2021, Allison Sheridan
NosillaCast Apple Podcast

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[0:00] Music.

[0:12] And this is show number 939. It's not going to be too long of a show this week, but it's going to be all me talking all the time. So why don't we get started?

My Never-Ending Battery Problems with my M1 MacBook Pro

[0:22] In October of 2021, I threw my money as fast as I could at Apple to get my hands on the new 14 inch M1 MacBook Pro.
When it arrived, it was as glorious as I'd hoped. Made me happy that my 16 inch MacBook Pro, which was only two years old, went into the hands of my daughter, Lindsay, and that she loves it as well.
I kept my older 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro as a backup.
Sadly, after only a few months, I started noticing that my battery was draining really quickly for an M1.
Instead of getting the 11 hours on wireless web that was touted on the sales page, and frankly reported by everyone else with the new M1 MacBook Pro, I was getting far less.

[1:02] I battled the problem on my own for a while because who really wants to make a trip to the table of sadness or even the phone call of sadness?
By March of 2022, I couldn't stand it anymore, and I started working with Apple.
We went through all of the usual hoops up to and including doing an over-the-top install of macOS.
I didn't do a clean install because I'd done a clean install when I got the machine only five months earlier.
I battled this ever-worsening problem until finally in August of 2022, when I convinced Apple to replace the battery.
By that time, it was losing 50% in five hours when I wasn't even using it.
The battery capacity had dropped from 100% to the low 90s. I was sure glad I had the spare of a 2016 MacBook Pro to use while my baby was gone getting a new heart.
When I got the 14-inch back, they had wiped the drive. Not quite sure why they had to do that, but you always have to assume Apple will whenever they do any repair.
So here I was, not even a year later, doing yet another clean install.
Now remember, when I do a clean install, it is a squeaky clean install.
I installed every single application from scratch and I didn't I didn't move over any kind of settings or anything.
All I did was move my data and I downloaded everything fresh from the web.
So it was a truly cleaning stall.

[2:19] My joy at a fresh battery waned quickly enough. By the beginning of this year, the battery was yet again draining quickly. When using the Mac on battery while doodling around on the web in the morning, I was losing around 15% per hour. While that calculates out to 6.5 hours, which would, have been amazing for an Intel-based Mac, it's merely 60% of what the specs say I should be getting. Again, I tried desperately to figure out what was wrong on my own. I took metrics at every change I made, I combed through console logs till my eyes were weary. I'm actually not sure I even bothered to look at those logs. I've never in my life been able to find the root cause of a problem by looking at console logs, but you know a geek's gotta try. Recently, things took a dramatic change for the worse. We were back to this problem of the battery plummeting while asleep. And by plummeting, I mean again losing 50% overnight. It was time to begin the horror that is calling for tech support.
Now, AppleCare really is pretty good, but it's so emotionally draining to have to talk to people on the phone at all, and then to convince them to care about your problems is even worse.
I started with Oshana, and she escalated me to senior advisor Camila.
I explained to Camila that my 5-month-old battery was down to 95% capacity, and it was draining while using it and while it was asleep.
She tried to convince me that 95% battery capacity of five months was completely normal.

[3:42] However, she did agree to run hardware diagnostics, but as usual, that revealed no problems with the hardware.
As a long shot, I even went to the Apple store and I spent time at the table of sadness with Carlos.
He was sympathetic, but his hardware tests also couldn't find anything wrong.
After I recovered from my visit to the Apple store, I called Apple again and I talked to Felicia who forwarded me to Senior Advisor Karim.
I spent more time on hold working with him than I enjoyed, but we worked on my problem for an hour and 42 minutes total. I gave him piles of diagnostics, from spin dumps to console logs, screenshots of my battery drain, and he bundled that all up with his hardware diagnostics and sent it off to engineering. He said he'd call me back in five days. Kareem didn't call me back. After a week of waiting for Kareem, I called AppleCare again and I got Senior Advisor Michael when I called back on April 20th. Let the record show that I called Apple on my birthday for crying out loud.
Michael told me something interesting.
He told me that engineering had studied all the logs and found that my Mac was waking every minute throughout the night.
My Mac basically has sleep apnea. Michael at this point was the first person I'd talked to who said that I should be getting far better battery life than losing 15% per hour.
I liked Michael.

[5:00] He asked me a few questions, one of which was very curious. Engineering wanted to know if the problem happened on other networks.
I told him I was pretty sure it does, but I wasn't completely sure.
He took more data from me and said he'd call me back in a week when engineering should have gotten back to me with more ideas.
Michael didn't call me back.

