Frequently Asked Questions


See the page on security for more information.

Q: Can a Trojan Horse steal credit card info from a secure browser?

A: Yes. There is no such thing as a "secure browser." Once your computer has a Trojan Horse program installed on it, nothing on your computer is secure. Evil software could display the "lock" icon but still steal your information. Actual instances of such programs have been found.

Time Machine and Backup

See the page on backup for more information.

Q: Once I back up to Time Machine, can I delete from my iTunes?

A: No. Don't trust Time Machine to remember files forever. Also, your backup drive could crash. Burn your tunes to a data DVD before you delete them from your computer.

Q: How do I truly remove something from Time Machine?

A: You can tell Time Machine "forget I ever had this file" by right-clicking it and selecting "Delete all backups of WHATEVER." (Thanks, Simon Wagstaff!)

Q: Do I need to buy a Time Capsule if I have iCloud?

A: Yes. They do different things. iCloud sync backs up some of your files to Apple's network. It will back up mail, address book, calendar, photos in Photos, music in iTunes, and "Mobile Documents" created by Apple's iWork applications. Time Machine backs up all of your files to your own disk.

OS Upgrades and El Capitan

See the upgrade pages for El Capitan (OSX 10.11) and Yosemite (OSX 10.10) for more information.

Q: Can I install El Capitan on my friend's computer?

A: Not legally. Apple says you can install a single purchase of Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, or El Capitan on "all of your computers." Installing on a friend's computer violates Apple's license. (Currently this restriction is not checked.)

Q: Should you unplug Time Machine when you upgrade OSX?

A: Yes. Do a full backup of your hard drive first. Then dismount and unplug all external devices before doing an OS upgrade. (This is the extra-cautious approach; sometimes it isn't necessary. Before upgrading, check to see if others have had problems.)

Q: Does (El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard) work on PowerPC hardware?

A: No. Stick with OSX 10.5.8 (Leopard) if you have a Mac with a PowerPC CPU. PowerPC software will run under Leopard and Snow Leopard (10.6) on a computer with an Intel CPU, using the Apple-provided Rosetta emulator.

Q: Will updating to El Capitan on my Mac affect Microsoft Office?

A: Office 2011 works OK for me, but I do not use Outlook, Entourage, or Communicator. Office 2004 will stop working, because it is a PowerPC program. Office 2008 has "some crashing issues," which may have been fixed by updates from Microsoft. (Microsoft Mac documentation is not clear, and has not been updated since July 2011.)

As of May 2016, Microsoft no longer sells Office 2011.. they only sell Office 2016 (about $140 depending on model).

Q: How do I fix "PowerPC applications are no longer supported"?

A: PowerPC applications will not work on Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, or El Capitan. Upgrade the applications to new versions, or re-install Snow Leopard.

Q: Is there a PowerPC emulator for Lion/Mountain Lion or later?

A: No. The PowerPC emulator, called Rosetta, in earlier versions of OS X is hooked into the OS in very deep ways. Apple has chosen to eliminate this feature from its operating systems, starting with Lion (OSX 10.7). Without access to the closed source of OS X and Rosetta, it would be extremely hard for a third party to create such an emulator, and keep it working as OS X evolves. It is possible to create a virtual machine under OS X (using VirtualBox, VMWare, or Parallels) and install a Snow Leopard OS on it, and install Rosetta, and run PowerPC software under that. I have done this with VirtualBox. The Apple end user license only permits running Snow Leopard Server on a virtual machine, and Parallels and VMware will refuse to install from a Snow Leopard client disc.


Q: How do I make a custom ring tone or text tone for an iPhone?

A: See the iTunes page.

Home | FAQ © 2010-2021, Tom Van Vleck updated 2021-05-25 10:16