fixed : copy WhatsApp profile picture to macOS Contacts address book

Question :
I am using WhatsApp to communicate with some people that I have only seen a few times in real life. But as we are communicating in a WhatsApp Group it is really handy to see their profile pictures to remember who is who. But now I need to eMail them and it would be great to distinguish them by their profile pictures also… Is there any way to copy their WhatsApp profile pictures over to my macOS Contacts address book ? I’ve tried dark&drop, but that doesn’t work…

Answer :

Yes, but it’s slightly more time-consuming than drag&drop. Here’s how to :

  • make sure you have the official WhatsApp Desktop-app installed on your Mac
  • make sure the WhatsApp Desktop-app is open and you are logged in
    • note : you will need your mobile phone to log in (for the first time)
  • in the WhatsApp Desktop-app do this :
    • open an old conversation with the person who’s profile picture you need
      • you can use the Search-option to find this person if you don’t see them in your recent chats immediately
    • in the person’s profile picture that is visible in the middel of the top menu bar
    • when the Contact Info window opens, right-click on the (large) profile picture that is displayed
    • now, click on the “Copy Image” text that appears
    • then, exit WhatsApp Desktop-app and open Preview.app
    • make sure that “Preview” is listed in the macOS top menu bar, next to the Apple logo
    • goto “File” > “New From Clipboard” and click on it
      • if “New From Clipboard” is greyed out, there is nothing on your clipboard, so you should go back into WhatsApp Desktop-app and do the “Copy Image” procedure again
    • now the profile picture will be displayed as a Preview document
    • goto “File” > “Save” and click on it
      • when asked, you can just leave “name: Untitled” and “location: Desktop” and click OK
      • now a new file (icon) named “Untitled” will appear on your Desktop
    • then, exit Preview.app and open Contacts.app
    • in Contacts.app find the person you want to add the profile picture to
    • click on the person’s name to open their personal info
    • then, drag&drop the “Untitled” file from your Desktop to their profile picture area
    • frist, in white, the word “edit” will appear, when the Plus-sign appears, drop the file
      • you can do this even if you don’t click on the “Edit” button bottom right
    • you will get the option to size the profile picture, so you can zoom in if you like
    • then click OK and you’re done
    • That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : delete an old TimeMachine-backup file from a Time Capsule

Question :

I’ve bought a new MacBook and I want to use my existing Time Capsule for it’s TimeMachine-backups, but it’s full. The backup-file, a .sparsebundle-file, from my previous MacBook that I am going to pass on to one of my children, is far too big.

I have installed my new MacBook from the old MacBook’s TimeMachine-backup, so I am not needing that backup again, but I want to make two new TimeMachine-backups as soon as possible : one for my new MacBook and one for the old MacBook right after my child starts using it.

But, I can’t seem to delete the old .sparsebundle-file from my Time Capsule completely… I’ve done several attempts, but I keep running into the same error message “The operation can’t be completed because some items had to be skipped. For each item, choose File > get Info, make sure “Locked” is deselected, and then check the Sharing & Permissions section. When you are sure the items are unlocked and not designated as Read Only or No Access, try again.”. On first sight, the .sparsebundle-file is still there. On further inspection, it turns out the the .sparsebundle-file has shrunken in size.

But… what can I do to completely delete the old .sparsebundle-file ?

 

Answer :

This problem can occur especially with bigger and older .sparsebundle-TimeMachine-backup-files. Note that the really new TimeMachine-backup-files have a .backupbundle-extension, not a .sparsebundle-extension, but there is hardly any difference

To be able to delete the old .sparsebundle-file, start by doing this :

