Upgrade MacBook Pro Retina SSD
Internal SSD Wishlist…

Screen Burn-In: Ghost Images on iMac 5K Display

Since new, my iMac 5K has shown this ghost image problem if an image is left statically displayed for as little as 5 minutes (display off is set to 7 minutes in Energy Saver): a ghost image remains. It eventually fades and goes away, but it’s very annoying when there it is regularly, which it is—every day since I bought it 18 months or so ago. So it’s inherent. The display is set to about 80% of max brightness, so it’s not cranked up overly bright.

I do not know if this is a known or expected defect or behavior, but as shown below, the ghost image of this photograph can be seen in the all-gray neutral gray of the display (there is also one large reflection at right, which is not an issue).

Update: I called Apple and it looks like I have to take it into an Apple Store to be fixed. But the stores are so backed up with appointments that I can’t do that for a week or so as I am going on a trip soon.

MCT USB-C Adapter Charger for Car & External Batteries
Which Camera System / Lenses Should I Get?
✓ Get the best system for your needs the first time: diglloyd photographic consulting.

macOS Thunderbolt 10 Gigabit Networking Still Not Ready for Prime Time

Back in late 2015 I wrote about Thunderbolt networking. It remains worthwhile for casual burst usage, but it was and remains incompetently implemented, making it useless for any kind of serious usage.

I am disappointed to report that performance in macOS Sierra 10.12.5 remains only modestly better than gigabit ethernet (and only for short bursts)—it ought to approach ten times faster.

Unless Apple gets its act together on the driver in macOS High Sierra (what were they smoking in El Capitan and Sierra?), the 10 gigabit ethernet port on the iMac Pro won’t mean diddly squat.

Thunderbolt networking is actually slower than gigabit under sustained usage, as the data from disktester read-files shows, below. And that’s the best case, with multi-gigabyte files. Performance starts out at good but underwhelming speeds, then deteriorates by a factory of 4X slower to about 60 MiB/sec. It is also CPU-intensive, so a 4-core machine is not so hot—those 8/10/18 cores on an iMac Pro will come in handy.

diglloydIMAC:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ time disktester read-files /Volumes/Scratch/TEMP/Zeiss/
DiskTester 2.2.14 64-bit, diglloydTools 2.2.14, 2016-08-04 14:00
Copyright 2006-2016 DIGLLOYD INC. All Rights Reserved
Use of this software requires a license. See http://macperformanceguide.com/Software-License.html

OS X 10.12.5, 8 CPU cores, 65536MiB memory 2017-06-20 at 14:38:13404
disktester read-files /Volumes/Scratch/TEMP/Zeiss/
read-files params: Transfer size: 131072 KiB Iterations: 1 Async double buffers: false
Scanning "/Volumes/Scratch/TEMP/Zeiss"... 22 files in 1 folders.
---------------------------------- Iteration 1 --------------------------------- Reading 22 files totaling 56.7 GiB... IO method: single synchronous read buffer of size 128 MiB # Files Amt Read MiB/sec(all) MiB/sec(1) MiB/sec(10) MiB/sec(30) ... 2 5.00 GiB 264 119 119 119 4 8.14 GiB 122 119 118 118 4 12.3 GiB 184 119 118 118 5 14.9 GiB 137 107 114 114 6 17.4 GiB 108 51.1 93.7 93.7 ... 20 54.1 GiB 64.2 52.7 53.8 61.1 21 56.5 GiB 63.3 53.7 54.0 60.7 22 56.7 GiB 60.2 52.3 53.8 60.2 Data forks read: 22 Resource forks ignored. Total files read: 22 done. Read 22 files totaling 56.7 GiB in 964.37 seconds @ 60.2 MiB/sec Command "read-files" executed in 964.63 seconds on 2017-06-20 at 14:54:18037 real 16m4.657s user 0m0.059s sys 8m14.600s

Apple MacBook Pro: DC Power Input for Efficient Battery or Car Operation? (bypass DC-AC-DC waste)

Apple MacBook Pro computers now have USB-C, which has DC power input up to 100 watts.

It is inefficient to plug a DC-to-AC power inverter like the Wagan EL2601 Elite 400W Pro Pure Sine Inverter into a car cigarette lighter (maximum of 90% efficiency), then plug an Apple wall wart MNF82LL into the inverter (efficiency unspecified) so it can then convert that AC power back into DC for the MacBook Pro! One need only touch the inverter (high quality one for me) and feel how hot it gets, ditto for the wall wart—that heat is wasted power.

12V DC => 120V AC => ?V DC for charging the computer

I would guess that efficiency is at best 80% (meaning a 20% power loss), thus pulling more amperage than needed, which my SUV does not like for more than 10 minutes with a low laptop battery that causes the Apple wall wart to pull full power, probably something around 8 or 9 amps at 12 volts from the car battery.

A DC-DC converter could presumably run with about half the power waste.

So what I am wondering is whether there are any quality converters out there that plug into the cigarette lighter socket in a vehicle and supply ample USB-C charging power, thus bypassing the need for both a power inverter and the Apple wall wart. Such a 12V socket is found on every car, on jump starters, solar generators, the 434 Wh Anker PowerHouse 2, crowd-sourced NYA projects, etc. Particularly for solar generators (batteries charged by solar), the wasted power of a DC-AC-DC foobar loop is a BFD.

Of course what I want as perhaps even more is direct modest-cost USB-C charger battery support for at least 40 watts in a compact portable form factor. There are (claimed and I’m skeptical) solutions as of mid 2017 (Hyperjuice and MAXOAK), but not elegant ones, and I want them to be capable of solar charging like the Anker battery/solar panel combo.