[5:18] On May 1st, I called back to Apple and asked Burnell to get me to another senior advisor.
I was rewarded with my favorite advisor so far, Margo.

[5:28] Why do I like Margo so much? Because she's the first person to say that my battery capacity dropping to 94% in seven months is not normal. So Michael said losing 15% per hour isn't normal, and Margot says having the battery capacity drop so much is also not normal.
Throughout all of these shenanigans, I've had the feeling that the root cause had to be something I've done. Some piece of software, some automation, some combination of tools that only I could dream up had caused my problems. But Margo had new feedback from engineering, and they are not asking any questions about software. Instead, they asked me to run a series of tests.

[6:06] Now, when I wrote up the article for the web, I did not yet have my answers to these questions, but I did finish all of the tests today, so I'm going to be able to answer these questions live here on the show. Well, you're hearing it recorded, but the live audience is hearing it live.
So the first question was, does this issue continue with PowerNAP disabled?

[6:24] No, this is an Apple Silicon Mac, and PowerNAP is only available on Intel.
Second question, does this issue persist on multiple known good networks?
Now, this was a little harder than I thought it would be. I finally ended up getting my neighbor to let me jump onto his network.
He's got four, three Eros in a very small house, and one of them is right outside my kitchen window.
So I was able to work on my laptop in the kitchen and test it.
And yes, the issue does still persist. I was able to measure 15% per hour while I was using it.
The next question was, does the issue persist with iCloud disabled?
Now actually, I changed to doing this one very close to the end.
And when I was talking to Margo, I told her, I said, you're going to have to give me your firstborn son to get me to convince me to turn off iCloud because my whole photo's problem." And she said, oh, you know, he's 30 and he's, I mean, he's cute, but I don't think you're really going to want him. But anyway, I did decide to test with iCloud disabled and I measured 12 to 15 percent per hour lost while using it with no iCloud. And I also had it sleeping for an hour or two, but it would, sometimes it would lose only like zero percent or have no loss whatsoever in an hour or two, but overnight it lost 9%.
So not quite as bad as it was losing overnight without iCloud on.

[7:46] They also asked, does the issue continue with all sharing services disabled in system settings sharing?
And I do have three things on, let's see, it's, I definitely have remote login and file sharing, and I forget what the third one was, but I turned all three of those off, and I was again able to measure 15% loss in just one hour.
They asked whether the issue persists with Time Machine disabled.
Well, I don't use Time Machine, I use Carbon Copy Cloner and Backblaze, so the answer is yes, happens with the time machine disabled.
They asked, did the issue persist with Wi-Fi disabled? Now, that's a really hard question to answer.
How do you use a computer nowadays with Wi-Fi disabled?
I thought, oh, well, you know what? I'll work on some programming, but it turns out everything I've got is all talking to the Internet, everything I'm working on, so none of that could work.
I thought, I know I could read a book, I could open the Kindle app, I'm in the middle of a great book that Lindsay recommended, I'll just read my book, but it wasn't downloaded to my laptop yet, and I'd already started the testing.
So what I did was I wrote up this article because I figured I had a lot of time to write while I was just, you know, waiting for this hour to go by and to test it.

[8:57] Now, it was interesting with Wi-Fi off, I did get better battery life.
I lost 11% in an hour, which isn't great. It isn't meeting the metric that it should meet.
It's better than without, but you know, you're turning off a radio.
So it should do a lot better than that, I think.
They asked whether the issue persists with the peripherals disconnected.
And all of these tests, every time I'm using it off power, it's always got the peripherals disconnected.
So yes, the problem does occur with that.
Finally, they asked, does the issue continue with all internet accounts removed?
So when you remove your internet accounts, you basically can't get to your mail.
And the problem was 16% hour lost while I was using it with internet accounts removed, and I lost 9% during six hours of sleep.
So all of that, basically, yes, no matter what I do, Wi-Fi was better, but everything else, the problem still persisted.
But I didn't have a very major observation on this. I had to run these tests several times because I figured out.