  1. connect your new MacBook to the Time Capsule using a UTP/Ethernet-cable
    • make sure to shut off AirPort/WiFi on your MacBook :
      • in the top menu-bar, click on the AirPort/WiFi-icon (the piece of pie)
      • in the pulldown-menu, set the WiFi-slider to OFF
    • if you do not have an Ethernet-port or a USB-to-Ethernet-converter on your MacBook :
      • connect your MacBook to the Time Capsule using AirPort/WiFi
      • but make sure to disconnect all other AirPort/WiFi-connected devices
  2. Make sure that your Time Capsule has the latest firmware installed :
    • goto Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility
    • open AirPort Utility
    • in the AirPortUtility-window, click on your Time Capsule’s picture
    • when prompted, enter the Time Capsule’s password
    • in the popup-window, at ‘version’ check if there is an update available
    • if so, click on the button to install it
    • if just the version number is shown, you already have the latest firmware installed, so you don’t need to do anything extra here
    • exit AirPort Utility
  3. Make sure that you have read&write-privileges on the .sparsbundle-file you want to remove :
    • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the Finder-icon (blue-grey face icon) in the far left of the Dock
    • from the popup-list, select New Finder Window
    • scroll down to the “Locations” group in the menu list at the left and click on “Network”
    • in the window that opens, goto Network > Time Capsule
      • if you have multiple Time Capsule devices, make sure you select the Time Capsule that the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete is actually on
    • if it says “Not Connected” click the “Connect as”-button and typ the Time Capsule’s password
    • if it says “Connected”, you’re good
    • open the Data folder and right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the TimeMachine-backup-file you want to delete
    • from the popup-menu, choose Get Info
    • in the Get Info window that opens, choose these settings :
      • uncheck the check-box at “Locked” (so the file is unlocked, i.e. delete-able)
      • uncheck the check-box at “Hide extension” (so the .sparsebundle extension will be visible in the file name)
      • at “Sharing & Permissions” set Privilege for “everyone” to “Read & Write”
    • close the Get Info window

Having set the above, there are various options that might enable you to delete the old .sparsebundle-file (or .backupbundle-file). Your options are listed below, from simple to extreme. Read all of them before starting, and choose the option you want to try first. Any of these might be successful, and if the one you chose first doesn’t work, just try another one.

Option #1 : delete the .sparsebundle-file from within the Finder

  • goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
  • from the popup-list, select “Move to Bin”
  • wait for the “Move to Bin” action to complete
  • if it doesn’t end in an error, empty the bin/trash (and you’re done)
  • if this ends in an error, try any of the other options

Option #2a : additional TC reset

  • restart your Time Capsule by unplugging the power cable for 30 seconds
  • plug the power cable back into the Time Capsule
  • when the Time Capsule comes back online, follow the directions from Option #1

Option #2b : additional Mac reset

  • shut down your Time Capsule by unplugging the power cable (for 30 seconds)
  • shut down your MacBook by selecting Shut Down from the Apple-menu top-left
  • plug the power cable back into the Time Capsule
  • restart your MacBook by pressing the power button
  • when both your Time Capsule and your MacBook have restarted, follow the directions from Option #1

Option #2c : additionally disconnect other devices

  • shut down your Time Capsule by unplugging the power cable (for 30 seconds)
  • now, disconnect all UTP/Ethernet-cables leading to other devices than your MacBook (you can even disconnect the cable connected to your internet modem-router)
  • shut down your MacBook by selecting Shut Down from the Apple-menu top-left
  • plug the power cable back into the Time Capsule
  • restart your MacBook by pressing the power button
  • when both your Time Capsule and you MacBook have restarted, goto Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility
  • in the AirPort Utility window, click on the picture of your Time Capsule, typ your password if needed and check which devices are connected
  • then, one-by-one go to each device listed and shut down it’s WiFi-connection
  • when done, close the AirPort Utility application and reopen it
  • again, in the AirPort Utility window, click on the picture of your Time Capsule, typ your password if needed and check which devices are connected
  • you should now see no devices listed at “wireless clients” (except for your MacBook if you aren’t able to connect it using a UTP/Ethernet-cable)
  • then, follow the directions from Option #1
  • NOTE : do not forget to plug all UTP/Ethernet-cables back into your Time Capsule and switch on WiFi on all devices that were previously connected

