How to Deal with macOS Server Losing Many of Its Services

For many years, Apple has sold macOS Server (previously called OS X Server) for those who wanted to run various Unix-based Internet services on a Mac. Server became popular because it put an easy-to-use graphical interface on top of the Unix apps, allowing Mac users to avoid complicated configuration files and reducing the need to work at the command line.

At its peak, Server boasted 24 different Internet services, but since then Apple has pared down what it can do, such that recent versions of macOS Server offer only 13 services. Now, however, Apple has announced that, in a Fall 2018 update, it will be eliminating all but 3 services: Open Directory, Profile Manager, and Xsan storage management.

To prepare for that, Apple has done two things. First, the most popular features of Server—Caching Server, File Sharing Server, and Time Machine Server—are now part of macOS 10.13 High Sierra. Caching Server reduces Internet usage by sharing software distributed by Apple (updates and apps) and iCloud data from one Mac to other Apple devices on a local network. File Sharing Server lets you create a shared folder that multiple Macs can access. And Time Machine Server lets you specify a shared folder as a destination for Time Machine backups from other Macs on the network.

Second, new installations of the current macOS Server 5.6 and 5.6.1 hide quite a few services, including Calendar, Contacts, DHCP, DNS, Mail, Messages, NetInstall, VPN, Websites, and Wiki. If they were configured in a previous version of Server that’s being upgraded, they’ll still be available. For each of the services to be removed, Apple suggests open-source alternatives, but most don’t have Mac-specific interfaces that simplify management.

What to do? If you’re running Server now, nothing needs to change right away, or perhaps even for some time. Nothing Apple does to a future version of Server will affect your existing installation. The only problem is that you won’t get updates that could be important for security, stability, or interoperability. Contact us to see what solutions we recommend for the services you rely on.

That said, if you’re running Caching Server, File Sharing Server, or Time Machine Server now, it might be worth transitioning those to a Mac running High Sierra, though it’s safest to check with us first in case you have a usage scenario that may not transfer cleanly. The first two are easy to turn on and configure in System Preferences > Sharing; just click the checkbox next to their names in the Service list and adjust the settings in the pane to the right.

Time Machine Server is a bit more complicated. To enable it, turn on File Sharing, share a folder (likely on an external drive), and then Control- or right-click the folder from within the Sharing preference pane, choose Advanced Options, and select “Share as a Time Machine backup destination.”

If you’re not currently running Server and are looking to add calendar sharing, a mail server, or an internal wiki, we can’t recommend getting started with Server. It’s not a relationship that will end well, and we can recommend more capable alternatives. Even if you’re just looking for a way of distributing settings to Macs and iOS devices in your organization, Server’s Profile Manager often isn’t the best choice. So again, get in touch and let us know what you’re trying to achieve and we can both make recommendations and help with setup and maintenance.

Here’s the Fastest Way to Set Up a New iPhone

When you’re unboxing a new iPhone, it’s time to think about how you’ll move your digital life from your old iPhone to the new one. If your old iPhone is running iOS 11, you can use Quick Start, a new iOS 11 feature that makes the transfer easy. Just turn on the new iPhone, set it next to the old one, and tap Continue when asked whether you want to use your Apple ID to set up your new iPhone. An animation appears on the new iPhone for you to scan with the old iPhone—once you’ve done that, follow the rest of the instructions to enable Touch ID or Face ID and then restore your data and settings from your most recent iCloud backup (you can update the backup first if necessary). Leave the two iPhones next to each other while data is being transferred, and if possible, keep the new one plugged in and on Wi-Fi after setup so it can download your apps, photos, and music from Apple’s cloud-based services.

Did You Know that Apple Pay Updates Your Credit Card Details Automatically?

File this as reason number 17 why Apple Pay is better than plastic. Let’s say your credit card expires and your bank sends you a new card with a revised expiration date. Or perhaps your bank replaces your card with one that has a new number. Either way, most credit card issuers automatically update the credit card expiration date and number in Apple Pay so you don’t have to make those changes yourself. (If your bank doesn’t do this, you’ll have to remove the old card and add the new one.) However, if you move or change your billing address, you’ll need to update that info yourself: in iOS, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay; in macOS on a MacBook Pro with Touch ID, go to System Preferences > Wallet & Apple Pay.