[9:59] That if I had the battery fully charged to 100%, the loss is much less per hour.
So if I started the test at 100%, I might lose 11, 10, or 11, or 12%.
But if I start at, say, 85%, I would definitely lose 15% per hour, or even 16% per hour.
So I thought that was really interesting. I don't know if there's some bad reporting at the beginning of a battery drain, or if that's part of this problem, that I only have 94% battery capacity.
I don't know, but that seems to be important. to the experiment.
So I did spend basically the better part of this week doing all of these battery tests, and I'm supposed to have a call back from Margo on Monday.
And she also told me something really interesting. She said, don't call back and ask for a senior advisor, because if you do, I lose control of the case, and I really want to stick with you and solve this.
So fingers crossed that Margo will call me back on Monday. Um, but, but in the meantime, while I wait for Margo to call back, I came up with the workaround.
I bought a refurbished M2 MacBook Air. Guess what? The battery life is as glorious as they say.

[11:08] I'm going literally a couple of days without charging this little beauty.
I bought it in fingerprint magnet blue, or what Apple call midnight. It's just as gorgeous as they say, and it gathers fingerprints just as quickly as they say. I actually have trouble keeping it clean or even getting it clean because a simple damp cloth leaves streaks on the surface, but it's really pretty when it's cleaned up.
I was very curious whether I could really tell the difference in weight between the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Air is only 13 ounces lighter, but that's actually 23% lighter than the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Air is less than a quarter of an inch thinner, but that's 27% thinner and it's also very noticeable.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro is so much better to carry around than my 16-inch MacBook Pro, but the MacBook Air is even more delightful to hold in your hand and carry it around the house.

[12:02] Now I do find it a bit annoying to only have two USB-C Thunderbolt ports on the MacBook Air and especially to have both of them on the left with the MagSafe connector.
Having Thunderbolt ports on both sides for peripherals and especially for charging is much better with the MacBook Pro. I chose the 35-watt power supply with the two USB-C ports for the MacBook Air, and it is absolutely adorable. The MagSafe cable is dark blue woven material that looks really nifty too. I'm used to lugging a 100 watt power supply around for the Pro MacBooks, but the 35 watt power supply is about as small as a proper GaN charger, you know, the little gallium nitride chargers. By the way, why hasn't Apple gotten on the GaN bandwagon yet anyway? We should be bothering them about that. Well, here's two fun charging anecdotes for the MacBook Air. Using my ginormous 100 watt Apple charger, the MacBook Air charged from 14% to 92% in just an hour and 10 minutes. I thought that was pretty amazing. Now another time, I had the MacBook Air on the counter in my bathroom where I charged my iPad Pro.
I was able to fully charge the MacBook Air overnight using the 20 watt power supply of the iPad Pro. It was up to 100% by the morning. I know that's a slow way to charge, but you know, You know, with 12 hours defeated, it worked great.

[13:23] The keyboard on the MacBook Air is a little bit stiffer to press, which makes it feel like I'm doing more work when I type. And the keys kind of make a faintly sticky sound that I don't really find pleasing. I don't hate it, but I prefer the keyboard on the MacBook Pro for sure.
Now, it was suggested by someone, I forget who, that I might be disappointed with the display on the MacBook Air after more than a year with the amazing screen on the MacBook Pro.
I gotta say, I haven't noticed any difference at all. There is a difference, but I don't really see it. The screen size of the MacBook Air is only a smidge smaller at 13.6 inches versus 14.2. The MacBook Air has an LED backlit display with IPS technology, while the MacBook Pro has the Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion.

[14:09] I tried really hard to look at the two side by side, different kinds of things like images, scrolling text by really quickly, but to be perfectly honest, I don't think I can see the difference. I've always known that I'm not worthy of my Pro Display XDR and I guess this proves it if I can't tell the difference on a laptop. I'm not sure what place the MacBook Air will have in my life going forward. Will it be my doodle around on the internet while in bed with my morning coffee machine? Will it be my TV watching device on the couch in the evenings? Will it be my throw it in my bag just in case Mac for when I go to a friend's house? Will it be my road Mac?
What if I discover that it can actually do the live show, and I wasted a lot of money buying a Pro Max MacBook Pro?
That's kind of scary to think about, but I'm going to test it.
I'm also still working on how to replicate the environment I have on the MacBook Pro.
I know other people live happy two-computer lifestyles, but I still haven't settled on what should be only done on the MacBook Pro, and what can be done on either Mac.
The most important thing is that I can start my blog posts on either Mac, since I use Bear for my rough drafts, and it syncs beautifully via iCloud.

[15:18] But my final posts are done in MarsEdit, and MarsEdit doesn't have any kind of syncing when a blog post is in draft mode. To use MarsEdit on 2Macs, I'd have to always push the drafts to my blog and remember to refresh before starting to work on it again on either one. If you're a programmer, it's like using Git to work on the same project on 2Macs.
Pull first, make changes, then push. It's not hard, but it takes some discipline.

