In the last article of this series “How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 1” I described how you can access your Desktop Mac from a MacBook when they are both on the same network. But what if you are at work, or in the neighborhood coffee shop or on vacation half way around the world?
There are ways to set up your Mac so that you can access it. The easiest way to set up remote access is through the use of “Back to My Mac”. This is approach uses software that every Mac has and iCloud. Both Macs must be using the same iCloud account. If either of the Macs are behind a firewall, it must be configured to allow the remote connection.
Rather than go into the details of how to set up and use this method, let me just summarize. A detailed configuration written up by Apple [See Reference 1 below] is available. Basically all you have to do is go into the iCloud Preferences pane on the target machine and select Back to My Mac. On the client Mac, open a finder window and use the sidebar under Shared to select the Mac you want a remote connection to.
I have not been able to test this method myself. More on that in a moment. From what I have read, this method has a spotty history of working. If you can set it up, you might want to try this as it is an all Apple solution, but read the warning paragraph below first!
WARNING – So why couldn’t I try this? Well, the router behind which the target Mac sets must have UPnP or NAT-PNP enabled. In my case, my home router supplied by AT&T Uverse will not allow either of those settings, and that is for good reason. Having UPnP turned on is a security risk. Most security experts agree with this sentiment, so even if your home router allows UPnP to be turned on, it is NOT a good idea to do so.
- Free, part of macOS
- Macs must be OS X Lion 10.7.5 or later.
- Both Macs must be using the same iCloud account
- Firewall reconfiguration may be required
- Required router settings open a security risk
- literature reports mixed success
- Set up and use Back to My Mac
Read my other macOS articles
Podcasts – I have been listening to the Security Now podcast since it began. It has been published weekly now for over 10 years. The latests episode as of this writing is #626. While they began as short programs of under 30 minutes, they have rapidly grown to around two hours per episode.
The show is presented on the TWiT Network and features Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson. While, as the name implies, the focus is on computer security, they also will talk about Tech in general and Science Fiction from time to time. The more recent episodes cover the security news that has occurred over the past week (almost always something new). They sometimes address questions from their large international audience, with occasional deep-dives into an issue of computer technology or security.
The program is well done and I recommend it to anyone interested in computer security, or who simply uses a computer, tablet or smart phone.
See my other Cyber Security articles
Product Review – A few months ago my home suffered a lightening strike that. among other things, broke the ethernet port on my Mac Mini. While I have been able to use the built in IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) connection, I prefer a hard wired network connection.
A few days ago I found the Anker USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter on Amazon and thought it would be just the accessory to put my Mac Mini back on the wired network. I ordered it and it arrived yesterday. I was able to install it easily: connect a RJ-45 cable from my Ethernet switch, then just insert the adapter into a free USB port on my Mac Mini.
The new connection was immediately recognized by macOS and I was back to using the wired connection. While I have only been using if for just about 24 hours it has worked perfectly so far.
- Easy to install
- Low cost ($13.99 as I write this review)
- USB 3.0 compatibility, backwards compatible with 2.0/1.1
- Gigabit Ethernet support
- Portable if needed
- Compatible with macOS and Windows
- Powered by the USB port
- Does require committed use of a USB port
This is a product that I would recommend to anyone who needed to add a wired Ethernet connection to your Mac or PC. You could also use this to add a higher speed or second Ethernet connection to your computer.
See my other Mac and OS X articles
Product Announcement – XwaveSoft of Odessa, Ukraine has released SurfPro VPN 1.0, their easy-to-use and secure VPN client for macOS. SurfPro VPN allows Mac users to protect their internet traffic from prying eyes, whether they belong to the government or criminals. The app keeps the user’s location, identity, and other personal data secure from outside observers. SurfPro also makes it possible for anyone to access websites and other Internet services that are typically blocked in their locale.
It has never been more important than it is today for Internet users to protect their web traffic from prying eyes. Criminals and government agencies are both constantly monitoring users’ unprotected traffic on the web, attempting to intercept personal information, such as credit card and banking information, or usernames and passwords.
At the same time, many governments attempt to control their citizen’s Internet freedom, locking down where users can go on the web, restricting the content they can access. In other cases, users find some content isn’t available from their current location simply because of the content provider’s geographic restrictions.