There are a bunch of USB-C car chargers on Amazon, but most are phone and iPad oriented (low power output). I’m dubious that any of them can supply 90 watts or even 30 watts charging power to a MacBook Pro (or whether they work at all), and one should be very careful with a cut-rate products—the amperage required is a serious draw.

The BatPower CPD 110W PD USB-C Car Charger for MacBook Pro claims to work and so maybe it is something to try. I’ve ordered one to test. The BatPower ProE 36000mAh EX9 Portable External Battery Charger Power Bank looks interesting in that it seems to be able to power a MacBook Pro via USB-C, but it does require AC power to recharge the battery.

Anker makes some good stuff and there is the Anker Quick Charge 3.0 & USB Type-C 54W 4-Port USB Car Charger, but it claims 54 watts max and I wonder how it holds up to that kind of steady draw. And it might not even work at all since its power rating is under-spec'd and there is a charging protocol involved and the MacBook Pro might refuse to talk to it.

Reader Matt L points out the MCT USB-C Adapter Charger for Car & External Batteries, which is rated at 60W + 13W power output. I’ve asked for a review unit and will report on it if I receive one but I will say this: many a product that plugs into the cig lighter socket has connectivity problems—I don’ trust anything until it actually works (and doesn’t overheat). The blurrry camera-phone product shot on a dirty desk does not inspire confidence (I cleaned it up as best I could), but it is a small company apparently and perhaps they are electromagnetically talented.

MCT USB-C Adapter Charger for Car & External Batteries

You can charge your new Macbook Pro 15" from your Car at FULL Speed! Not to be mistaken for other lower powered USB-C Car chargers. This will charge your Macbook Pro without draining your internal batteries while you work on intensive applications!
Includes Standard USB port so you can charge both your Retina Macbook Pro 15" and iPad at the same time!

  • World’s First True High Powered Car and External Battery USB-C & USB-A QC3.0 charger adapter.
  • Connects to most high powered external battery banks.
  • Charges USB-C devices like Macbook, Macbook Pro, HP, Dell faster then anything on the market.
  • QC3.0 USB-A to fast charge your other devices at same time.
  • Wide input power range: 12-24vdc.
  • Includes cigarette cable and external battery cable connector.
  • Built in Safely and overload protection.
  • Compatible with all USB-C devices like Macbook 12”, Macbook Pro 13”, Macbook Pro 15”, HP, Dell, Google, and also smaller devices like USB-C cell phones.
  • USB-C cable not included.

Specs: 60w+18w (Total 78w)

  • Input: 12-24v, max 10A
  • Output:
  • 60w USB-C: PD 5v3a, 12v3a, 15v2.4a, 20v3a.
  • 18w USB-A: 3.6-5.5v,3a, 6.5-9v/2a, & 9-12v/1.5a.
  • Cigarette cable for car.
  • 5.5x2.5 to 5.5x2.5mm cable for external batteries.
B&H Deal ZoneDeals by Brand/Category/Savings
Deals expire in 5 hours unless noted. Certain deals may last longer.
$799 SAVE $400 = 33.0% Canon EOS 70D DSLR in Cameras: DSLR

Apple iPhone Security: Pocket Dialing

Security is a very real issue these days. Here’s an ugly problem, the cause of which is baffling with the phone turned off.

My friend regularly pocket-dials me, that is, his phone dials my number and he is completely unaware of it. I can hear what is going on in the background... I hang up, not wanting to violate his privacy. Who else might he be dialing without knowing it?

This has happened to me also (pocket dialing) and more: up in the mountains, I’ve been photographing or fishing, when out of the blue my iPhone starts playing an audio book. WTF? It’s in my pants pocket in a case where the buttons are not easily pressed and the phone has been clicked off.

This is a serious bug that Apple ought to fix.

ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Does macOS 10.12.5 Break Gigabit Ethernet?

I wondered why my iMac 5K file sharing was so bad. It is on a gigabit ethernet switch like all my computers, all of which have run for years on gigabit.

There are other possible explanations perhaps, but unplugging/replugging the cable and rebooting the iMac did not help. Only when I manually configured ethernet on the iMac to use gigabit did it resume performing at gigabit speeds (100 megabytes a second or more).

The other symptom is no internet connection for 20 to 30 seconds. That I’ve seen before with the iMac 5K (and only the iMac 5K, my MBP and Mac Pro on the same switch are fine).

To be completely fair to the iMac and Apple, I’d have to try other cables direct to the gigabit switch. I did not have time to mess around with that today, but maybe a cable can just “go bad” sitting there—and after an OS release!

So if things seem slow over the network, check System preferences => Network => Advanced => Hardware and make sure you aren’t running at 1/10 speed.

macOS auto-detecting gigabit (1000 megabit) as 100 megabit (1/10 the speed)

Deals at a Glance for Apple Macs and More

Why waste time laboriously searching for deals when I’ve written all the code to go through 180,000 items at B&H for you including all Macs, iPads, etc? Updated daily.

I get credit from B&H when any ad or link from this site is used—thank you.

Bookmark my deals pages and my top deals pages and my wishlist pages, which can show deals by brand or deals by category and with search features too, filterable by how much discounted (updated daily via live feed).

Deals and discounts on Apple Macs
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Comparing the 2017 iMac 5K to the iMac Pro

Save money on memory for all upgradeable Macs at OWC. Get iMac 5K at B&H Photo.

Last week in Assessing the Dec 2017 Apple iMac Pro I discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the Apple iMac Pro (due to ship in December 2017).

TOP-END iMac 5K is about $3099 plus about $600 for 64GB plus storage and backup drives.

This post speaks to the fact that the 2017 iMac 5K is available now and for the vast majority of users, will provide 80% to 100% of the performance at a far lower price. I speak not of benchmarks (which should be lumped in with lies, damn lies and statistics), but to real-world performance in programs like Photoshop and Lightroom and in many programs where peformance differences are meaningless (1/3 sec vs 1/2 second = meaningless in most cases), bearing no relation to any marketing hype about “faster”. It’s curious how Apple sells form over function, but its marketing hype is heavy on emphasizing function that is meaningless for the vast majority of users (e.g., a “faster” GPU that has no benefit at all for most uses and users).