[15:44] Most of my other crucial tools either sync through iCloud or don't require syncing and it'll be great fun to figure out what I can do with the new MacBook Air.
I'm hoping to get to parity between the machines eventually, but it'll probably take a while.

[15:56] I do have another excuse for buying the MacBook Air. While I did save $260 by going with a refurb from Apple that was on a 2TB model, that still doesn't justify dropping $2,500 using AppleCare, or including AppleCare, I should say.
Remember, I had a 2016 MacBook Pro, the 15-inch, and Steve has a 13-inch 2016 MacBook Pro.
So we both have them as our backups.
But 2016 Intel MacBook Pros cannot run macOS Ventura. It might not sound like a big deal to stay on macOS Monterey for most people, but we have embraced shared photo libraries in macOS Ventura, and those Macs don't get any of our shared photos.
I looked at trade-in prices at Apple to trade them in to buy the MacBook Air, And while I know they normally are low-ball prices, they were absurdly low for these two Macs.
They were both Intel i7s with a lot of RAM. Mine had 32 gig, and they had big SSDs.
Mine had two terabytes and Steve had one terabyte.
So they low-balled them. They gave us, what did they offer?
So I think it was $165 for Steve, $170 for mine.
So we decided to try selling them locally instead.
I sold mine in one day for $400 through a local Mac user group.
Steve sold his in $400 in two days through Facebook Marketplace.

[17:20] Now, it's always important to remember that your next Mac isn't really as expensive as it looks since your previous Mac will have high resale value.
What seven-year-old Windows PC would be worth $400?

[17:33] So I can now justify the M2 MacBook Air with 16 gigs of RAM and two terabytes of disk because after selling our two spare Macs, hey, it only cost me $1,700.
While Oshana, Camila, Carlos, Felicia, Kareem, Michael, Brunel, and now Margo have all tried to help me fix my MacBook Pro's battery woes, I find myself happily playing with my M2 MacBook Air.

Boogie Board Reusable Writing/Drawing Tablets for Work and Play

[17:57] I'd like to tell you about a little tech gadget that won't have you moaning about what I did to your wallet this time. It's called Boogie Board, and it's not the kind you use to ride ocean waves.

[18:07] Boogie Board is a whole lineup of thin, rewritable tablets. Think of Boogie Board as a place to just jot down a quick note while on a phone call, and then when you take action on that note, you can click a button to clear the screen. If you're old enough, you may remember the Hasbro Magic Slate paper saver. Remember that thing where it was a thin film and you could write on it and it kind of made an impression and it turned dark where you write and then you could peel it up and it would erase? Boogie Board is kind of the reincarnation of that idea, except it doesn't wear out like the Magic Slate. It's much more modern. The Boogie Board I have is the Jot Writing Tablet in Jot Pink, of course, for $25 from It's eight and a half inches tall, five and a half inches wide, and it's only about an eighth of an inch thick, like three millimeters. It's really, really thin. It's also super light. I weighed it and it weighed 3.8 ounces. It comes with a small plastic stylus that clips into a little slot below the screen.
If you misplace the stylus, you can actually write on any boogie board with your fingernail.

[19:12] I also got the neoprene sleeve for the JotWriting tablet, which was another $10.
$10. I like the sleeve because it ensures the stylus stays in place and it protects the screen when I carry it around.
When you scribble your notes and drawings on the Jot Boogie Board, the text is a light turquoise color. It's legible, but it's not super crisp as you'd expect from a full-screen tablet like an iPad. Then again, it's $25, it's 3mm thick, and its whole job is to be erased after writing.

[19:43] The back of the JotWriting tablet has two magnets so you can stick it to the fridge and write reminders to the family. After you no longer need the note or drawing you created on Boogie Board, you simply click the button at the top and your Boogie Board is perfectly clear again.
This does mean you need to make sure not to click it until you're sure you've finished with the information.
One day I was using it and I had it upside down so the button was at the bottom and I, accidentally clicked the erase button with my palm.
I won't make that mistake again, I hope.
Well, the one thing I wish Boogie Boards had was the ability to erase just part of what I've written. The Blackboard line of Boogie Boards does, in theory, allow you to erase part of the screen. I bought the note-sized version of Boogie Boards Blackboard Smart Scan Reusable Notebook, which runs $30. It's slightly larger with a 5.5 inch by 7.25 inch screen, and it sports a heftier stylus with an eraser. The stylus sticks to the Blackboard magnetically. That sounds like a good thing, but I often pick up the blackboard only to find the stylus has gotten knocked off.
I don't lose track of the stylus on the Jot nearly as often since it clicks into that little slot.

