Yearly Archives: 2017

Products we love: Apple AirPods

AirPods are the best new product from Apple in the past few years. They are the epitome of what Apple does best: seamless integration of hardware and software to create a great customer experience. They are effortless. The W1 chip allows near-instant pairing and usage on multiple devices. Their lightweight balance makes them practically forgotten once placed in your ears. AirPods just fit and just stay – even during periods of physical activity (yes, they pass the running test). They also get recharged every time you store them in the included case, making charging almost too easy.

AirPods are ranked as one of, if not, the best in Bluetooth headphones on the market. They maintain their connection far, far better than any competitor. The brilliant charging case only needs to be charged (with an included Lightning cable) about once a week for most users. Unlike your iPhone or iPad, AirPods are almost always charged when you want them to be.

Where they really excel is in voice quality in a wireless headphones. Whether you’re taking a call or in a Google Hangout, the audio quality is excellent: no drops, no low audio, and minimal background noise. For people who video or audio conference frequently, AirPods are a must-have item.

They are so in demand, they have been almost constantly out of stock at most Apple Stores since they came out in April 2017. It’s less than a week until Christmas and we have them in stock (as of the writing)! They make a great holiday gift for anyone who has an iPhone.

Posted in Uncategorized

Dos and Don’ts of Liquid Spills

It’s happened to the best of us. In just seconds, your Mac went from being your workhorse to being in dire need of some TLC, all because liquid and electronics are not friends. Hopefully, you’re not reading this from your iPhone because your Mac just had a liquid spill but if that’s the case: Don’t panic. Know that there are some precautions to take and some you should definitely not take.

Do:

    • Turn off your computer immediately. Hold down the power button to force-shutdown.
    • If connected to the charger, unplug it.
    • Wipe off any visible liquid.
    • Do nothing that will move the liquid around. It is liquid touching electronics that causes damage. If you slosh the liquid around it touches more components risking more damage.
    • Stick it in a bag of rice: Without moving around the liquid, place it in a bag of rice. Rice is a natural desiccant. This will help it dry faster but not necessarily reverse any damage that has already been done. Keep it in there for a minimum of 24 hours, though we recommend 48-72 hours.
    • Take it to Mike’s Tech Shop or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

 

Don’t:

  • Try to turn it back on. As tempting as this can be, even just to see how bad the symptoms are, don’t try to turn it on.
  • Take a hair or blow-dryer to it—regardless of the temperature, this can cause more damage by spreading the liquid internally. MacBook keys are surprisingly easy to melt with a hot blow-dryer, not to mention the heat can cause worsen internal damage. Remember: heat + electronics = bad.
  • Disassemble the computer to clean it out or have an unauthorized repair done. Unless you are a certified technician and are observing ESD precautions, resist the temptation. Again, this can cause more damage. Certified Mac technicians can easily take notice if screws are in the wrong spot or if liquid spill indicator stickers are missing, replaced, or altered, which can affect the cost or outcome of a repair.

 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • If your computer is submerged in liquid, whether it fell into a pool, a bath, or was uncovered outside overnight in the rain (we’ve seen them all), there is not much you can do to get the computer to work again. Getting your data, on the other hand, might still be a possibility.
  • Even a small amount of liquid can cause major issues. In the years that we’ve been fixing Macs, we can say with certainty that there’s not always rhyme or reason as to what damage liquid can cause. We’ve seen it all: there have been times a Mac that drank a whole glass of water fared better than one with mere drops of liquid damage.
  • Liquid damage can cause unpredictable issues, even long after the spill occurred. Symptoms can get worse and rarely get better (though usually not for long). Symptoms can also be wildly intermittent, unfortunately.
  • Your data may not be gone! Read on.

 

Okay, what next?

  • Take it to Mike’s Tech Shop or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
    • Apple does not handle any data-related troubleshooting and does not do data recovery. For that, they will send you to an Authorized Service Provider, like Mike’s Tech Shop. If you need your data out of your damaged Mac, we can likely get it, whether fixing your Mac or not.
    • Another advantage of taking your Mac to an Apple Authorized Service Provider is that they may have more repair options for you than an Apple retail store, which can be less costly. For example: if your Mac suffered liquid damage and only your keyboard isn’t working, Apple retail does not quote a cheaper repair, whereas an AASP may.
  • While liquid damage isn’t always preventable, being prepared can help both your sanity and your wallet.
    • A keyboard cover or a laptop sleeve can prevent damage by providing an extra barrier.
    • And of course, always remember to back up your data regularly. Fixing a computer with liquid damage (or sometimes, having to unexpectedly buy a new one) is already stressful, don’t let data loss worsen the blow. Data recovery can sometimes run hundreds or even thousands of dollars and is sometimes not possible.
    • Invest in AppleCare+ on your next Mac. AppleCare+ covers liquid damage for a service fee that’s significantly less than fixing it out-of-pocket.
    • The obvious: Keep liquids an arm’s length away