Does it matter that a Lightroom import takes 5 minutes versus 4 minutes (guesstimate)? Maybe, but that’s quite a stretch of credulity for most users.

Thing is, for most tasks, only a CPU core or two gets used, and the GPU is blipped for a fraction of as second. So there is very much a threshold effect of “fast enough”, beyond which it just doesn’t matter.

There are exceptions such as pro video users where 8/10/18 cores and a hyper-fast GPU rule that area and where 8 hours versus 2 hours for some stream of video processing is a Big Deal and/or where real-time editing is critical and must meet some threshold or it’s unusable.

For most users there is zero reason to wait for an iMac Pro or even to ever buy one. The iMac Pro is hugely costly and it will not perform meaningfully better on most tasks. Rather, the iMac Pro is a purpose-built machine that makes sense for a tiny fraction of true professional users with specific jobs to do—it’s a halo product which will be indispensible for the right uses and users. And an excuse and placeholder for the failure of vision in letting the deeply-flawed 2013 Mac Pro languish for 5 years.

As for me (Lloyd), 8K display support is something I drool over as a photographer, and thus the iMac Pro forces me to pay attention. But what I really want is a new Mac Pro with 8K support, not an all-in-one model that is six months off and will be out of date by the time a revised Mac Pro arrives. It’s a lousy combination of timing and marketing. Better late than never I suppose, but I cannot afford to pour money into such systems, so it’s an ugly timeline.

  2017 iMac 5K 2017 iMac Pro Comments
Cost about $3099 + about $600 for 64GB = $3699 starts at $4999 for 8 core CPU, 1TB SSD, hyper fast GPU, 1TB SSD, 32GB
~$6000 with 64GB, and far more with 10 or 18 cores, larger SSD, fastest GPU. Likely to approach $13K when maxed-out.
Display same same  
Case Finish silver space gray Anyone with $5K to $14K to spend who frets over color = wealthy fool or dilettante
GPU fast hyper fast, but meaningless for most tasks non-upgradeable
Memory Up to 64GB, user-upgradeable ECC memory up to 128GB, but few users need more than 64GB, not user upgradeable without professional installation (or suitable skill) Pro machines should be upgradeble, at least for memory and storage. Neither iMac can upgrade the GPU or CPU or SSD.
SSD up to 2TB up to 4TB (pricey) If one needs 4TB, it's a great option.
Thunderbolt 3 2 ports on single Thunderbolt 3 bus 4 ports on dual Thunderbolt 3 busses iMac Pro has twice the external bandwidth—nice but of no importance to vast majority of users. A single TB3 bus is already like two TB2 busses in bandwidth terms.
8K external display support no 8K support possible 8K support should be possible Why isn’t Apple explicitly stating support for 8K?
Warranty 1 year warranty, extendable to 3 years at additional cost via AppleCare iMac Pro of cost $5K to $14K has a pathetic 1-year warranty? A company that believes in it products backs them with a warranty commensurate with cost and quality. iMac Pro should have *included* 5-year warranty.
Longevity Closed case, major hassle to clean out dust (professional help advised) Closed case, major hassle to clean out dust (professional help advised), likely to be used hard and suck in lots of air, adding to dust problem. No way to clean dust internally
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.
Storage Wishlist…

SmartAlec for Drive Health Monitoring:

The authors of SoftRAID are offering a free public beta (requires registration) of SmartAlec, which monitors drive health. Essentially, it extracts the drive health monitoring features of SoftRAID.

This monitoring aspect of SoftRAID saved my bacon last year; see Even ”Enterprise Grade” Drives Fail.

See MPG’s recommendations for large and fast hard drives and high capacity storage.

Also, the DiskTester fill-volume command can be used even on in-use disks to force writing and reading of unused sectors, which can help flush out any latent issues.

Kudos to OWC for making something available for free that MPG feels ought to be an essential part of macOS: a basic version will be free in the Apple AppStore, with a more advanced version (email notifications, etc) will be available for purchase.



Release: http://www.thomas-pr.com/smartalec/owcsmartalecrelease.html

Available in Beta Now – Shipping July

“A Check Engine Light for Your Disks” -- Constantly Monitors Drives with Predictive Failure Analysis For Mac Hard Drives, SSDs, Firewire Disks, & USB Drives Checks for Errors & Warns in Advance if Disks Have Failed or are About to Fail

Free Download from the iTunes App Store -- $9.99 Upgrade Available

http://www.thomas-pr.com/smartalec/owcsmartalecrelease.html– OWC, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced today SMART Alec https://www.smartalec.biz/, an essential Mac utility that constantly monitors and checks your Mac hard drives, SSDs, Firewire disks, and USB drives, warning you in advance if drives are failing or about to fail, so you’ll have plenty of time to back up and replace a bad drive. SMART Alec can help you avoid losing years of sensitive, irreplaceable data from databases, word processing, Excel, PowerPoint and other business files, precious photos and videos, music compositions, and more. SMART Alec is currently available in beta at: smartalec.biz/beta_test. The free final version of SMART Alec and $9.99 upgrade with additional features will be available in July.

“A check engine light for your disks,” Smart Alec’s Advanced Warning System employs Disk Data Analysis and Predictive Failure Analysis, quietly working in the background to alert you if your drives currently have, or are developing problems -- before it’s too late and you experience catastrophic disk failure. SMART AlecTM is available in July as a free download from the iTunes App Store, with a $9.99 paid upgrade with additional features, including USB/Firewire disk monitoring, email alerts, and more.