[20:52] Now, I was actually disappointed in the blackboard's eraser capabilities. It has this rather involved calibration process where you write a list of numbers down the screen and then you click two buttons on the top, erasing one number each time you click the buttons.
When you start, the eraser just kind of smudges over the numbers.
And that doesn't look very good, but each time you click the two buttons, the text gets slightly dimmer, which also makes the smudging dimmer.
You're instructed to keep clicking and testing Erasure until you get down to an acceptable balance of dimness of your text and lack of smudginess from erasing.
In my experiments, I never found what I would call an acceptable balance.
I want the displayed writing to remain bright and the eraser to completely erase what I've written and that's not really how this works.
I talked to customer support and a lovely gentleman named Chris helped to make sure I was following the process correctly.
When he determined I was following the steps but wasn't happy with the results, he offered to send me a different boogie board to replace the blackboard and didn't make me send back the blackboard.
That's how I ended up with the Jot, which I find quite pleasing.

[21:57] But here's the interesting thing. There's something I really like about the Blackboard that has led me to use it pretty often in spite of not being able to erase.
The Blackboard's display is actually semi-transparent, unlike the fully opaque display of the Jot. On the back of the Blackboard, you can slide in different templates to change the background. It comes with two pieces of stiff, plastic-coated paper.
One has a grid of dots on the black background, and the flip side is solid black.
The second one has white grid lines on black, and on the flip side it has white lines on black.

[22:29] With all of these options, the Blackboard Boogie Board has become our tool of choice to use when playing card games. We have this new game from Steve's mom called Wii C, O-U-I-S-I, in which you lay out a series of cards with pictures on them in a 5x5 grid.
As the dealer, you choose 5 cards that you're trying to get the other players to guess by by saying just one word to describe them.
You have to keep track of which cards you choose, which is harder than you would think to remember which five.
We use the Blackboard with its grid background to mark off the cards for each round.
It's easily cleared with a click of the button as the dealer position rotates amongst the players.
I know that seems like a very specialized use case, but it's perfect for the job.
We even brought the Blackboard with us on vacation to wine country recently because it was so much easier than trying to find a scrap of paper and a pencil.
I lost the stylus in the back of Steve's car because it fell off the magnet.
And Steve's car is black and the pencil is black too.
And we ended up using my Apple Pencil on the blackboard during the trip until I discovered the stylus was in the trunk.
Luckily, the Apple Pencil hadn't fallen off my iPad like it usually does when traveling too because it's held on by a magnet.
Because the blackboard is translucent, the writing on it isn't quite as bright as the Jot, but those changeable templates give it value for me.
I guess I should confess to Chris that I'm using both of the boogie boards.

[23:53] Now, before I ever bought a boogie board for myself, I bought two of them for two of my grandkids. Forbes was six at the time, so I bought him the Jot Kids writing tablet for $25.
It's very similar to my Jot tablet, but it comes with a plastic protective cover, which seems like a good idea with kids.
The only downside is that the Jot Kids only came in blue or orange, and I know he would prefer my hot pink version.

[24:18] Sienna was barely two, so I bought her the Scribble and Play Kids Drawing Tablet for $30. The Scribble and Play is very different from the other boogie boards.
Attached at the top and bottom are four thick styluses for drawing different kinds of patterns on the screen. They've got little bumps, so they make different patterns.
When you drag these styluses across the screen, instead of leaving just a single color mark like on other boogie boards, they draw a rainbow pattern.
It's great fun for the wee ones to create unique, colorful drawings every time.
And with both kids, I was amazed at how quickly and happily they erased their masterpieces.
Personally, I feel a certain attachment to anything I've created, but the kids don't seem to have any regrets when they gleefully press the button and start over.
It actually seems to be the best feature of the Boogie Board to them.
Now, Boogie Board also sell accident protection for their devices at $5.50 for two years, so I decided to buy it for the kids' Boogie Boards.
So far, in more than a year of use, they haven't broken them, so I haven't had to exercise the warranty. If you're a parent of small children and you want to keep them entertained while in a restaurant, but you're resisting the temptation to hand them a phone and watch them turn into zombies, you might find the boogie boards for kids to do the trick. They're, a small and light addition to a diaper bag when you're going out. I know my kids love having these for their children.