Option #3 : by backing up the Time Capsule content

  • NOTE : you will need a Mac-connectable external USB-harddisk for this ! (at least as many GBs as the internal HD of your Time Capsule, so 500G, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB of larger)
    • to check if the USB-harddisk is Mac-connectable, plug it into your Mac and if it pops up you’re okay
    • if it doesn’t show up, it’s a Windows NTFS-disk that needs to be reformatted to Mac Journailed format ( note that this erases all content, so ONLY reformat it if it’s an empty brand-new external harddisk ! )
  • NOTE : this method will work 99% of the time, but it will probably take (far) more time than any other method
  • start by connecting the external USB-harddisk to your Time Capsule’s USB-port
  • then, on your MacBook, goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • then, in the top menu-bar, goto Finder > Preferences
  • in the Finder Preferences window, click the Sidebar tab
  • in the list that shows up, make sure that “External disks” and “Connected servers” are checked
  • then close the Finder Preferences window
  • now select the New Finder Window you had just opened
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule
  • next to the Data-folder, there is now a new folder named after your externe USB-harddisk
    • for the following, assume that your extern USB-harddisk folder is simply called “usb-HD”
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD
    • if the “usb-HD” folder is completely empty, you’re okay
    • else, click on the “More” icon (the circle with 3 dot in it) and in the dropdown menu click “New Folder” and call it “TC-backup”
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • inside the Data-folder select all files (both backup-files and other files) that you DO NOT want to delete
  • drag&drop all the files into Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD
    • it may take some time for all files to copy over, so let it run
    • if you run into an error, try copying over every file one-by-one
    • if you still run into an error, just try again
  • when all files are copied over, you can unplug the external USB-harddisk from your Time Capsule
    • as an extra safety precaution, you can unplug the power cable from your Time Capsule before you unplug the USB-cable and replug the power cable when the external USB-harddisk is disconnected
  • then goto Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility
  • open AirPort Utility
  • in the AirPortUtility-window, click on your Time Capsule’s picture
  • when prompted, enter the Time Capsule’s password
  • in the popup-window, click the Edit-button
  • in the window that opens, select the “Disks”-tab
  • in the Disks window, click the “Erase Disk”-button
  • next, choose the level of security for the erase (“Quick Erase” should do fine, since you are going to use the disk for the same purpose immediately afterwards)
  • then click “Update” and the Time Capsule’s status light wil flash orange-yellow until the disk is erased and the Time Capsule is accessible again
  • then, exit AirPort Utility
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD or Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD > TC-backup (depending on where you put your Time Capsule back-up files)
    • if you don’t see the “usb-HD” folder, make sure your external USB-harddisk is plugged back into your Time Capsule
  • now, select all files from the back-up folder (either “usb-HD” or the “TC-backup” folder within it)
  • drag&drop all the files into Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
    • it may take some time for all files to copy over, so let it run
    • if you run into an error, try copying over every file one-by-one
    • if you still run into an error, just try again
  • when the copying is finished, you should now have your Time Capsule the way you wanted it : exactly the same (backup) files on it’s disk, but without the .sparsebundle(s) you don’t need anymore

Option #4 : manually deleting all files inside

  • goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
  • from the popup-list, select “Open Package Content”
  • in the Finder window that opens click on the “bands” folder
    • if the “bands” folder appears empty, just wait a few moments for its content to appear in the Finder window
  • SHIFT-click on the top file and scroll down to select multiple files, then press the Backspace-button on your keyboard to delete them
    • you are able to select and delete up to 8000 files per batch (according to user ‘cmaryg’)
    • if a batch refuses to delete at the first attempt, just try again – usually it will eventually be deleted anyway (according to user ‘cmaryg’)
    • if a batch refuses to delete after a few attempts, reduce the number of files in it by selecting less files at once and try deleting again
    • if you happen to run into a single file that refuses to delete, do this :
      • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the file
      • from the popup-list, select “Get Info”
      • in the window that opens, make sure that there is no checkmark at “Locked”
      • then try deleting the file again
  • then repeat this for the next batch of files, until the “bands” folder is completely empty
  • if the “bands” file is completely empty, close the Finder window that displays the “bands” folder
  • then, goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
  • from the popup-list, select “Move to Bin”
  • if it doesn’t end in an error, empty the bin/trash (and you’re done)
  • if this ends in an error, you can still try Option #3, but probably this will help too :
    • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
    • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
    • from the popup-list, select “Open Package Content”
    • in the Finder window that opens, select the top folder and drag it to the bin (trash)
    • repeat this for all folders listed
    • then, select the top file and drag it to the bin (trash)
    • repeat this for all files
    • if you run into a file that refuses to delete, do this :
      • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the file
      • from the popup-list, select “Get Info”
      • in the window that opens, make sure that there is no checkmark at “Locked”
      • then try deleting the file again

That should be it !

As mentioned before : the Option #3 method will work (nearly) always, but it’s time-consuming and you will need a lot of extra disk space for it (on an external harddisk).

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : macOS Big_Sur installer hangs at 95%

Question :
I just downloaded the new macOS 11 Big_Sur on my Mac mini (2018) and started installing. But even though it said that installing would take about 28 minutes, it’s now about 40 minutes and the installer hangs, the screen is black with just the white Apple-logo and an installer bar that hangs at about 95%.

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

Just wait for about 15 to 20 minutes more, and it might just finish the last 5% of the installing process. If it doesn’t, press the power button on your Mac mini until it shuts down completely. Then, restart your Mac mini by pressing the power button again.

Note : this will probably work for any Mac, but it has been tested only on Mac mini (2018).

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : “iPad could not be activated” error on old iPad with empty SIM-slot (or iPad showing “black screen with time only” error)

Question :

I have an old iPad that I want to give to my children, but when I switch it on, there’s only a black screen showing the current time (not sure if it’s actually the correct time).

