Mac hardware Networking Security

Frequently encountered issues with Macs


While my regular clients hire MacMaven for IT and information security work, I often get calls from new clients with computing problems. An analogy could be made with plumbing. A plumber’s big jobs involve installation of pipes, sinks, showers, etc. Oftentimes a plumber is called to deal with a clogged toilet. These are the “clogged toilet” issues that I’ve been seeing lately.

  • Slow 21.5″ iMacs: Apple uses slow 5400 RPM hard drives in its 21.5″ iMacs, presumably as a cost-cutting measure. I addressed this topic in a previous post. High Sierra runs like molasses on these Macs. They feel like computers that are 10 years old. These Macs can have the internal HDD replaced with SATA SSDs, internal or external, to make them run at acceptable speeds. As a good-faith measure, Apple should provide an SSD upgrade service to make these machines usable. At this time, customers need to use third-party service providers to replace internal HDDs with SSDs.
  • Malware and misdeeds: About 25% of the Macs that I encounter have some form of adware or potentially unwanted program (PUP). I’ve also had an uptick in clients who have been scammed or hacked. When I started this business six years ago, security problems were theoretical for most Mac users. Now these issues are very real and painful when they occur. Proactive measures are critical, along with security awareness training.
  • Lack of storage space: This is a tremendous problem for those with 128 GB MacBook Air computers, even when using the Desktop and Documents in iCloud feature. Aside from small hard drives, the most common scenario that I see is a misunderstanding about how Dropbox works. Many people think that when a document is placed into the Dropbox folder, it doesn’t take up space on the local drive. In fact, Dropbox synchronizes files between local drives and the Dropbox data center. Documents can be removed from the local drive by using either the Selective Sync or Smart Sync features.
  • Poor Wi-Fi: Pre-war buildings in Manhattan have very thick walls that aren’t conducive to strong Wi-Fi signals. Also, there is usually a great deal of airwave congestion due to competing access points. Newer equipment, tailored to the office or apartment at hand, makes a huge improvement in Wi-Fi performance.
  • Old software: I often need to encourage clients to upgrade their software. I see frequently see old versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe creative applications. Much of the reluctance to upgrade is due to the subscription fees. This is something that we all need to get used to, as it’s the preferred business model of software publishers and Wall Street. It’s critical to use fully supported software that gets regular security updates.

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