Helping senior with Apple Devices

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Jarhead38
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:32 am
Location: WDC Metro Area

Helping senior with Apple Devices

Post by Jarhead38 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:57 am

Hello to all,

I retired from my second job last week, that one as an IC, and volunteering with a local Retirement-In-Place community helping seniors with issues they are encountering on any Apple device. Sort of a last stop before the Genius Bar (a visit to which can be a problem for many of them as they no longer drive).

I have a new 1TB HDD in a USB case which I can take with me on house calls.

Could anyone be willing to offer suggestions on ways to set up this HDD in order to be able to connect it and run diagnostics on the computers of folks who require help?

Some thoughts come to mind:

Partition it and install one or more macOS, but which ones, on it? Heaven only knows how old some of the computers seniors might have are or what macOS they might be running. I thought High Sierra would be one good choice, but how far back to go for older macOS? Snow Leopard? El Capitan?

As for other tools to install on that HDD

These came to mind:
EtreCheck Pro
Carbon Copy Cloner
Disk Warrior.
Yasu
Onyx
App Cleaner
DetectX Swift
FindAnyFile
iStumbler
MacTracker
NetSpot
WirelessDiagnostics.app

Many thanks for any suggestions.
Confirmation bias: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that ain’t so. | - Mark Twain

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5th_Dimension
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Re: Helping senior with Apple Devices

Post by 5th_Dimension » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:28 pm

Kudos to you for spending your time volunteering to help seniors. :sharebeer

I work with many many seniors, both with Apple and Windows devices. My thoughts.

Please don't install any of those apps on their computers. If you would like to run them from your external hard drive fine. I am constantly cleaning senior's computers of apps that at best don't do anything and at worst are malware, placed there by well meaning friends or relatives. Install and run Malwarebytes, done.

Don't bother keeping older copies of MacOS operating systems. I used to do that to save on download times only to find the copies I had would no longer install because Apple had unsigned them. Just update to the latest operating system if you feel the need.

I haven't worked on a Snow Leopard machine in probably nine years. Surprisingly most of the seniors I deal with have very up to date systems. If they have Apple devices they spend money on them. I just helped a new senior client, 87 years old. He has a brand new fully loaded 15" MacBook Pro and both he and his wife have the new iPhone 10S.

You will spend most of your time cleaning up small issues and giving pointers on how the machines work. You won't be doing a lot of diagnostics.

Spend some time setting up the machines to make it easier for them to operate them. Increase the size of the cursor. On the Retina machines set the display to Default, not More Space. Enable right click. On MacBooks enable Tap to Click and Three Finger Drag.

Good luck :happy .
"My idea of rich is ordering the most expensive thing at Denny's"

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Topic Author
Jarhead38
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:32 am
Location: WDC Metro Area

Re: Helping senior with Apple Devices

Post by Jarhead38 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:02 pm

It wasn't my intention to install anything other than DetectX Swift which, I am informed on a Mac list to which I subscribe, is even better than Malwarebytes

If I do run across problems, as I am now doing with a senior friend I am helping long distance, being able to run, for instance, EtreCheck on their machines is a godsend. (His is running extremely slow and he is getting killed with beachballs. EtreCheck alerted us, inter alia, to a failing hard drive, a legacy Mac, orphaned files, and an OS so old that security updates from Apple are no longer supported on that Mac).

I could waste a lot time speculating here, so allow me to just ask you if you don't mind: using that external HDD connected to their Macs, how would I run EtreCheck, etc., targeted at the Mac of someone I am trying to help, should that become necessary?

I thought I would have to boot their Macs from whatever OS (High Sierra seems a likely candidate) I install on the external HDD, then run EtreCheck, DiskWarrior, etc.

THAT is a great idea (large cursors/contextual menus/three-finger drag/etc) and I will begin to prepare a list of things like that to show seniors I visit although, when I tried this once before, when I was semi-retired, I was disappointed at how very resistant many, but not all, seniors were about learning something as seemingly simple as contextual menus. My approach was often to point out that they had had successful careers in one field or another, had raised multiple children, etc., and ask them where they REALLY going to accept defeat at the hands of a dumb computer?

Thanks for taking the time to comment and instruct.
Confirmation bias: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that ain’t so. | - Mark Twain

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