I left the iPad alone for some time, and when I switched it on again, I get an “iPad could not be activated” error.

Now, whenever I switch on the iPad, I either get the “iPad could not be activated” error or I get the black screen displaying the time only… I can’t figure out a way to get anything els from it…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

For some unknown reason this problem appears on old iPads with an empty SIM-card slot. To get your iPad working again, follow these steps :

  • make sure the iPad is charged at least 20%
  • take the SIM card tray (holder) out of the iPad
  • vacuum the SIM card slot using a vacuum cleaner
  • if you have one, put a SIM-card in the tray (even if it’s an old inactive SIM-card), if not leave the tray empty
  • put the SIM card tray back into the iPad
  • reset the iPad by pressing the Home-button and the ON/OFF-switch at the same time
  • press both buttons until the white Apple-logo appears
  • then release the ON/OFF-button, but keep pressing the Home-button
  • when you keep the Home-button pressed long enough, you will get a “connect to iTunes” message
  • when an error message (or anything else) appears, repeat the reset
  • plug your iPad’s USB-cable into a Mac (or PC) that has iTunes on it
    • a newer Mac with Apple Music app might also work, but iTunes will probably work easier since this is an old iPad…
    • if you don’t have a Mac, you can probably use a PC with iTunes for Windows also (this wasn’t tested though…)
  • in iTunes you will get a message that the software on the iPad needs to be updated, click OK to go ahead
  • make sure your Mac (or PC) is connected to the internet, so it can download the update
  • this will take quite a long time 
  • you will only see an “iPad recovery mode” screen in iTunes, with no indication of progress
  • on your iPad you will see the Apple logo and an empty progress bar
  • if you do not touch anything long enough, the progress bar will suddenly start moving after 10 or 15 minutes (maybe longer)
  • wait for the progress bar to complete and disappear 
  • then you will get an “entry code protection” error in iTunes
  • open your iPad with the screen unlock code
  • on the bottom of the “Choose a Wi-Fi Network” page that automatically opens, you will now see a “connect to iTunes” option, select that
  • if your iPad is recognized correctly now, you’re okay
  • else, redo the entire procedure and choose “Erase” instead of “Repair” (“Recover”)
    • note : if you need to choose “Erase” you will loose all content that was on the iPad (the only way to get your content back after that is to import it from your iCloud backup or iTunes backup – if you ever made one manually or automatically)
  • follow the instructions and you will also be guided through instructions import a backup (if you have made any previously)

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : use old iPad as an extra screen for your Mac (or PC)

Question :

Since we are working from home a lot (and the children are home schooling), and we have several old iPads and iPhones lying around gathering dust, we were wondering if it would be possible to use them as second screens on our Macs and Windows PCs to make our work and homework easier by being able to do this (and more) :

  • manage our music playlist (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify) on our old iPad/iPhone whilst running  MS Office on our Mac/PC without switching apps
  • use our old iPad/iPhone’s touchscreen to put a signature under a PDF-document whilst typing it on our Mac/PC
  • use our old iPad/iPhone as a drawing tablet for our Mac/PC
  • videochat or view an online presentation onour Mac/PC whilst making notes on our old iPad/iPhone using a full-size keyboard (and easily swapping the two around when needed)

We noticed Apple has introduced this great feature called Sidecar that enables you to use your iPad (or iPhone) as a second screen for your Mac. But when I looked at the Sidecar requirements on the Apple website, I found that our older iPads/iPhones aren’t supported.

Is there any way to use Sidecar (or something similar) on our old iPads/iPhones ?

 

Answer :

Yes, even though you cannot use Sidecar on any unsupported iPad, iPhone or Mac, there is an alternative that works just as great for any old iPad (or iPhone) and is not limited to a Mac, but does support Windows PCs also… and best of all : it’s FREE.

This is ideal for working from home and home schooling since you can do all this (and more) :

  • manage your music playlist (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify) on your iPad whilst running  MS Office on your Mac/PC without switching apps
  • use your iPad/iPhone’s touchscreen to put a signature under a PDF-document whilst typing it on your Mac/PC
  • use your iPad/iPhone as a drawing tablet for your Mac/PC
  • videochat or view an online presentation on my Mac/PC whilst making notes on my iPad/iPhone using a full-size keyboard (and easily swapping the two around when needed)

This FREE alternative for Apple Sidecar is Splashtop Wired XDisplay. It enables you to use any iPad/iPhone running iOS 7 or newer as a second or third (touch)screen for any Mac running OSX 10.9 Mavericks (or PC running Windows 7) or newer.