Drives Frequently Fail -- Why Wait Until a Disk Drive Fails to Take Action?

Although users expect hard drives to last forever, drives can frequently fail for numerous reasons, including overheating, power failures, surges from lightning strikes, water damage, and more. Once a drive fails, it can be virtually impossible or cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to reconstruct sensitive data through a computer technician or data recovery forensics company. Daily back-ups to a secondary drive are also risky, since unknowingly you may be backing up data from an already corrupted drive or to another drive with problems. Instead of waiting for the drive to fail or just hoping it won’t happen, users rely on SMART Alec’s continual background disk monitoring to protect sensitive data --Why wait until a disk drive fails to take action?

SMART Alec works in the background, constantly monitoring & checking your disks, and warning you if any disks are faulty, or about to fail. With SMART Alec's advanced warning, you'll have plenty of time to replace a bad disk and keep your data safe.

  • PREDICTED-TO-FAIL DISK: If your disk is likely to fail in the near future you'll get a "predicted to fail" warning.
  • FAILING DISK: If your disk is failing, SMART Alec will tell you right away, giving you time to replace your disk and save your data.
  • TEST YOUR DISK: SMART Alec will display a green bar by all disks that are healthy. Still worried? Get SMART Alec to retest disks at any time.
  • KNOW YOUR DISK: All the information about your disk is readily available and there's a disk log to track your disk's history.
  • HOW RELIABLE IS MY DISK MODEL/BRAND? Opt-in to share data about your disk's reliability and performance with SMART Alec's self-learning disk failure prediction system (using predictive disk-failure analysis), and you'll get access to the most up-to-date statistics about the safest—and least safe—disks around. Plus we'll let you know how reliable the disks you're using are, and whether your data could be at risk.
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock, rear
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Ordered Too Little Memory in 2017 iMac 4K? OWC Can Upgrade It Anyway

Get 2017 iMac 4K at B&H Photo.

MPG strongly recommends the iMac 5K, but sometimes space constraints make the iMac 4K a sensible choice. Note that the iMac 5K memory is trivially upgradeable via a rear memory hatch that provides access to the 4 slots. By comparison, the iMac 4K requires separating the entire back from the screen in order to get to the internals—best to have it done for you professionally (OWC/MacSales.com can do this).


Woodstock, IL, June 16, 2017 – MacSales.com, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced today the availability of new OWC Memory Upgrade Kits, with up to 32GB of memory for the 2017 Apple iMac 21.5” with Retina 4K display introduced last week at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose.

OWC 2400Mhz DDR4 memory, compatible with the new iMac, is available now for immediate shipment to customers. Upgrading Memory in iMac boosts performance and helps the new iMac deliver visual effects and 3D graphics, allowing the editing of multicam projects in Final Cut Pro X, with up to five streams of 4K video. For over 20 years, MacSales.com has provided the memory upgrades that allow the iMac (and all other Mac laptops and desktops) to operate at maximum potential, delivering faster video editing, faster gaming and faster 3D graphics.

Up to 32GB memory upgrade for 2017 iMac 4K

Coming Soon for Review: 2017 iMac 5K

Coming soon for review courtesy of B&H Photo is the 2017 Apple iMac 5K 4.2 GHz / 8GB / 1TB / Radeon Pro 580. Ordered with 8GB memory to save about $820; to be tested with 64GB.

I'd prefer the 2TB SSD but it gets pricey and 1TB is good for most users. Videographers and Adobe Lightroom users with very large catalogs should opt for the 2TB SSD model.

Since I own the late 2015 iMac 5K, I can do a head-to-head to see how much better the 2017 model is. Aside from Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 gen 2, I don’t expect much difference, but I hope to be surprised in some unexpected way.

In general the things I strongly recommend are the fastest CPU long with ample memory, adding the OWC Thunderbay 4 for external storage of big files and the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock for extra USB3 ports.

See also:

Recommended 2017 iMac 5K for photographers
SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina
Internal SSD Wishlist…

Coming Soon for Review: 2017 MacBook Pro

Coming soon for review courtesy of B&H Photo is the 2017 Apple MacBook Pro 3.1 GHz / 16GB / 1TB / AMD Radeon Pro 560 (4GB DDR5).

See also my in-depth coverage of the late 2016 MacBook Pro.

While I'd prefer the 2TB SSD, the 1TB model is my recommended top-end system for most users since even on my photographic trips lasting 10 days or so, I found 1TB enough. Videographers should definitely opt for the 2TB SSD model. Other users may find the 512GB SSD model acceptable, the capacity is just too too low for my needs. The things I strongly recommend are the fastest CPU and GPU and 16GB is mandatory for this class machine.

I’ll be revisiting the whole adapter hassle issue, this time putting the MacBook Pro to field use and seeing just how much I dislike that need to use adapters when working in the field, as well as whether the improved display and speed flip me over the tipping point. A pity there is as yet no mainstream USB-C external battery for powering it off the grid.

Recommended MacBook Pro for photographers

Deals on Apple Macs


With Apple having upgraded its MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac and iPad lineup, all of the existing models are available with with nice discounts. Recommended configurations for photographers:

Not sure what will work best for your own needs? I offer consulting.

Don’t forget AppleCare—important for an all-in-one laptop with everything soldered on. Ditto for Applecare for iMac 5K.

The iMac Pro is not due out until December, but its sky-high price and 6 month lead time make it a non-solution for most of us.

Deals and links:

One of the diglloyd deals pages showing deals on Apple laptops
Blazing-fast PCIe storage for Mac Pro Tower

Apple Photos: Bad Idea + Downloading Images from iPhone/iPad/Other Devices using Apple Preview

MPG recommends never trusting any Apple consumer software—Photos, Calendar, etc. It is sure to change on a whim or fad, and to leave you with problems, guaranteed sooner or later. The more you invest in using Apple trashcan software (where it belongs), the deeper the data-hell hole you dig.

