User Guides, PDFs & Useful Stuff
Apple User Guides
Links to Apple's Official Support Guides
- The PDFs and website resources provided below are free to read and use, with the caveat that they were current when we posted them, but everything keeps changing!
- Postings are listed chronologically with the latest at the top.
- We revise or remove out-of-date documents as operating systems change.
Software Update Checklist for iPhone & iPad
- Apple upgrades iOS and iPadOS systems annually, but also releases incremental updates throughout the year. Any update includes some risk of things going wrong during the process. This checklist will reduce that risk, as well as simplifying recovery if you must reset your device. Recommended steps to take prior to every System Software update/upgrade.
- Current September 2023 – webpage
Using Apple's Message App with all your Apple Devices
- Settings for Apple's Messages App to send messages to other Apple users while maintaining compatibility with non-Apple devices. Make sure your messages arrive as readable text messages rather than being converted to junk email from a cell carrier. Also the Settings for syncing messages among multiple Apple devices on the same Apple ID.
- September 2023 updated — webpage
Privacy Settings for iPhones
- Apple says that Privacy is built right into the iPhone. Unfortunately, it's not all turned on by default. We review basic Privacy and Location Tracking Settings for iPhones, with explanations of Location Services and Privacy settings for installed Apps. Updated for iOS 16.6.
- August 2023 – webpage
Shortcuts App for iPhone Automation
- Create a home screen icon to clear your Safari history and data
- Automate turning Off your Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth when you leave home
- Add Apple device frames to screenshots
- August 2023 — webpage
Apple ID Theft: Use Screen Time to Hide Your Apple ID Settings
- Screen Time can help protect your Apple ID if your Passcode is stolen with your iPhone — but only if you set it in advance.
- How to act quickly to prevent the theft of your Apple ID, iCloud content, Keychain, Passwords, and email — your entire digital life.
- Tips on choosing a 4-digit passcode where there's no other option allowed.
- April 2023 rev.— 6 Page PDF 1.9 MB
Wi-Fi Troubleshooting — Do It Yourself Checklist
- What should your Wi-Fi speed be?
- How do you fix it if it gets too slow or quits working?
- Do it yourself in just a few minutes with this checklist.
- January 2023 — webpage
Passwords Redux Deluxe — Better Password Rules
- The old password rules used worldwide by businesses, banks, and government since 2003 do NOT protect anyone from modern hacking attacks. This paper explains what's changed, and shows how you can fix your own passwords. (update of our 2020 posting)
- January 2023 rev — 11 page PDF 201 KB = 0.2 MB
Preparing for an Upgrade or Update
Checklist to prepare for running Updates and Upgrades
Your Privacy Settings — a checklist
- Our Right to Privacy is not guaranteed, and we must each protect our own digital data and online activities from unwarranted snooping. The data our devices might reveal put us or others at risk in these days of highly-polarized political and legal conflicts. These two checklists cover Mac and iPhone/iPad settings and practices to better protect yourself in the current digital world.
- July 2022
- Mac Privacy — 3 page PDF — only 59 K
- iPhone/iPad Privacy — 4 page PDF — only 105 K
FreeUp System Data Space to Run Software Updates
- iPhone's own System writes a lot of temporary data to our iPhones which we cannot control. Sometimes that data takes up space needed to run iOS Software Updates. If removing unused Apps and stuff such as Music (which can be reloaded) isn't enough to allow Software Update to Run, a full Reset of the iPhone can free this space. This short PDF tells and shows how to do this when all else fails. Backup first!
- June 2022 — 1 page PDF 2 MB
- Settings for iPhone, iPad & Mac to keep emails from specific addresses from reaching your inbox. Focuses on the Settings which need to be made before you can block an address from within Apple's Mail App. An illustrated Keynote presentation saved as a PDF.
- May 2022 — Block Unwanted Emails (11.8 MB PDF)
- Settings for iPhone, iPad & Mac to stop text notifications from unknown senders. This illustrated PDF was based on a class Keynote presentation, and was updated April 18th.
- April 2022 — Silence Unknown Messages (7-pg PDF)
- Everything from the brightness of your screen and chosen wallpaper to how often your iPhone checks for new Mail affects how long your battery lasts.
- April 2022 — Battery Checkup Setting (webpage)
Is It Safe?
Why I wait to install new software releases for up to a week or more
- I don't recommend installing new releases of updated Operating Systems for Apple products until several days to a week (or more) after release to await public feedback and testing. Then I tell you when it is safe. Here's what I'm checking out and waiting for before signaling the All Clear - and why it matters.
- March 2022 — Is It Safe (webpage)
- PDF of instructions for taking a Photo and turning it into a custom Lockscreen image that even has an emergency phone number for someone to call if they find your lost iPhone.
- January 2022 — 2 page PDF only 51 K
Apple Pay & Adding Cards to Your Wallet
Illustrated guide to adding Wallet Cards on iPhone
Public Wi-Fi Risks
Unsecured Wireless Network Warnings & Tips
- EUROPOL maintains a site on cybercrime, complete with information graphics about the dangers of using unencrypted Wi-Fi. We have reposted their main informational graphics regarding unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
- June 2021 — EUROPOL Public Wi-Fi Warnings (web)
Using Your iPhone as a Hotspot
How to use your iPhone's Cellular data as your Mac's network
- This illustrated guide shows how to activate the iPhone's Hotspot option (if your carrier supports it) to use your iPhone as a broadband connection for your Mac when you don't have a WiFi connection.
- April 2021 — 2 page PDF 1 MB
Backups & Restoring for Macs, iPhones, iPads
- 3–2–1 Backup Plan explained
- Links to Apple's instructions on backups and Time Machine, plus links to third-party software for backups and cloning.
- April 2021 — Web links updated and verified
Gmail Account Settings for Apple's Mail App
Checking and correcting default settings for Gmail accounts
- This illustrated guide walks you through all of the settings for your Gmail email account in iOS 14 so your Gmail account will work properly in the default Apple Mail app.
- October 2020 — 3 page PDF 2.5 MB
or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Spam
- Spam Email — Everyone hates it, but everyone still gets some. Why is it sent, what's the threat, and, most important, easy guidelines so you can stop worrying about how to sort out the Spam. Free your mind and your mailboxes of Spam worries once and for all by thinking outside the inbox.
- August 2020 — 5 page PDF 137 KB = 0.13 MB
Protecting Your Locked iPhone
- Apple's default settings must be changed to protect even a locked iPhone from unauthorized use while locked. More details on one of the sections mentioned in our February Security PDF.
- May 2020 — 1 page PDF 1.1 MB
Security: Basic iPhone Settings
- Security Settings for securing logins, passcodes & lock screens on iPhones, illustrated with explanations of major settings.
- February 2020 — 4 page PDF 1.9 MB
How to Offload Apps Without Losing Your Data
- iPhones & iPads can offload applications to reclaim storage space, then reinstall the app later with its data intact.
- August 2019 — 1 page PDF 0.7 MB
Is the email you've trashed being deleted or archived?
- How to delete trashed email instead of archiving it on your email host's server.
- July 2019 — 1 page PDF 1.2 MB
Emergency Numbers for Use with Cell Phones
- Direct-dial Emergency Numbers for each Bay Area City.
A phone's Area Code and Prefix are used by the nationwide 911 system to route calls to emergency services, so delays or misdirection may happen when cell phones dial the national 911 number. (Prepared by the Fremont Library)
- November 2018 — 1 page PDF 187 KB = 0.19 MB
Updated September 9, 2023