This means that all these iPhone / iPad / Mac models are supported :

  • iPhone 4 or newer
  • iPad 2 or newer
  • any iPad mini
  • any iPad Air
  • any iPad Pro
  • any aluminum iMac (iMac “Mid 2007” or newer)
  • any iMac Pro
  • Mac mini “Early 2009” or newer
  • Mac Pro “Early 2008” or newer
  • white MacBook “Early 2009” or newer
  • any aluminum MacBook
  • MacBook Air “Late 2008” or newer (2nd gen MacBook Air or newer)
  • MacBook Pro “Mid 2007” or newer

To install, do this :

  • install the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on you Mac/PC
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for Mac or Windows here
  • install iTunes on your PC if you have done so yet
    • you can download iTunes for Windows here
    • on a Mac you don’t need additional software for your iPad/iPhone to be recognized
  • install Splashtop Wired XDisplay on your iPad/iPhone
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for iPhone here
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for iPad here
  • then, plug your iPad/iPhone’s USB-cable into your Mac/PC
  • then run the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on your Mac/PC
  • then run the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on your iPad/iPhone
  • then goto the Settings on your Mac/PC, find the Screen Settings and arrange your screens the way you like
    • you can choose “Mirror Screen” to see exactly the same on your MAc/PC and your iPad/iPhone
    • you can choose “Extend Screen” to arrange the iPad/iPhone as an add-on for your desktop
    • if you already have a second screen attached to your Mac/PC, you can use your iPad/iPhone as an additional third screen also

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : where can I get an Ancient Greek keyboard ?

Question :

I am learning Classical Greek (a.k.a. Ancient Greek) in school, and since I am home-schooling now, I would like to have a Greek keyboard.

Where can I get one ?

 

Answer :

For Ancient Greek, you would preferably use the so called “Greek Polytonic Keyboard” setting on your computer, which is slightly different from a regular / modern Greek keyboard layout.

To enable the “Greek Polytonic Keyboard” on your Mac or PC, see this post :

https://macmanus.nl/2019/02/14/typing-ancient-greek-text-on-mac-or-pc/

However, you are asking for a piece of hardware, a physical keyboard. If you want to buy an actual Greek Polytonic Keyboard, your options are extremely limited and really expensive, especially if you want a real Mac-keyboard (not a Windows-keyboard). You could of course use a modern-day Greek Keyboard instead, but getting yourself one if you’re not living in Greece is rather difficult (and expensive). So I would suggest one of these :

  • …or you can make some stickers yourself, using small round 12mm multi-color stickers and a marker (that you can get in most supermarkets and bookstores)

…and stick those onto an old USB- or Bluetooth-keyboard that you are not currently using. Here’s an example of the layout (yellow & blue are regular keys, white are shift-keys)

If you need an affordable new keyboard, buy the Logitech K120 keyboard (or something alike). Even if you are using a Mac, this Windows keyboard will do since you will be stickering the keys :

 

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : how to retrieve Safari Strong Password from iCloud

Question :

I am setting up an app (ToDoist.app in this case) to work across my devices. I have set up the app (ToDoist.app) on my iPhone about a week ago, and now I am trying to set up the app on my Mac. The problem is I need to login to my ToDoist-account on my Mac, but since I have used the password that was automatically suggested I have no recollection of the password I have set…

Is there any way to retrieve the password from iCloud ?

 

Answer :

Yes, there is 😉

To make the actual password visible, do this :

  • make sure that both your iPhone and your Mac are logged in with the same iCloud-account
    • on your iPhone, goto Settings.app > [your name] (listed on top) > iCloud
    • on your Mac, goto System Preferences > Apple ID (grey tile with the white Apple logo, top right)
  • then, make sure that iCloud’s password backup is switched on
    • on your iPhone, in Settings.app > [your name] (listed on top) > iCloud > “Apps using iCloud” > Keychain should be ON
    • on your Mac, in System Preferences > Apple ID > “Apps on this Mac using iCloud” there should be a check-mark at “Keychain”
  • if it wasn’t, restart the app on your iPhone
  • then, on your Mac, goto Safari > Preferences > Passwords
  • then, login on the window that opens ( using your Mac’s screen unlock password )
  • in the next window, scroll down the list and select the appropriate website
  • then, left-click on the dotted-out password ( so the actual password will be shown )
  • then, right-click on the password and select “Copy Password” from the pop-up list
  • now, paste the password into the app’s login-window

…this will unlock the app 😉

enjoy !