 

Getting your repair paid for

  • If you have AppleCare+: liquid damage is covered for a service fee that is significantly less than what the repair would cost without it. If you have AppleCare (the previous version of AppleCare+ that was sold before April 2017), liquid damage is not covered under warranty.
  • If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the damage may be covered under your policy. Check your policy!
  • If you bought your Mac using a credit card that covers damage or incidents, look into that! We have helped many customers who were able to get reimbursed by their credit card company for their repair.

 

Posted in Best Practices

Mike’s Tech Shop E-Waste Recycling Event

This Saturday, September 23rd, 10am-4pm

We’re once again teaming up with the Lower East Side Ecology Center to host an e-waste recycling event this Saturday 10am-4pm. Bring your old Macs, iPads, iPhones, anything Apple: computers phones, or tablets and we will make sure it gets recycled responsibly.

Posted in Uncategorized

MTS Best Practices: Backing up your iPhone

James Sorrenti

Apple’s products have always made it easy to keep your devices up to date and your data safe. There are a few methods of backing up your iPhone that we’ll go over, with a special look at iCloud.

When to Backup

Preparing for a backup when you need it most

It’s that time of year, when Apple parades its expanding line of shiny new iPhones across the stage (this time at the beautiful new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park). So if you’re looking to jump to your next iPhone or need to service your current iPhone, now is the time to backup!

How to Back Up

There are two ways to backup your iPhone: to iCloud or to iTunes on your computer

iCloud is the easiest way to consistently back up your iPhone if you have enough storage available. As an added bonus, this data is automatically encrypted. To find out when the most recent iPhone backup to iCloud was made, you can check your iPhone. Here’s how:

  1. Tap “Settings” on your iPhone.
  2. Tap your iCloud name at the top.
  3. Tap “iCloud”.
  4. Tap “iCloud Backup” (Your backup should say “On”).
  5. On the bottom of this screen, you will see “Last Backup:” and a date and time.

If this date and time is not very recent, you can force a backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to its charger and connect to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. On the same screen, right below “Last Backup:”, tap “Backup Now”.
  3. When the backup is complete, the “Last Backup:” should have today’s date and the time the backup completed.

You can also backup your iPhone to iTunes on your computer, but to get the full benefit (and all your activity data) you must tell iTunes to encrypt your iPhone Backups:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via your Lightning cable.
  2. In iTunes, select your iPhone from the upper-left corner of the window.
  3. On the left, under Settings, select “Summary”.
  4. Select “Encrypt [device] backup” in Backups.
  5. Create (and do not forget!) a password when asked.
  6. It will start backing up. Future backups will be encrypted as well.

Now all your iPhone data is safely backed up, either on iCloud or in iTunes on your computer. If you’re already enrolled in iCloud Photo Library, then the backup may not include your photos, since they are already up in the cloud.

 

How to Restore From Your Backup

So you’ve backed up your iPhone, and now after some event, like opening your fancy new iPhone, you need to restore from your backup. That part is simple and built into the same setup process; just be sure to connect it to your Mac if you used the iTunes method for backup. There are a few things that do not come along with the backup that you will have to set up again:

  1. Device Passcode
  2. Touch ID fingerprints or Face ID faces
  3. Paired Bluetooth devices (e.g., headphones)
  4. Your debit/credit card used with Apple Pay

These things are left out for your security and because some are tied to the hardware of the device, not the software.

So now you can enjoy your new iPhone with the comfort of all your data on it. Some data that is already stored with Apple that would generally be on your device may be syncing back down from the cloud (even if you backed up via iTunes), you will notice a spinning icon as it syncs, and things like your app icons showing back up on your device. Enjoy!

More info:

Differentiating iTunes and iCloud backups:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204518

Encrypted iTunes backups:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205220

Import photos and videos:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201302

What does iCloud backup:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207428

Posted in MTS Best Practices

MTS Best Practices: Backing up your Watch

James Sorrenti

We love Apple devices because they “just work,” but for the times they don’t, having a dependable backup is important; Apple Watch is no different.

When to Backup

Preparing for a backup before you hope you had one.