The only thing I use Apple Photos for is to download images from the iPhone—since Apple’s macOS provides no way to do so properly and directly, like a volume mounted on the desktop that could be used as a file system. Forcing users into unstable constantly-changing software when a straightforward drag-n-drop interface is so much more elegant speaks volumes about the inelegance of Apple design today. iPhotos actually used to be somewhat useful, but that ended several years ago when the toy battery-powered disaster (so to speak) aka Photos appeared, with forced transition and conversion and the whole Cloud mess.

Apple Photos will not export files if even a single original is missing

How many? Which images. I have no idea where the 1 or 13 or 373 missing file are (1700 or so) and I don’t care. But it’s not the only missing file.

What I want is for Photos app is to export the files that it can find so that I can get them out of its clutches. But the entire process is blocked because it cannot find one original file. There is no “export what can be found”. The dialog might as well read “YOU LOSE, SUCKER!”, since it forces me to sort through thousands of photos, laboriously finding the files that can be found. There is no “Show Missing Files” command or any equivalent. But see the manual workaround below involving the Masters subfolder of the Photos library.

There is no excuse for locking up my stuff this way. It is a demonstration of the anti-conceptual mentality at work in Apple software today—no thinking beyond the immediate moment, the obvious need—an intellectual blindness to more than the most basic tasks which involve the prerequisite of a perfect world in order to function at all.

From now on, I’ll have to download from the phone and immediately export the photos out of the Photos app, then delete them from the library—whew! Then I’ll know where they are and I can deal with them in Photoshop or Lightroom or whatever. That’s the only safe and sensible way to operate.

Meanwhile, Apple Contacts won’t sync up new contacts and I have no idea why after hitting the Sync button in iTunes three times. The miserable quality of Apple software today is a pink elephant occupying half the room that no journalist dares mention—a sort of secret handshake if one wants to remain someone who covers Apple in the future—and hence an indictment of the death of journalism and integrity.

Getting original files out of iPhotos

Locate the iPhotos library.

1) Select the library, and right click (or control click) and choose Show Package Contents.

Show Package Contents on a Apple Photos library

2) Find the Masters folder and search for file kind of JPEG.
Repeat this step if there are other kinds of items to export, like movies or TIF or GIF, etc.

Finding JPEG files in the Masters subfolder of an Apple Photos library

3) Choose Edit => Select All then Edit -> Copy and then Edit -> Paste into a folder of your choice. This will copy the images there. If there are duplicate filenames, this might get more tedious; descend into the subfolders and enjoy the needless hassle courtesy of Apple.

4) Delete items from the Photos library. There is only one little problem: the items remain on disk in the Photos library after deleting—yet another Apple Core Rot bug—the size of my 24GB Photos library did not change after deleting everything in it!

Downloading iPhone/iPad image with Preview

Update 19 June: I experienced data loss using Image Capture to download photos. I imported 5 photos and only 3 of them were downloaded. Since I deleted all 5 after (allegedly) downloading, it appears that download happens asynchronously and that it is possible delete photos before the images are downloaded. $#$(*#$#$($ Apple Core Rot.

The procedure is very similar for Preview and Image Capture. Preview and Image Capture let you import the files directly into a folder, bypassing Photos entirely:

Preview => Import from iPhone

Image quality is very poor for previewing images, but it’s of little concern since the only goal is to get then of the device.

Select the desired images, the click Import All, which prompts for a save location.

Importing images from iPhone or iPad or other devices in Preview

Right-click (control click) on selected image(s) in order to delete them from the device.

Deleting images from iPhone or iPad or other devices in Preview


Richard S writes:

Have you tried the Image Capture app to download photos and video from your iPhone? It’s pretty straight forward, far more so than Photos [which I avoid using for any reason]. Alternately, I use the Import dialogue in Lightroom to import media from my iPhone, depending on the circumstance. BTW, I’m a long time reader and really appreciate all the work you put into your sites. Thanks for all the great content!

MPG: that’s a laughable idea—not the expression of it by Richard S, but the very idea that one should have to consider it when a file-system approach (folder appearing on the desktop) would leverage drag-n-drop without even having to launch an application.

Setting aside the lunacy of requiring an app for a task that the design of 20 years ago could do better, this sounds like a worthwhile suggestion. The trick is that after importing, one has to right click (control click) to delete items from the phone. That’s assuming the images are actually removed from the phone (even if the phone claims “no photos or videos”). In fact my iPhone 7 Plus shows one of the images below after they are deleted, but touching that image to see images shows “no photos or videos”. What a confusing mess.

Importing photos from an iPhone into a designated folder using Apple Image Capture

Robert T writes:

Thank you for the warning. When I switched from Canon to a Sony a6000 I stopped using this the Canon software to download my photos. I was just going to start using Apple-photos. After reading this I will not. What software is best (safe) for archiving my photo library. I have been reluctant to start using Adobe CC software due to never ending billing.

MPG: I’m much more comfortable with Adobe and $10 a month is very reasonable. You pay for adult supervision, and it’s worth it. By comparison, Apple has demonstrated contempt for pros repeatedly (hardware and software), and shows it over and over by arbitrarily canceling products: Aperture (what if you had invested years in it?), Final Cut Pro (no compatibility for well over a year for older projects when the FCP X version was introduced, arbitrary changes to features, forced conversion of file formats (no ability to ever revert to an unliked “improved” version) and so on. You get what you pay for.

Moreover Lightroom has a huge users base and infrastructure for pros (plugins, video, tutorials, etc). There just isn’t any comparison to the haphazard mess that is Photos.

My main advice is to establish your own folder-based hierarchical structure for storing and organizing your images. On top of that, utilize your software of choice, NEVER allowing "copy into Library" type functionality.

