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Fix: macOS Mail Disconnects from Gmail

I use macOS Mail in Catalina, and I noticed a frequent issue with my Gmail account disconnecting and not updating messages for that account. This would occur at least daily.

My research suggests that this repeated disconnection could be related to the fact that I did not have the Google Calendar synchronizing (I actually use iCloud Calendar for better Siri integration). After I configured my Mac to sync the Google Calendar, the connection issue with Gmail seems to have been resolved.

But what if you don’t want the Google Calendar entries cluttering your macOS Calendar? Thankfully, that’s a fairly easy fix, too.

Sync Your Google Calendar

  1. On your Mac, open System Preferences.
  2. Click Internet Accounts.
  3. Click Gmail.
  4. Verify that Calendars are set to synchronize. If needed, click to add that checkmark.

Hide Google Calendar Entries

  1. On your Mac, open macOS Calendar.
  2. In the upper left, find and click the Calendars button.
  3. In the list, uncheck all the boxes under the Gmail section.

Hope this works for you!

Use AppCleaner to Really Uninstall an App

Price: FREE
Developer Website

Removing apps from a Mac is very simple. You just move it to the Trash.

But what about all the supporting data and settings your computer uses with that app? Surprisingly, these little tidbits are usually left behind. And after a while, these little tidbits add up and can create performance or storage issues. And manually removing these small files requires rooting around in a set of very unintuitive folder structures that are actually hidden by default.

AppCleaner makes all this drudgery unnecessary.

Open AppCleaner. Open the Application folder in Finder. Then just drag and drop the app you want to remove onto the AppCleaner window.

AppCleaner will generate a report that includes the app and its supporting elements. Oftentimes, AppCleaner will not include the supporting elements that hold your custom personal settings. These elements would be beneficial if you were to install the app again later. If you don’t plan to install again, you can just check those remaining items to be included in the removal process.

Click Remove. Provide your Mac password if prompted. And you’re done, and it’s gone.

I’m getting rid of an outdated installation of Reeder

2018 Mac mini Disappoints [Updated]

2018 Mac mini next to a Shame meter

On October 30, 2018, Apple debuted an updated Mac mini. The Cupertino kids did an admirable job updating the product, and the new price ($799, previously $499) seemed within normal Apple tolerances.

But the devil is in the specs.

If this is a desktop computer, the entry level specs aren’t impressive. And once you bump the options into mid-level desktop territory, you’re in for sticker shock.

In my opinion, a desktop computer serves as a desktop with these minimum specifications: A Core i5, 8 GB RAM, and 1 TB storage.

Let’s compare’s Apple entry level device with something more serviceable:

Mac mini
(entry level)
Mac mini
(desktop minimum)
Core i3 (4 core)Core i5 (6 core)
8 GB RAM8 GB RAM
128 GB SSD1 TB SSD
$799$1,699

Bumping the specs in just 2 areas adds $900 to the cost. Does upgrading a processor and solid-state storage really cost more than two entry level Mac mini devices?

I had hoped that the cost with the upgrades I sought would have been $1,199. If it had, I’d have placed my order.

Apple gives lip service to creating devices that provide the experience its customers desire. That gets interpreted as lip service when you look at the paltry entry level specs.

C’mon, Apple. You shouldn’t seek to fleece your customers to provide the expected “experience” you propose.

UPDATE … At the end of last summer (2019), I pulled the trigger on a Mac mini. I bought an Apple refurbished model with an i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of storage. The savings was close to $400 from new retail. Not bad.

Still, I feel Apple continues to offer utterly lacking storage options in its base Mac models. Living with 128 GB or even 256 GB of storage is not an acceptable “experience.” Solid state storage costs have dropped dramatically, and Apple should offer better base options to its customers.

Keyboard and Mouse Utilities For macOS That Windows Users Will Love

Finger at Keyboard

A year ago, I decided to move from Windows to Mac. As an iPhone user, this made sense. My mobile and desktop computing resources integrated very well and solved a lot of workarounds and incompatibilities that plagued me as a Windows user. And to be brutally honest, I got tired of fixing my Windows machine. Macs are not perfect (by a LONG shot), but they’re predictable which makes them more dependable.

Problem

Being a long-time Windows user, I brought a lot of muscle memory problems and habits with me as I started the Mac. Since I must use Windows for work, I have a KVM to share keyboard, mouse, and monitors. So I use a Windows keyboard and PC mouse with my Mac.

Here were my biggest problems:

  1. I like using the Forward and Back buttons on my mouse, especially for navigating websites. (On Macs, these mouse buttons are dead.)
  2. I prefer natural scrolling on the MacBook trackpad and directional scrolling on the mouse wheel. (On Macs, you are prevented from configuring these differently. It’s bewildering.)
  3. I like to press the Home and End keys to go to the beginning and end of a text line, respectively. (On Macs, these actions take the cursor to the top or bottom of the message body.)
  4. Closely related to the above, I like to press Shift+Home and Shift+End to select (aka, highlight) text to the beginning and end of a text string respectively. (On Macs, these actions take the text selection to the top or bottom of the message body.)

As any Windows user will tell you, Macs don’t work that way.

Solutions

I tried to get used to it. I really did. But in the end muscle memory won, and Mac lost. But not without some help.

Scroll Reverser

Scroll Reverser Preferences Panel

This utility is simple, and it’s free.

Scroll Reverser breaks the connection between the mouse scroll setting and the trackpad scroll setting. It allows me to have directional scrolling when I use mouse, and natural scrolling when I use the trackpad. Perfect!

Learn more about Scroll Reverser.

BetterTouchTool

BetterTouchTool Configuration Panel

This utility is a fairly simple power user’s tool, and it costs $4.99 (or more if you wish) with a 45-day trial period.

BetterTouchTool (BTT) allows you to override default actions on your keyboard, mouse (including Magic Mouse), trackpad, MacBook Pro TouchBar, and even the Siri Remote. I leverage the keyboard and mouse functionality. My mouse navigation buttons work in any application with a navigation history (web browsers, Finder, etc.). My keyboard brings familiar behavior to the Home and End keys. What a relief!

Quick Tip: Like any power user tool, the interface could be confusing to some. When adding a new shortcut or key sequence, click into the text fields and then press the keys. BTT will record the key or key combination. As you click into the text fields, you are also offered commands in a pop-up list. At first, I thought those listed commands were the only ones available.

Learn more about BetterTouchTool.

Add Outlook.com Email to macOS

Outlook and Settings Icons

The process to configure a connection to Outlook.com in macOS is not intuitive for whatever reason only Microsoft and Apple know. I found several outdated and unhelpful articles that had me going nowhere.

So here’s the magic solution: Use App-Specific Password. Create that first, then configure macOS.

To generate an app-specific password:

  1. Go to account.microsoft.com and log in
  2. On the Account bar (or tap Account on you mobile device), and click or tap Security & privacy.
  3. Find the link titled More security settings and click/tap it.
  4. Under App Passwords, find and click/tap Create new app password.
  5. An app password will be generated. Use this to log into Outlook.com email service from within macOS Mail.

How do you do that? This is how:

  1. In macOS Mail, click Mail in the task bar.
  2. Click Add Account…
  3. Click Other Mail Account and click Continue.
  4. Enter the Outlook.com email address and then enter the app-specific password you generated in the previous steps. Click Sign In.

After a few moments, you should be good to go.

PS: Why is it a breeze to set up an Outlook account in iOS but such a mystery in macOS?