I tried renaming a folder and modifying a shortcut within that folder on an iPad, and the folder name remained the same. It took 10 minutes to synchronize the changes to the Mac, but that worked.

Finally, I logged out of my Mac and logged back in, and everything works again. I don’t have my missing folder names back, but I can rename them and change shortcuts without the folder names blanking out.

Not sure if this is a Ventura bug, Shortcuts bug, iCloud bug, or what. There are no settings to turn on/off Shortcut synchronization in iCloud settings. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Next time this happens, maybe I’ll poke around in the console logs.

Troubleshooting Continuity Camera

With Ventura, Apple released the Continuity Camera feature. This allows you to use a certain iPhone models as a webcam for videoconference / Zoom calls. The advantage is your iPhone’s camera is almost certainly higher quality than whatever old Logitech web cam you have currently atop your laptop or monitor.

Continuity Camera in action (works in FaceTime, Zoom, and most any videoconference software)

Before Ventura 13.1, Continuity Camera was fairly buggy. The first time I tried connecting, it would connect, but after opening and closing Photo Booth a bunch of times, the camera just stopped connecting. The phone’s console log had errors from the privacy/security tccd service, problems “constructing an identity for the camera“. There were also beachballs / slowdowns when trying to switch between microphones in Zoom. (a wired mic and the mic built into the iPhone)

Here’s what I did to troubleshoot and resolve the problem:

  • Turn off Private Wi-Fi address in Phone > Settings > Wi-Fi > [info button]
  • Make sure you’re in “wombatsMustBeMagic” mode by turning your phone to landscape orientation and following the rest of the mounting instructions in this Apple support article. (Landscape orientation is not strictly necessary, but it allows apps to automatically choose your iPhone as a camera.)
  • Check that your iPhone is in the compatibility list mentioned in the above support article
  • Ensure phone is locked and that all devices are updated
  • Use FaceTime, not Photo Booth or Zoom, as the first app you open for testing
  • Connect another webcam temporarily and see if that triggers iPhone camera detection

I wish there was a way to clear the Mac’s camera device list, or reset Continuity Camera. But turning off private Wi-Fi worked for me. And in Ventura 13.1, the feature became more reliable.

Speaking of Continuity Camera, I’m using a variant of Belkin’s $29 MagSafe mount. It works great, and is solidly built. There’s also a $39 Belkin MagSafe mount for external monitors, which works well too. (The magnet is almost too strong.)

Apple Silicone Case After 14 Months – Apple Thinks This is Normal

Here’s what my Apple Silicone phone Case looks like after 14 months of normal use, mainly just putting it in my jeans pocket. My jeans aren’t tight and I’m not rough with the phone.

Apple Silicone Case – normal wear & tear?

I’m trying out my credit card’s extended warranty process to see if this can be covered.

I stopped by an Apple store to get an estimate for replacement, as required by the warranty process. They gave me the estimate, but the way they worded it makes me think my extended warranty claim may be denied. Specifically, the Apple genius technician wrote: “Pilling at edging of case which can happen due to normal usage.

Apple thinks this is “case pilling”, not a defect, and they say this “can happen due to normal usage.” When I think of pilling, I think of this:

Clearly what’s shown in the defective case photos above is not the same as fabric pilling. There are actual splits and holes in both the silicone case outer material and in the inner felt lining. I’ve gently taken the phone out of the case around 6 times ever, so how did the inner felt come loose?

I’ll post an update here on whether Visa decides to honor the extended warranty claim anyway or not. But I feel like when you pay Apple prices for a nice smooth silicone case, it shouldn’t get all ratty looking just after the warranty expires.

Update: Visa honored the extended warranty claim! Pretty sure this is because I included photos of the actual damage, which was clearly not “pilling”. Good on Visa.

My next phone case is going to be third-party, and leather, which seems like it’s going to be more durable than Apple’s thin silicone. Maybe something like this $77 Bullstrap case which gets great reviews on r/patinaproud. Kind of a lot to spend on a case though.

Potty Training in 3 Days

I have a couple of kids who were trained to go potty quickly, each in one three day weekend. This is all due to my wife, who found this book, “Potty Training in 3 Days” by Brandi Brucks. One kid was a little over 2 years old when she learned, and one was a little under 3. It’s a quick read.

The key is to not start the book until they actually ask to start using the potty. And by potty, I mean the actual toilet. The book goes into additional signs of readiness: diapers start to be dry, they follow simple directions, they want to wear real underwear, etc.

The rewards we chose were lots of praise and peanut butter M&M’s, in a special container we got from Costco Business Center. Within 6 months of learning, each only had one accident. Each time they were on their way to the bathroom and didn’t get there in time. We’ve saved a bunch of money on diapers and built each child’s confidence.

I give my wife all the credit – she did the actual training on the floor in the bathroom for large portions of the 3 day weekends. All I had to do was work and watch the other kid.

3 Quick Exercises My Doctor Advised Me To Do

Every time I see my doctor, he says I have a healthy heart and lungs, but gives advice on how to get even healthier and stronger. Here’s a summary of what he’s told me over the years:

sfgate: 60 seconds of intense exercise may have same benefits of 45-minute workout

To improve posture, I got almost immediate results doing Darryl’s 10-minute Pilates workouts on Apple Fitness. (and you can get Apple Fitness for free from Target, Best Buy, United Healthcare, and other companies.)

Add portion control via the hand measure system (not counting calories), and good sleep (7+ hours per night) for optimal health.

The point is you don’t need some fancy/expensive P90X exercise program that takes hours out of your day. Just healthy habits that are easy to do quickly.

Apple Watch Band Weights

Thanks to a bunch of Swagbucks rewards from last year, I got my wife a new watch band for Christmas. She not only likes how it looks, but noticed it was significantly lighter than her old Sport Loop:

41mm Sport Loop: 1.0oz (28.35 grams)
41mm Braided Solo Loop: 0.3oz (8.5 grams)

Apple’s 41mm Braided Solo Loop Band – only 8.5 grams

For comparison, my 44mm Solo Loop is 0.5oz (14.17 grams).

I found some more watch band weights in this article by Rene Ritchie. Interesting how a few bands that have the same size and style but different colors have different weights.

You don’t have to pay Apple prices. $99 for a watch band is pretty expensive. Amazon has decent third party bands for less than $11 that look and feel similar to the Apple bands. The catch? They may only last 1-2 years.

If you’re thinking of getting a new band, I strongly recommend spending 15 minutes in an Apple retail store trying everything out, taking pictures, checking fit and feel, etc. I thought I wanted the Braided Solo Loop for myself but ended up getting a Solo Loop because it felt more comfortable to me.

My wife thought the opposite. She loves her new Braided Solo Loop. Both loop bands are faster to put on and take off.