Lloyd is available for consultingfor setting up a photography oriented system, including backup and organizational aspects.

Don H writes

I’ll second the recommendation of using Image Capture. After importing the photos I check the destination to verify they’re all there, run IntegrityChecker and then force an immediate backup, and then (optionally) delete all from the phone in one operation. (I don’t have it open in front of me right now, but I think you can ‘select all’ and then hit the delete button.)

If you want to mount an iPhone as a desktop volume there are various utilities that do so as well. I use iExplorer myself (yes, everything has to have an i- in front of it.) That allows for drag-and-drop copying, but I still choose to use Image Capture simply because I’m used to the interface and it’s a bundled app, for whatever that’s worth.

Nonetheless, iExplorer also allows you to copy off all your text messages, phone call records, and other normally-obscured data, which I find useful when upgrading phones. (It even allows you to browse through iPhone backups done through iTunes, in case you lost your phone.) It’s unfortunate that we have to resort to third-party utilities to access our own data directly, but that’s the deal with the devil that resulted from Apple idiot-proofing iOS for the unwashed masses.

Incidentally, I also use Image Capture for the occasional scanning of documents. For that operation the interface is terrible, but it saves having to install some third-party scanning utility which invariably also has a terrible interface. I certainly wouldn’t use it to scan artwork or anything complex, but if I have to send a one-sheet paper document to someone via email it serves that purpose. It works with my Brother all-in-one (an older office-grade laser-printer/scanner/copier) right out of the box with no other software needed whatsoever.

MPG: I also use ImageCapture for scanning—it has irrritating behaviors that slow me down (like frequently forgetting settings and forcing me to wait while it previews when I don’t want to use the flatbed scan) but gets the job done.

Sean T writes:

Thanks for reminding me why I never use Photos to download my photos, from anything. I’m sure that you know that the best way to download photos from an iPhone to Master, is using Preview. I just plug in my iPhone, open Preview and download my photos into a Lightroom Folder. After that, LR must Sync the Folder to find the photos (I know, you don’t use LR - you should, its a great database for managing photos). The advantage of Preview is that you can then highlight all the photos that you then want to delete from the iPhone and then do so.

MPG: good tip—I did not know. It’s buried in File -> Import from Camera => iPhone (more than one device conneted) or File => Import from iPhone (if single device connected) and I would never have thought to look in Preview to import images from a phone or camera.

From what I can tell, this is identical in behavior to using Image Capture (including no delete checkbox), except that one gets to the Import dialog with the advantage of being able to import directly to a folder and thus bypass the Photos app entirely. One still has to right click to delete images after importing.

Bruce M writes:

Yes iCloud can be turned to off in Photos, but the tagging apparently cannot… Aside from consuming space and bandwidth I’d just feel more secure if everything from pumpkins to grandma wasn’t indexed for some possible search, hack, face recognition, inadvertant iCloud upload or back door foray… Every upgrade I sense incremental privacy creep, perhaps one bug or executive order away from prying eyes…

MPG: more privacy intrusions are another good reason to avoid Photos.

Software Discounts on BBEdit and HoudahSpot (Personal Favorites) and Other Software

For data integrity (multi-platform) and drive testing, I of course recommend my own diglloydTools software.

But these deals are very different stuff, and showed up in my inbox today... use coupon code SUMMERFEST2017.

BBEdit is a tool I use every single day—indispensible for my work. If you need a terrific text editor, BBEdit is it.

HoudahSpot is also excellent, far batter than Apple’s Spotlight interface.

See all software deals. (I have no interest in these sales financially, they just look like good stuff).

Deals on software


SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina
Internal SSD Wishlist…

Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Display is Shipping, Dec 2017 iMac Pro Already Behind the Curve

See my Mac wish list.

Background info:

8K now shipping

Details on the Dell UltraSharp 32 8K Monitor UP3218K at Dell.com.

The about $4999 Dell UltraSharp 32 8K Monitor UP3218K has been shipping for a couple of months. Back in January 2017, I postulated that an iMac 8K should be possible:

Since a 32-inch panel now exists, it seems ideal for an iMac 8K which could use a custom graphics solution to push those 33 megapixels—no need for wait for standards to evolve to support external 8K support; it can be done internally just as with the iMac 5K.

Here in June 2017, the about $4999 Dell UltraSharp 32 8K Monitor UP3218K is shipping thus proving that 8K is a done deal. Possibly, it might even work with an existing Apple MacBook Pro using Multi StreamTransport (MST) over dual Thunderbolt 3 cables; see Can a 2016 MacBook Pro support an 8K display?.

Certain PC video cards support 8K via Multi Stream Transport (MST).

Now consider that Apple’s ultra-pricy Dec 2017 iMac Pro does not incorporate an 8K display, being essentially a souped-up iMac 5K with a dark paint job, a pathetic 1 year warranty, and a sky-high price tag once it’s built up properly.

In objective competitive terms: Apple calls it innovation to announce a an iMac Pro with a 1-year warranty that won’t ship for six months and has a 27" display with 14.7 megapixels versus the 31.7 megapixels of a display that Dell is already shipping with a 3 year warranty, one that with proper software support and dual cables ought to already work on a MacBook Pro. In other words, Apple is offering an all-in-one computer that is:

  • Non-upgradeable for CPU, GPU, memory or SSD (at least not without unsupported disassembly).
  • Does not support HDMI 1.3 for 8K support (Apple makes no mention of 8K).
  • Has no technical advantage over readily available PCs and does not support NVIDIA.
  • Does not have a display that would make it state of the art.

Beautifully presented, this is not technical leadership; it is marketing. The iMac Pro is behind the curve six months before it ships, gorgeous as it surely will be at a price few can contemplate. Perhaps the promised modular Mac Pro (early 2019) is what Mac users will have to wait for.

