Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

The Fix: MacBook Pro Trackpad Scrolling Issue

If you’ve followed my last two posts, then you know my beloved MacBook Pro had to go in for repairs to the graphics card, which means they replaced my logic board (for free). Everything seemed to go well, but when I got it back, I noticed the trackpad wouldn’t scroll. I could grab the scroll bar and scroll the old-fashioned way, but when I moved my finger across the trackpad, the window wouldn’t scroll. It didn’t matter what program I was in either.

Since he asked whether there were any issues, I checked in with Sean, the AppleCare technician who had been helping me set up the repair. I asked if there was a simple fix or if I should take it back in to be looked at. I was a little concerned that they might not have hooked everything up right, though that seemed unlikely. Instead, Sean asked if he could call me, and we went through several steps to rule out a hardware issue and try to find the problem. All my trackpad settings were good. We tried replacing the com.apple.systempreferences.plist file (hold down the Option key and select Library from the Go menu to get here—in Library, go to the Preferences folder). I had already removed the trackpad plist files in case they were corrupt. But none of this solved the problem, so we logged me into my admin user account and checked scrolling there. No problems, so that ruled out a hardware issue — something was messed up with my main user account, but we couldn’t find where it was.

I will say, that I was impressed that Apple would spend this much time working with me when the repair had been done by a local authorized service location. Unfortunately Sean admitted defeat, saying he needed to research it and would call me back the next afternoon when he was back at work.

Naturally, I didn’t want to wait that long, so I kept researching and looking into it. I knew the tech guy who replaced my logic board had zapped the NV-Ram on my MacBook when he was testing it, so I figured some setting got set back to default, but I couldn’t find it. I thought maybe a keyboard shortcut could toggle the setting, so I searched for that and found  a really great site by Dan Rodney that lists them all (or most). This jogged my memory that there are settings in the Accessibility control panel in addition to the ones in the Trackpad control panel or General control panel, where we had already looked. Lo and behold, there was the problem setting. Under “Mouse and Trackpad” there was a button for “Trackpad Options” where “Scrolling” wasn’t selected. I clicked on that and the trackpad returned to normal!

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 9.53.27 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-16 at 9.53.47 PM

Insecure iTunes Credit

Though I hate to write this, I’ve lost a little faith in Apple, and with the world. Of course, a lot will depend on how they resolve this issue.

Yesterday, Apple sent me an email telling me that a new device had downloaded an app to an iPad from a location that appeared in Chinese (or possibly another Asian language). I checked my iTunes account, and indeed, 6 purchases had been made: one for a free app, and 5 in-app purchases, totaling 93¢ less than the amount of store credit that I had left from a gift card. I contacted Apple, and after a couple of email exchanges, they agreed to refund most of my money, minus the sales tax. I questioned them about this, and so far they haven’t issued the credit for any of the purchases. I trust they will, but perhaps they are checking up on the sales tax issue. It has been less than 24 hours since I discovered the problem. Apple was quick to respond, even working past the hours the tech support agent listed in his email.

I haven’t been phished. I am certain of that. I haven’t bought any apps other than ones from the App store that I believe are reputable. And I’m not losing my mind… well, at least this can’t be seen as evidence that I am. According to this Macworld article, this has been going on since 2010, and hundreds of people have reported similar issues.

What should you do?

Before you read further, go to Apple and change your password to a more secure one. It may not stop this from happening to you, but it might help (see that article link below for at least one instance of someone with a very secure password who had this happen).

Then, watch your iTunes account, and do check if Apple ever sends you a message about a new device you aren’t aware of. Don’t leave iTunes credit on your account. For safety’s sake, I may not keep a credit card on file in my account — at least not until I’m reassured that they can’t get at this information (mine was wiped out but hasn’t been used — I’m calling my bank, though).

I’ve had my bank card number stolen and unauthorized charges were made. The bank refunded those charges and issued me a new card. It’s sad, but that may be the cost of doing business in an electronic age. There’s no telling where they got the number (gas station, restaurant, online purchase, etc.). My bank was very good about security then, and as long as Apple stands behind its iTunes Store credit, I won’t complain. Now that I know it’s an issue, though, I wait until I know what I want to purchase before I load credit into my account, and then I’ll spend it as soon as possible.

So far, no one seems to know how hackers are getting into iTunes accounts. It seems to be only accounts that have store credit, though it’s unclear why. There have been a few reports of other abuses — credit card or PayPal information being used — and many have had their address changed or credit card information wiped out. But it all seems to start with store credit, so I’m planning to keep mine low until I hear that this problem has been solved.

Airport Extreme Frustrations

Wouldn’t you know it, I make a glowing post about Apple computers and that very day I experience extreme frustration with our new Airport Extreme N Base Station. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Airport Extreme is a great router for most people (and was packaged just as well as the Mini), but Apple should have acknowledged that it doesn’t work with all older Macs.

I still love the Mini, but am currently frustrated with Apple for poor support for their old computers. I don’t expect them to continue to support old hardware forever, but they should acknowledge what no longer works. Unfortunately, running the Airport with my Powerbook using Mac OS 10.4.11 causes the Powerbook to crash constantly. I called tech support, and they are aware of the issue, but no fix is in sight (I’d seen support posts back as far as last December about this problem, but no notice of it on the Airport’s product page, which indicates any Mac with Airport is compatible, though they list OS versions for several other features, such as 10.2.7 for shared printing and 10.4.8 for sharing a hard drive — we meet those requirements, but nothing is said about 10.4.11 on PowerPC computers crashing with the wireless N router). At the moment, it’s working without the N enabled, but that defeats the purpose of buying a router that will last when we upgrade our hardware. I can buy a Wireless G router for fraction of the cost of the Airport (which I bought refurbished).

I could upgrade my system to 10.5 to solve the problem, but that would cost me as much as or more than the router cost, and I’ve considered upgrading in the past and haven’t felt it was worth it, in part because iMovie 09 won’t run on my old PowerPC computer. I can’t upgrade to 10.6 (the current OS) because you need 10.5 to do so and you can’t install it on PowerPC computers either. Apple switched to Intel processors a few years ago, and they have basically abandoned their old computers.

To be fair, Macs last longer and work better than most PCs I’ve worked with. Apple has done as well as most computer companies to make sure their products are backwards compatible, but the Airport is a noteworthy exception. I’m not even that upset that the router doesn’t work with all old computers — that would be too much to expect, I suppose — but Apple should acknowledge this on their product page under the System Requirements as soon as the issue was confirmed (at least 8 months ago). If you can’t support old hardware, at least let consumers know what is and isn’t supported so we can make an informed decision. Now I am faced with the decision of whether to upgrade or to return the router and buy a cheaper alternative.

I will say that Apple’s Support team has been pretty good with this, though the first person I spoke with wasn’t familiar with the issue. She did get me to try a work around that didn’t work, and they did offer to sell me the upgrade, which you can’t find on the Apple Store by yourself. I will post an update on what my final decision is.

I am also impressed with the Mac community. I figured out what was causing my crashes (Apple calls them kernel panics — and they do cause panic, esp. when they’re so uncommon on a Mac) thanks to the blog Shaniac-iMac, which led me to Apple’s support discussions of the issues. I’ve always loved the free email Mac newsletter Tidbits and I’ve gotten lots of help on using and maintaining older Macs from Low End Mac and iFixIt, which helped me to upgrade two hard drives that were dying on my Powerbook and Kim’s iBook last year. I only wish that Apple would acknowledge that users expect their computers to last longer than a few years and continue to support older models longer. There’s no need to throw away an old computer that still works, but it’s frustrating when new hardware causes the old hardware to stop working.