The most common situations one should force a backup of their Apple Watch is when doing a software update, getting a new Apple Watch or new iPhone, or sending in your Apple Watch or iPhone for service.

How to Back Up

If you regularly backup your iPhone, you are also regularly backing up your Apple Watch. There are two ways to backup your iPhone: iCloud or to iTunes on your computer.

 

iCloud is a wonderful way to backup your iPhone wherever you may be, as long as your account is in good standing, and you have more than enough required storage. You can find out when the most recent iCloud backup was performed from your iPhone:

  1. Tap “Settings” on your iPhone.
  2. Tap your iCloud name at the top.
  3. Tap “iCloud”.
  4. Tap “iCloud Backup”. (Your backup should say “On”.)
  5. On the bottom of this screen, you will see “Last Backup:” and a date and time.

 

If this date and time is not very recent, you can force a backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to its charger and connect to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. Tap “Backup Now”.
  3. When the backup is complete, the “Last Backup:” should have today’s date and the time the backup completed.

 

You can backup your iPhone and Apple Watch onto iTunes on your computer, but to get the full benefit (and all your activity data) you must tell iTunes to encrypt your iPhone Backups:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via your Lightning cable.
  2. In iTunes, select your iPhone from the upper-left corner of the window.
  3. On the left, under Settings, select “Summary”.
  4. Select “Encrypt [device] backup” in Backups.
  5. Create (and do not forget) a password when asked.
  6. It will start backing up. Future backups will be encrypted as well.

 

If you will be parting with your Apple Watch (getting a new Apple Watch or sending yours away to service) you will want to force a backup and remove your personal data from the watch. Conveniently, these both happen when unpairing your Apple Watch.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Select your Watch from the main screen.
  3. Tap the “i” next to your Watch.
  4. Tap “Unpair Apple Watch”.
  5. Follow onscreen instructions, may include authenticating with your Apple ID password.

 

What Remains

So you’ve backed up your Watch, and now after some event, you need to restore your Watch. That part is simple and built into the same pairing process you did when it was first set up. There are a few things that do not come along with the backup that you will have to set up again:

  1. Device Passcode
  2. Paired Bluetooth devices (e.g., headphones)
  3. Your debit/credit card used with Apple Pay

These things are left out for your security and because some are tied to the hardware of the device, not the software.

 

That’s it! You planned ahead and had your Apple Watch and iPhone backed up in an encrypted format that saved most of your data, and you were able to confidently use that backup to restore to your Apple Watch. Enjoy your watch with your data!

More info:

Apple’s support article on backing up Apple Watch:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204518

Encrypted iTunes backups:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205220

Differentiating iTunes and iCloud backups:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204518

Unpairing Apple Watch:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204568

Setting up Apple Watch:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204505

Posted in MTS Best Practices

Select Open Box Macs and iPads 20% off!

We are selling all Open Box 15-inch MacBook Pro, 27-inch iMacs  and 9.7-inch iPad Pros for 20% off their regular price.

Open box products were purchased and then returned. They have all been tested and restored to factory settings (when necessary).

Quantities are limited to items in stock.

See our specials page: Mike’s Specials

Posted in Uncategorized

Protecting Your Mac: Best Practices

The news has been abuzz lately with stories of “ransomware” infecting thousands of Windows PCs throughout the world. While the Mac operating system is generally more secure and less prone to these type of attacks, it is still nonetheless important to follow a few simple rules to make sure to keep your Mac running smoothly and to keep your data safe and secure.


Backup your data
This is the most basic and simple recommendation, but it’s astonishing how many people don’t follow it. Exactly how to back up your data would be a whole separate article in itself, but the simplest would be using an external hard drive to create a Time Machine backup. Those that are a little more Mac savvy can use a program like Carbon Copy Cloner by Bombich Software (bombich.com) to have more control over exactly what data gets backed up and how frequently. Having an off site backup service such as BackBlaze is also a valuable backup method. In a worst case scenario, computers can typically be wiped back to their original factory settings and having a current backup can save you thousands of dollars and/or hours of valuable time.

Keep your Mac OS up to data
Another simple practice is to ensure that you are running all of the security updates for your Mac operating system. Malware and viruses typically take advantage of flaws in the OS. When these flaws are discovered, Apple is extremely efficient at closing these security loopholes quickly, but that will only protect you if those security updates are installed. In fact, your Mac will ask you if you want to install these updates automatically and you should definitely say yes. Any Windows PC whose OS was up to date was not affected by the recent ransomware attack.

