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Ask TUAW: Syncing notes, iLife '09, iTunes downloads, keychains and more

Welcome back to Ask TUAW, our weekly Mac troubleshooting Q&A column. This week we've got questions about syncing notes, iLife '09, iTunes downloads, the importance of keychains and more.

As always, your suggestions and questions are welcome. Questions for next week should be left in the comments. When asking a question please include which machine you're running and which version of Mac OS X (we'll assume you're running Leopard on an Intel Mac if you don't specify). And now, on to the questions.

Scott asks


When I sync my iphone (3.0.1) with my Mac (10.5.8) and have "sync notes" checked in iTunes, I cannot find my notes synced anywhere in Mail.app - including under "Notes"...what am I missing?

To sync 'Notes' first make sure you have your iPhone connected to your Mac with iTunes open. Then, be sure to have "sync notes" checked in iTunes. Also, be sure to check "Sync Notes" in the MobleMe Sync options in System Preferences.

Then, sync your iPhone as normal. After that, check in Apple's Mail program under "Reminders" to see if the notes appear. You need to click on the little triangle to show the contents of Reminders. If they don't appear, close Mail and open it again. Also, restart your iPhone completely before trying another sync.

Also, keep in mind Notes sync works only via USB and not over the air. If you are not seeing notes appear, be sure you sync your iPhone via USB with your Mac or they won't appear at all. If the notes still don't appear in Apple Mail, it might be time to give a call to Apple tech support because at that point the problem may be something larger than the scope of what this column can answer.

Evan asks

I bought a new MacBook Pro last month, which came installed with Leopard and iLife '09. My purchase was within Apple's "Up-to-Date" program timeline, so I was able to order a copy of Snow Leopard for $9.95. I know Snow Leopard doesn't come with iLife '09 but considering my new computer already comes with iLife '09, I'm not going to have to re-buy iLife, am I?
The good news is that you already have iLife '09 so you won't have to buy it again. Installing Snow Leopard will in no way do anything to your existing install of iLife. The Snow Leopard box set is for people who want to upgrade to Snow Leopard and who have also not previously upgraded to iLife '09.

mok asks

How can I stop iTunes from downloading SD material when I've bought HD content? I am able to suspend the SD version downloading, however there is NO option anywhere for me to get rid of it. If I delete it from the download queue, it goes away, until I start downloading something else from the iTunes store. Then it comes back, and starts downloading again. There seems to be no way to stop it.

Unfortunately, this is a feature of ITunes and not a bug so there's no way of stopping it. When you purchase HD content in ITunes you are entitled to get the SD version as well so it will download even if you don't want it. You can pause it but it will resume again later.

The only way to permanently delete it from your download que, at least for the moment, is to contact iTunes tech support and have them remove it from your download que on their end.

Other than contacting Apple, you will have to end up doing what I do: download both versions and then delete the ones I don't want.

eyezberg asks

Hello, I'm about to switch to an MBP and was wondering what those Keychains are and why one would back them up?

The Keychain is a very important file which stores user names, passwords and other information so you don't have to remember them every time you want to do something requiring a user name or password. When moving from one machine to another its a great idea to also move your keychain from one machine to another. That way, you won't have to manually enter and save all your email, website and other user names and passwords again on the new machine.

Fortunately, if you use Apple's Migration Assistant to move from your old Mac to your new one the keychain will be brought along with the migration so you won't have to manually copy it to the new machine. As for backing up the keychain, you would want to do that for the same reason you want to back up anything else on your Mac: for safety and so if something bad happens you have quick access to your data and the ability to restore it so its not lost forever.

Tim asks

I recently upgraded from a black MacBook to a 13" MBP. I had iWork '09 preinstalled. I used Migration Assist. to move my data, and it did basically what you said--it did not overwrite the preinstalled iWork. However, now I have a copy of iWork '08 & a copy of '09 in my apps folder. Can I use something like AppCleaner to remove '08 without borking '09?

You don't need to do anything special to remove iWork '08. Just drag the entire iWork '08 folder to the trash and empty it. Then, enjoy iWork '09.

Romain asks

I'm planning to buy a 5-licenses family pack for Snow Leopard for my iMac and MacBook. My girlfriend has a MacBook Air, the first model. As her concerns are mainly about performance, I'm wondering if you think it will be worth upgrading for her. She will not benefit from OpenCL, so I'm just trying to evaluate if she will gain or lose performance when upgrading?

This is a question that's come up before and my answer remains the same. Snow Leopard will work just fine on the MacBook Air and you will get many of the benefits of it including the 64 bit architecture and resultant speed increase from that. If your girlfriend finds using the Macbook Air a pleasant experience at the moment with Leopard, upgrading to Snow Leopard will in no way mitigate that experience. In fact, it should improve it, at least slightly.

If you're already getting the family pack, you may as well be a good guy and upgrade her MacBook Air for her. She may not notice much difference in overall performance, but it certainly won't hurt to do it. Plus, its the nice thing to do.

Welcome back to Ask TUAW, our weekly Mac troubleshooting Q&A column. This week we've got questions about syncing notes, iLife '09,...