About 8K

7680 X 4320 pixels = 33.2 megapixes in 32" form factor, aspect ratio 1.77:1

4K is like tiling together four HD displays and thus requires 4X the bandwidth of a conventional 1920 X 1080 display.

8K is like tiling together four 4K displays for a whopping 33.2 megapixels (7680 X 4320), and thus requires 4X the bandwidth of a four 4K displays or 16 HD displays.

A full resolution Nikon D810 image is 7360 X 4912, so that its entire width fits with room to spare on the 7680-pixel 8K display, although the aspect ratio is too tall to fit vertically.

At 280 ppi, the Dell 8K pixel density is higher than the 220 ppi of the iMac 5K, so a 'chrome'-like viewing experience should be incredible, showing more detail than 35mm film could ever capture with far superior contrast to any print—a huge 32-inch 'chrome', in effect.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Assessing the Dec 2017 Apple iMac Pro

Save money on memory for all upgradeable Macs at OWC. Get iMac 5K at B&H Photo.

See also Comparing the 2017 iMac 5K to the iMac Pro.

I did not get everything I wanted, but the newly announced iMac Pro looks promising, with a monster graphics card, support for up to 128GB of ECC memory and 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports on two buses. Availability is December 2017, at least 5 months off. This pre-announcement of a specific shipping month is unprecedented for Apple (the promised Mac Pro has no shipping date).

The iMac Pro is already behind the curve, six months before it ships.

Is the iMac Pro approach merely to be a placeholder until the promised modular Mac Pro arrives in late 2018 or early 2019? Or is it a longer term offering.

Apple’s specifications for the iMac Pro leave certain details unstated (one Thunderbolt 3 bus or two, 8 bit or 10 bit color), but give us something to think on.


MPG expects that a fully-loaded iMac Pro (128GB, 18 cores, 4TB SSD, Vega 64 GPU) will run as high as $14,000. This breaks down as follows with very rough estimates based on past Apple pricing:

  • +$500 for 10 core CPU or +$2500 for 18 core CPU (maybe more, since these are XEON enterprise-grade CPUs)
  • +$800 for 64GB or +$2000 for 128GB
  • +$800 for Vega 64 GPU
  • +$800 for 2TB SSD or +$2500 for 4TB SSD (Intel Optane or conventional?)

These figures quite possibly are too low. Maybe that GPU and 18 cores running for a year can mine a few Bitcoin to soften the blow?


The sealed case shows dubious design judgment for practical usage, given that dust WILL accumulate inside the machine, which is likely to result in premature failure due to no way to clean off the dust. Particularly given the fact that an iMac Pro driven hard will need large volumes of air to keep cool. Where is the discussion of “user replaceable air filters”? See Clean Dust Off Computer Innards for Longer Service Life.

Pros love iMac. So when they asked us to build them a killer iMac, we went all in. And then we went way, way beyond, creating an iMac packed with the most staggeringly powerful collection of workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory, and I/O of any Mac ever. And we did it without adding a millimeter to its iconic all-in-one design.

If you work in a clean room, fine. But most of us do not and many of us have some dust or a cat or dog and Dust Happens. The iMac Pro running at full tilt is going to suck in a lot of air, and that means dust is going to start coating that $5000 to $13000 of electronic goodies. Where is the 5 year AppleCare coverage if Apple thinks this sealed design is such a great one? Why does a pro machine starting at $5000 have a laughably short 1-year warranty? If it’s such a great design, the warranty should be 5 years. But MPG doubts that an iMac Pro will survive even 3 years if used hard as a pro machine.

CPU cores

The bump from 8 to 18 cores is likely to be $2500 or so since the 18 core CPU is by itself around $2000. Since Apple needs to profit mightily, a $2000 CPU surely has to cost substantially more than Apple’s cost. Even if Apple gets a huge discount to $1000 for the 18-core CPU, that implies a $3000 upcharge when sold to the customer.

With 10 or 18 core options (8 cores by default), bragging points can be had in exchange for money. And that’s about all you’ll get for many uses: for most users, 8 CPU cores is ample, with 18 CPU cores of little use except for video users. Photoshop and Lightroom do not use even 8 CPU cores more than fractionally, so still-photo users need not concern themselves with more than 8 cores unless Adobe gets on the ball and uses cores much more efficiently between now and January 2018.

As a software developer, 18 CPU cores is appealing for testing and debugging and optimizing and general intrigue. The flip side is that most software developers do better at implementing threading bugs than using cores in a scalable fashion, and many don’t scale at all, chewing up CPU cycles but not running any faster using 8 cores than 4 (thread contention).

The emphasis on GPU support in recent years has been misguided in MPG’s view, now that 8/10/18 CPU cores are reasonably mainstream for pro users. Misguided in the sense that GPU benefits are often marginal and come with many bugs, and the emphasis on the GPU has meant de-emphasizing CPU cores. With 8/10/18 CPU cores, lack of robust (competent) support for high core counts means that few applications will be able to use 18 CPU cores in a scalable fashion (not easy to produce thread-safe code, and some algorithms are serial).

The new CPU design designates one or two overclocked CPU cores that with proper OS support can be used to make single-threaded tasks run at very high speed these one or two specially designated CPU core. So the old downside of more cores at slower clock speed may be less important with these new CPUs—if macOS supports it.

AMD Radeon Vega GPU ≠ NVIDIA

Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 memory, Configurable to Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics processor with 16GB of HBM2 memory

Professional users prefer NVIDIA by 4-to-1, so this sucks from a pro user perspective.


It’s not clear if the iMac Pro memory can be upgraded—reader David B points out that the cutaway on the Apple site shows 4 internal memory DIMMS. At the least that imples a problematic upgrade process (heat gun to take off the rear case). It’s also possible that Apple will solder on the memory in shipping systems. That Apple thinks non-upgradeable is “Pro” is an incredible proposition.