Don’t trust any Internet pop-ups
We’ve all gotten these. You’re navigating your way through the Internet when a window pops up warning you that something on your computer is out of date. Most commonly the target is Adobe Flash, as Adobe does tend to update their web based media player quite frequently. However, because of this, this is a common way nefarious programmers will try to trick you into installing malicious software on to your computer. You should ignore this warning and close the window. To check if Flash needs to be updated, you can navigate directly to Adobe’s web site (http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/about/) to confirm if there is a new version of Adobe Flash available.

Beware of malware mascarading as virus protection
Another popular pop up warning you’ll often receive is a message that your computer is vulnerable to attack. This warning will be followed with a link to some kind of “protect your Mac” software. One of the more popular ones is called MacKeeper. These messages can often seem very legitimate, but don’t trust them. In my 15+ years of experience using and servicing Macs, I have yet to come across any of these protection software that have any real value. While most aren’t malicious and won’t much harm to your computer, they won’t offer any benefit either. At best they’ll just try to convince you to pay for upgrades to unlock even more useless features you don’t need and at worst it will be a virus in disguise.

The exception to the above rule
There is one piece of software that’s good to have in your Applications folder and launched on a regular basis. The software is called MalwareBytes (www.malwarebytes.com). Unlike MacKeeper-type applications, MalwareBytes does not constantly run in the background. It will only run when you launch it. This software is updated frequently, so if it tells you there’s an update when you launch it be sure to install the update to make sure MalwareBytes finds the most current threats. When it runs, it will scan your computer for any currently known malware and remove it.

Posted in Uncategorized

Products We Love: Glyph Atom



We got a hold of one of the first Glyph Atom SSD drives when it came out. The first thing I noticed was that all my techs loved it. Drives are one of their tools so techs are very particular. If they liked the drive, I knew our customers would. The Atom is a single solid-state drive (SSD) with very fast throughput. It does 420 MB/s writing and 270 MB/s reading, making it one of the fastest single drives available. It is housed in a handsome metal case with a rubber bumper for extra protection. CNET drop tested it at 6 feet and it still worked fine. The best part: the price. At $159 for 275GB, it has the best price for any SSD we’d seen. We use them, we love them; we think you will too.

Posted in Products We Love

Hard Drives in Distress

I had a customer come in recently with a hard drive that was not working. It had all of his wedding videos on it. Before he came to us, he went to the IT guy in his office and the IT guy had tried to fix the drive. When that failed, he came to us. My heart sank. I knew that although his IT guy was trying to help, he may have permanently destroyed the irreplaceable wedding videos.

The most important thing to know about hard drives in distress is: Do not leave them running, do not try to run software to repair them. Hard drives that are experiencing problems will often make themselves worse and even destroy themselves if left running; about 15% of the time you will permanently destroy the drive so that even labs like DriveSavers cannot recover the data.


Here’s why. Spinning hard disk drives perform a variety of routine maintenance functions whenever they have time. They re-write bad sectors to new good sectors, they write logs, they scan themselves for problems. These are all good things when a drive is functioning normally. These are all dangerous things when a drive is in distress. When a drive begins to fail it can start to lose track of where things are on itself. It can begin to make mistakes. When a drive is in distress and it goes to perform its routine maintenance, it can cause even more damage. It may re-write bad sectors onto good sectors thereby destroying the data that was there and possibly breaking links to other data. The logs can be mistakenly written over good data thereby destroying it.

When you run software tools like DiskWarrior, you can cause the same problems. First of all the drive is running and can do the damage outlined above. Beyond that, when you go to fix the drive, if it is badly damaged enough it might write the fix, like a new directory on top of good data, thereby destroying it.

As it turned out, we were able to save the wedding videos. The drive had not been permanently bricked when the IT guy tried to help. This customer was lucky.

When your data is vital the only safe thing to do is to take your drive to a recovery specialist who will disable the drive’s automatic functions, make an exact bit-by-bit replica of every recoverable sector and then repair and extract the data.

Posted in Data Recovery

Gifts for Dads and Grads

Open Box Specials

Great gift ideas for Dad, 10% off.

  • iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi 16GB Space Gray – Originally $399 Now $199
  • iPad Mini 4 Wi-Fi 32GB Gold – Originally $399 Now $229
  • iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi 32GB Space Gray – Originally $499, Now $279
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch 32GB Space Gray – Originally $599 Now $539
  • Apple Watch S1 38mm Rose Gold Alum. Sports Band – Originally $269 Now $242
  • iPod Touch 64GB Blue – Originally $299 Now $269

Quantities limited to items on hand. No substitutions or rain checks. (Sorry.)

Posted in Uncategorized