- Comprehensive privacy protection
- Full access to blocked websites and services
- Access to content and services normally unavailable in some countries
- Secures Macs and their data from prying eyes
- Hides both IP and physical addresses
- Connect to over 300 servers in more than 50 locations around the globe (updated regularly)
- Unlimited network traffic and connection speed
- Available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad
- Connect up to 5 devices or computers under one account at no extra charge
- Offers dedicated IPs
- 7-day trial period with full unlimited functionality
- 24/7 professional technical support
SurfPro is simple to install and setup on any Mac computer. The service offers a convenient “try it before you buy it” 7-day trial, so users try the service with no obligation of any kind. If they decide to continue with the SurfPro VPN service, users will have a choice of subscription plans. Options range from $3.99 USD per month, up to $49.99 for a 3-year subscription. All SurfPro VPN subscriptions allow users to access the service on up to 5 Macs or iOS devices at no extra charge, making it easy to keep the whole family protected.
- OS X 10.10 or higher (compatible with macOS Sierra 10.12)
- 64-bit processor
- 8.9 MB
SurfPro VPN 1.0 is free and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Business category. Subscription plans are available via convenient in-app purchases, offering the choice of subscription options ranging from one month to three years, starting from $3.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) per month.
Product Announcement – Karma Mobility of Irving, Texas, providers of the technology that let’s you take Wifi everywhere at a better cost than conventional WiFi providers, has launched DRIFT, a best priced pay as you go service. At $3 per month and $10 per GB used. DRIFT bests the pay-as-you-go market by $17 per month. DRIFT customers also get a credit back for any unused portion of data at the end of each month.
Karma reports account set up is simple and easy and takes only a few minutes. Additionally, DRIFT customers who share their connection get free data while sharing and earn a $1 credit for every guest that connects. Customers can manage their account and data on their phone and via the web with the ability to change their plan at any time. Drift requires no contracts, has no hidden fees and customers can cancel at any time.
Drift can be used across the US in over 460 cities. It uses a 4G LTE connection and falls back to CDMA 3G in the most remote areas where 4G LTE coverage is not available. Users with a 4G LTE connection can download 6-8Mbps with peaks up to 25Mbps and upload 2-3Mbps. CDMA 3G speeds provide Download .6-1.4Mbps with peaks up to 3.1Mbps and Uploads of .35-5Mbps.
Laptops, tablets and phones can all connect within 100 feet of the Karma Go device which is small, sleek and portable weighing just 2.3 ounces and has a battery life up to 6 hours and 220 hours of standby time.
Product Announcement – AppYogi Software of Bangalore, India has released TransData – Network Data Transfer Rate 1.0, the company’s new utility developed exclusively for Mac OS X. TransData – Data Monitor App features a unique, single threaded algorithm to accurately monitor the download and upload speed of the personal computer network. This convenient Menu Bar app records and display total data used with respective interface of your mac. A neat floating widget with up/down data transfer rate with Micro View enabled and data transfer rate and data usage is showed in a graph with Macro view, when enabled. For better visuals, lite and dark themes are also provided.
- Shows network data transfer rate in Kbps/Mbps with up/down speed on your menu bar
- Get total internet data used by PC with respective to interfaces connected
- Beautiful widget which shows up/down data which you can place anywhere on your screen
- Displays connected network name with local IP
- Shows data rate on a graph with respect to time
- Graph displays real-time bandwidth data at 1-second intervals
- Also graph show total data used with respect to interfaces
- Refresh rate can be customised as per the requirement in preferences
- Beautiful user interface with dark/light themes for graph and floating widget
- Its an essential utility which every PC should have to monitor data rate with usage over an interface
- Up/Down Speed : Upload/Download of Data transfer rate per second (Kbps/Mbps)
- Up/Down Data : Upload/Download of total internet date used over a respect interface
- Micro View: Floating widget on desktop with Up/Down data transfer rate
- Macro View: Graph which shows Data transfer rate with respect to time
- Refresh Rate: Adjust as per your requirement (5 sec recommended)
- Data: Show only date usage in the menu bar when enabled
- Up/Down Speed: Show Upload or Download data transfer rate on menu bar when enabled
- Active Speed: Automatically toggle and display upload or download data transfer rate in menu, which ever is highest
- Dark/Light Mode: Enable, as per the preferences for floating widget and graph
The purpose of TransData – Network Data Transfer Rate is to get accurate download and upload speed with data usage on/by your personal computer network with details displays. It features an unique algorithm that cannot be tricked by PowerBoost or similar speed enhancement tools. So, the results you achieved will be 99.8% accurate as per your system data speed. The app works best on systems that have a 64-bit processor and the download size is 1.3 MB. The app provides accurate download and upload speed with retina icons and also Works with Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, iMac, MacBook, MacPro, Mac Mini.