In MPG’s view, the iMac Pro makes zero sense with 32GB of non-upgradeable memory (pricing starts at $5000), so that means choosing 64GB or 128GB. Given the $1400 upcharge to go from 8GB to 64GB in the regular iMac 5K, the iMac Pro might hit $7500 for a 128GB config, and that’s before a larger SSD and top-end graphics card.


The internal presumably non-upgradeable SSD starts at 1TB and can be had at 2TB and 4TB capacities. Expect to pay another $1000 or so for 2TB and $2500 for 4TB, perhaps.

Unclear is whether the SSD is Intel Optane or conventional. Since Apple makes no mention of Optane, presumably it is conventional flash memory design.

Display and color

There is no statement of whether 8 bit or 10 bit color is used, but “billions” implies 10 bit. There exists no way to true-calibrate an iMac display, there being only faux calibration.

The support for four 4K displays implies that one 8K display should be useable via two cables, since an 8K display is equivalent to four 4K displays in terms of bandwidth.

27" 5K display at 5120 X 2880 pixels with 500 nits brightness and P3 Wide Color gamut.

Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at 1 billion colors and:

  • Two 5120‑by‑2880 (5K) external displays at 60Hz with support for 1 billion colors, or
  • Four 3840-by-2160 (4K UHD) external displays at 60Hz with support for 1 billion colors, or
  • Four 4096‑by‑2304 (4K) external displays at 60Hz with support for millions of colors
  • Support for extended desktop and video mirroring modes
  • Thunderbolt 3 digital video output
  • Native DisplayPort output over USB-C
  • VGA, HDMI, DVI, and Thunderbolt 2 output supported using adapters (sold separately)

Thunderbolt 3 and ports

There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and while not called out in the specs (weird!), the Apple presentation does confirm dual Thunderbolt 3 busses for a total I/O bandwidth equivalent to three Thunderbolt 2 busses; the 2013 Mac Pro has 3 busses, so the iMac Pro has 1/3 more I/O bandwidth and at twice the peak speed—more than ample for just about any conceivable need and supporting ultra high speed external SSDs.

The inclusion of four USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, 10 gigabit ethernet and and SDXC card slot are all very nice features so that one does not have to use up Thunderbolt 3 ports for mundane things like USB 3 devices.

Toy keyboard and mouse

MPG does not consider a wireless keyboard and mouse much more than toys on a $5K to $13K computer. Such devices have always failed in use for MPG before.

Reader comments

Andrew D writes:

I agree that overall the iMac Pro does look pretty damn good, allowing up to 18 cores, 128GB of memory, and the Thunderbolt 3 ports (although again, dependent on number of busses) is really impressive for the iMac. However, there’s a few concerns that I still see:

  • We’re still stuck with AMD as the only option for Mac graphics. I dabble in some 3-D rendering and the software I use offers NVidia’s iRay renderer, which only supports CUDA for GPU acceleration. Yes, OpenCL has caught up with support for a lot of stuff, but there are still plenty of CUDA only options out there and this means that any such users are basically being told that Apple has no place for them. I have a late 2015 iMac 5K so I’m not thinking of replacing yet, but my aging MacBook Pro has no compelling upgrade path so I’m already being pulled in the Windows direction, the lack of a potential NVidia support down the road makes this an easier decision.
  • The fact that it’s not coming out until December this year tells me the upcoming modular Mac Pro is nowhere near ready and won’t be for some time. I know we were already told “not this year” but if the iMac Pro isn’t coming out until December then there’s no way the Mac Pro is coming out early 2018, I’m guessing later 2018 at the absolute earliest now.
  • The $5000 starting price for the iMac Pro worries me about what the Mac Pro will cost when it comes out.
  • There’s literally nothing of interest that’s come out now. The Macbook Pro got a very minor speed an graphics upgrade but is still limited to 16GB. Basically we’re being told to hold our breath for another 6 months while Apple gets their pro line back in order.
  • The external GPU offering also looks compelling, but again comes stock with an AMD GPU. When NVidia announced the new Titan XP earlier this year they also announced Mac driver support was coming, and did a week later. NVidia has stayed committed to the pro/enthusiast Mac customer, I was really hoping that this was an indication that things were swinging back in that direction with Apple too so I’m really disappointed to see zero official NVidia options at WWDC.
  • On a more positive note, at least Apple is starting to show us a few things on the pro side and seems to be getting that they need a bit more transparency there. At least we’re hearing that a new Mac Pro will be coming, we’re seeing an iMac Pro well in advance of it being available. I do like this trend overall, it’s just feeling a little too little too late.

MPG: these are all good points.

Blazing-fast PCIe storage for Mac Pro Tower

Apple’s Memory Prices Insanely High As Usual: Save a Bundle by Ordering 8GB Config in Mid-2017 iMac 5K

Save money on memory for all upgradeable Macs at OWC.

Get iMac 5K at B&H Photo.

Pricing by Apple for iMac 5K memory of +$1400 bodes ill for what 64GB or 128GB will cost for the iMac Pro (due out in December 2017). It’s not clear if the iMac Pro memory can be upgraded—reader David B points out that the cutaway on the Apple site shows 4 internal memory DIMMS. At the least that imples a problematic upgrade process (heat gun to take off the rear case). It’s also possible that Apple will solder on the memory in shipping systems.

Unlike the pro model, the mid-2017 iMac 5K has four memory slots, so that you can save about $820 on 64GB memory for the iMac 5K.

Click here save about $800 on 64GB memory for 2017 iMac 5K.

+$1400 for 64GB of iMac 5K memory
64GB of iMac 5K memory for about $580
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.
Storage Wishlist…

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