Should I write Tim Cook about my Apple problem?

Episode 1246

Chris from Miami, FL
Apple MacBook Pro

Chris had an issue with Apple and wrote a letter to Tim Cook about it and they hooked him up with a senior tech support person. They created a new partition, but they think he may have to reinstall the OS, and maybe even replace the processor. Leo says that most companies have an office of the president or executive team that will directly address issues when letters are written to the CEO/President. These are high level support people who are tasked with simply fixing issues. It's often better support and sometimes they issue a replacement.

Can I replace the hard drive in my Mac Mini?

Episode 1245

Denise from Santa Clarita, CA
Apple Mac Mini

Denise has a Mac Mini with a 2TB hard drive and she's running out of space. Leo says that's a huge hard drive and it would be very hard to fill it up like that with regular use. First, she should empty the trash. Denise also had a power outage and Leo says that could have clobbered her hard drive and ruined it. At this point, it's probably best to replace the hard drive, which would be a challenge to do with the Mac Mini. Leo recommends taking it to the Apple Store.

How can I unlock my MacBook Air?

Episode 1245

Elizabeth from Costa Mesa, CA
Apple MacBook Air

Elizabeth bought a used MacBook Air, and when she got it, she wiped it. Now it doesn't work right. Leo suggests signing into iTunes and redownloading the OS update and installing it. But she can't turn off the firmware password utility. Leo says that if she can prove ownership, Apple will unlock the laptop for her.

It sounds like Elizabeth has fallen into the trap of Apple's Activation lock. Here's a few tips on how to wipe out that firmware password from

What's a good backup utility for the Mac?

Tom from Albuquerque, NM

Episode 1244

Tom recently upgraded to Windows 10 and he's really happy with it. Now he's turning his attention to his Mac. It started notifying him that he's losing disc space, but when he went to check the storage space on his computer, it has a huge folder labeled "Backup." Leo says it sounds like OS X is backing up his data to his local hard drive. Tom should just go into the System Preference pane and disable Time Machine. Leo recommends SuperDuper instead.

Why does my iPad give me a warning message that my charging cable isn't supported?

Carl from Corona, CA

Episode 1242

Carl got a cheap $2 charging cable for his iPad online, and now he's getting a message on his iPad that it isn't supported. Leo says that Apple has a proprietary cable for syncing data and charging devices. Leo suspects he'd probably be able to charge his iPad with that cable just fine, but he won't be able to sync the data. When buying a cable, he should look for "MFi Certified." Those cables are made to work with Apple devices. Apple licenses that cable technology, so he won't ever find an MFi Certified cable for cheap.

Why can't I use iChat anymore?

Chris from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1241

Chris has been chatting online with his parents for years via iChat. Now it doesn't work. Leo says that Apple killed iChat back in OS 10.7. He'll have to use Messages now, which can be a bit confusing. He may have to upgrade to get it to work. Can he go straight OS X El Capitan? Leo says Chris will need to add the app store first. But if it won't download, it may be that his computer isn't compatible. He should still upgrade as far as he can, though.

Is my iMac worth repairing?

Episode 1241

John from Savannah, GA
Apple iMac

John bought an iMac in 2011 and lately it's starting to flicker, with half of the screen darker. He called Apple and they suggested clearing the PRAM. Leo says that's one of the magical 'voodoo' techniques in case something got corrupted like a driver or something. Then they had him do a factory reset. But it still is happening. John also heard that the video card may be going out. But more likely, Leo says that the backlit LED screen simply stopped working, and that can happen over time with an LCD. One way to test if it's the video card is to connect an external monitor to it.

Why am I getting warning messages about Apple Keychain on my MacBook Pro?

Episode 1240

Bruce from Southern California
Apple Keychain

Bruce also has issues with the login keychain of his MacBook. Leo says that Keychain is great for secure storage, but people often forget their keychain password when they lock it. If he can't remember the password, he can always create a new keychain. Use the same password that he uses to log in. That should unlock it.