- OS X 10.10 or later
- 64-bit processor
- 1.3 MB
TransData – Network Data Transfer Rate 1.0 is only $9.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category.
Product Announcement – AppYogi Software of Bangalore, India has released WiFi Signal Strength Status App 1.0, the company’s new utility developed exclusively for macOS. WiFi Signal Strength Status App features a unique, single threaded algorithm to accurately monitor the wireless signal strength of the personal computer network. This convenient Menu Bar application that allows easily identify all wifi related connectivity and poor performance issues. It also allows the user to see their public IP with Mac address on the Menu Bar.
It also which lets you know the strength of the signal and other stats like your IP address, Mac Address, Open or secured, Channel Details, BSSID, RSSI, Noise, Transmit Rate, PHY, Interface mode, Security type, etc.
- See the Strength, IP address and speed of the connected network via wireless signal
- Get the public and local IP address of your computer
- Connected wireless network name(optional)
- Retina Display enabled values
- Copy IP / Mac address from the menu
- Set refresh rate of signal strength value
- Transmit rate of connected Wifi network
- Retina Display enabled icons
- Easy to use interface
- Best in the market
WiFi Signal Strength Status App has stunning and easy to use user interface, accurate and precise data calculation. It works best on systems that have a 64-bit processor and the download size is 1.4 MB. The app provides accurate signal strength with retina icons, connected network name and also works with MacBook Air, iMac and MacBook Pro, MacBook, Mac Pro, Mac Mini.
- OS X 10.10 or later
- 64-bit processor
- 1.4 MB
Wifi Signal Strength Status App – Get fast and precise info about your system Wi-Fi connections on menu bar 1.0 is only $4.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category.
I noticed yesterday that my iPhone 5 was not connected to my home Wi-Fi network. I tried to simply select my home network and connect, but that didn’t work. That motivated me to look into iOS Wi-Fi issue more deeply.
From my investigation, iOS has been plagued with Wi-Fi connectivity issues for some time. From the many sources I reviewed, these are the recommended steps (more or less in this order):
- Make sure your Wi-Fi router is on and working – I verified this by using my iPad. Do not assume that your network is functioning verify it.
- Make sure that your phone is configured for the Wi-Fi network – on your iPhone
- go to Settings and make sure that Airplane Mode is off (switch is gray)
- go to Settings >> Wi-Fi. Make sure that Wi-Fi is enabled. (switch is green)
- go to Settings >> Wi-Fi. Make sure that your Wi-Fi network is the one selected
- Forget the current Wi-Fi Network and rejoin it – on your phone
- go to Settings >> WiFi
- tap on the network currently selected (right under the line with the Wi-Fi enable switch)
- then tap on the “Forget This Network” that appears at the top of the next screen
- Reboot your phone – Use the power button to shut down, then restart your phone. Repeat step #2 above
- Hard Reset your phone – A hard reset does more than rebooting. This clears saved items in memory and clears any caches and other things that are normally saved when you power off your phone.
- Reboot your Wi-Fi access point – power it off, then on after 15 seconds or so. Repeat step #2 above
- Disable Wi-Fi Networking Services – some sources claim this helps sometimes
- go to Settings >> Privacy >> Location Services
- disable “Wi-Fi Networking”
- Toggle Wi-Fi Assist – some sources say this may help (I recommend that you leave this feature turned off)
- go to Settings >> Cellular >> Wi-Fi Assist
- change the state of the slider, wait 15 seconds or so and change it back (i.e. ON-OFF-ON or OFF-ON-OFF as the case may be)
- Reset your phone’s Network settings – go to Settings >> General >> Reset >> Reset Network Settings (NOTE: This will remove all network settings and passwords)
- when prompted, enter your password
- confirm that you want to Reset Network Settings
- Try connecting to a different Wi-Fi network – Try to access a friend’s or a public Wi-Fi network. This will verify that it is nothing to do with your home Wi-fi network. Logically I would put this as #9, but it most likely requires that you go somewhere to get access to a different Wi-Fi access point, so I moved it lower on the list.
- Restore and Setup as new iPhone – restore your phone to the factory settings . This will erase everything from your device. Make sure that you back up to iTunes or iCoud first.
- Seek professionally assistance – Time to make an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar, or your carrier.
Sadly, I have tried 1-10 and I have not had any success . . . yet. Later this week I will try #10 – a restore to factory settings. After that, I think it is a trip to the Apple Store. Unfortunately, I am thinking that my iPhone is on it’s last legs and it is time to replace it.
- How to restore your iPhone or iPad with iTunes
See my other iOS articles