Follow This Quick Tip to Put Calendar Events in the Right Place

Apple’s Calendar apps in both macOS and iOS let you manage multiple calendars, some of which may be private and others may be shared with family or colleagues. That’s great, but if you create a new event on the wrong calendar, you may end up oversharing with colleagues (who don’t need to know about your colonoscopy) or undersharing with your spouse (who does need to know about the soccer carpool). To reduce the chances of this happening, set the most appropriate calendar as your default. In macOS, you do this in the Calendar app, in Calendar > Preferences > General > Default Calendar. In iOS, set it in Settings > Calendar > Default Calendar.

What You Need to Know about Face ID on the iPhone X

Apple’s new iPhone X does away with the Home button, which has been a fixture since the original iPhone and has long served as the Touch ID sensor. To replace Touch ID, Apple developed a new facial recognition technology called Face ID. With Face ID, the iPhone X scans your face to authenticate you instead of using your fingerprint. It is truly amazing technology, but we’ve been getting questions that we’d like to answer here. If you have others, get in touch!

How does Face ID work?

Magic. Well, close. As science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Face ID is cutting-edge technology that uses Apple’s TrueDepth camera system to project over 30,000 invisible dots onto your face. Then it illuminates your face with infrared light and takes an infrared image. Finally, it translates that image into facial recognition data that’s encrypted and stored within the iPhone’s Secure Enclave (the data never leaves your iPhone).

Face ID updates its mathematical representation of your face over time to keep up with how your appearance changes.

How secure is Face ID?

Extremely. Apple claims that Touch ID’s false positive rate—the number of people who would have to try logging in to your iPhone before someone would succeed randomly—is 1 in 50,000. In contrast, Apple says that Face ID’s false positive rate is 1 in 1,000,000. It can’t be fooled by a picture or a simple mask, although a high-enough quality 3D reproduction of your face might get past it, just as a sufficiently good cast of your fingerprint could fool Touch ID.

However, Face ID has trouble distinguishing between identical twins and siblings who have nearly identical features. So if you have an evil twin, stick to a Touch ID-based iPhone or your passcode! The probability of an incorrect match is also higher with children under 13, since their facial features haven’t become sufficiently distinct yet.

By default, Face ID works only when you look at the iPhone X—it can’t be unlocked by your face when you’re sleeping.

How fast is Face ID?

Not quite as fast as Touch ID in current iPhones, but fast enough that you likely won’t notice. When you pick up your iPhone X so you can look at it, Face ID will, in most cases, have already recognized you.

This quick recognition is possible in part because the iPhone X can start scanning early, thanks to iOS’s Raise to Wake feature and a new Tap to Wake feature that automatically wakes the iPhone X when you touch the screen.

What if Face ID doesn’t work?

First off, things like wearing a hat, scarf, or glasses won’t confuse Face ID, nor will growing or shaving a beard. Thanks to that infrared camera, it even works in complete darkness. However, Face ID does fail occasionally. One reason for a Face ID failure is holding the iPhone X too close to your face—this is easy to do accidently if you’re nearsighted and not wearing your glasses. (Some sunglasses prevent Face ID from seeing your eyes, but you can work around that problem by disabling Require Attention for Face ID in Settings > Face ID & Passcode.)

To make Face ID retry a facial scan, hold the iPhone X at a normal viewing distance, tilt it away from you, and then tilt it back to your normal viewing position. If that doesn’t work, or if you want to let someone else use your iPhone, enter the passcode. Entering the passcode is always an option.

Alas, unlike Touch ID, which let you enroll up to five fingers (so family members could unlock your iPhone without using the passcode), Face ID lets you have only a single face.

Can I use Face ID for anything besides unlocking?

Yes, Face ID completely replaces Touch ID, so you can use it to authenticate when you’re using Apple Pay, or the App Store or iTunes Store. Plus, apps that previously relied on Touch ID, such as the 1Password or LastPass password managers, will automatically use Face ID instead.

We hope Apple can make the hardware necessary for Face ID cheaply enough to bring it to other devices as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could walk up to your Mac and have it automatically unlock because it had recognized your face?