[25:35] You may be wondering what powers the boogie board line of tablets. They have a thin, replaceable battery inside a nearly hidden little door. I only know that door is there because I went looking for it, or I never would have noticed it.

[25:49] I said at the beginning that Boogie Board has a vast selection of tablets and I was not kidding.
I've described Boogie Boards that are more for casual use, but they also sell them for work environments. They sell a professional version of the Blackboard for $140 that uses a smart pen that allows you to transfer your notes through your Bluetooth connected devices. Now I do want to make a point, someone on Mastodon that I tooted about this article, they said the Black, the, sorry, Boogie Board doesn't ship to Europe, so you might need to check in your country to see whether you can get these, because the person really wanted to get that smart pen.
Anyway, Boogie Board even sells tablets pretty much for every need in between the ones for little kids and these higher-end business ones. They even sell the technology in what I would call reusable sticky notes. They call them VersaNotes, and they're small round squares of the same thin film material as the tablets, but in different colors. Each has a tiny button in the corner so you can erase the note, and behind that button is a magnet so you can put these on a refrigerator, a file cabinet, or maybe a magnetic whiteboard. The 4x4 inch starter pack comes with four different colored VersaNotes for $25 and they come with a stylus. You can, buy more expansion packs of four more without the stylus for $17. You can also get VersaNotes of 4x6 inch size for a little bit more money. I haven't tried them, but they look pretty nifty.

[27:14] Boogie Board have so many more options that I've even described here. I highly encourage you to go to and check out all of the kid and grown-up versions of this useful technology.
The best way I can describe how delightful Boogie Boards are is via this anecdote.
We had our friends Diane and Bill over recently, and we played the game I described earlier.
When I showed them the Boogie Board to do the scoring, Diane's reaction was, was, why have you never told me about boogie boards before now?

Support the Show

[27:42] I'd like to make a special shout out this week to Tim Jenvik. He's been a patron of the Podfeet podcast for a very long time, but something broke all of his scheduled payments to different services. Now, you know how that when that happens, it'd be really easy to just let the support of the show slide, but instead he made a point of going back to slash Patreon and recommitting to support the work we do here. That means a lot to me. That is an extra effort. It's It's not accidentally still giving some donation to keep the show going.
He did it on purpose the second time.
Anyway, if you'd like to be cool like Tim, go to slash Patreon and become a patron today.

ICloud is Appleā€™s Superpower

[28:23] ICloud is Apple's superpower. I've been planning on writing up how much I take advantage of all of the integrations Apple give us between our devices.
The subject came at even sharper focus when I was conducting these experiments at Apple engineering's behest to solve my pesky battery problems on my M1 MacBook Pro.
Like I said before, the most annoying experiment they had me do was to sign out of iCloud and then check the battery drain.
I knew it would be torture, if only because it takes nearly a week for my Mac to regain access to all of my photos, but I didn't really think about how much doesn't work when you're signed out of iCloud.
As you might expect, I lost access to my Apple ID email. I recently converted my personal domain email over to iCloud as well, which means mail lost access to my email as well.
The only email I see is my Gmail account, and that's not used much for more than some Google services and I get notifications from my website.

[29:23] Now, I'm not a big fan of Apple's Messages app, and I vastly prefer Telegram, but a few of my friends, like David Roth, and some of my family still use Messages.
Warned on their support page that signing out of iCloud will stop iCloud's syncing of messages, but I was really surprised that it completely logged me out of messages altogether.
Oh well, guess I just wouldn't chat with those folks while I was doing that experiment.
One of the slickest parts of throwing money at Apple for iCloud Plus is that you can sync your documents and desktop across all of your devices. Until recently, I primarily used one Mac, but more than once it's been super handy to get to my files on the road from my iPad or iPhone.
Using the Files app, I can browse my documents and desktop just as easily as I could browse Dropbox or Google Drive. I keep my weekly podcast files in my Documents folder, which meant when I was signed out of iCloud, I literally could not work on the podcast.
I couldn't get to my audio files, I couldn't get to screenshots for blog articles, and I couldn't get to listener contributions.
I felt like I was working with both hands tied behind my back.

[30:33] Now, my friends and family are big fans of Find My and especially Find Friends.
Sure, it's great to track my devices, like with air tags at an airport, but really often I use it as a way to find out if now would be a good time to call someone.
If I look at Find My and I see Bart is on a mountain, it's probably not a good time to ping him with a question.
If I'm going on a walk and I see that Pat Dengler is at Disneyland, I probably won't call her to entertain me.
If I see Lindsay's on her drive home, I will call her so we can entertain each other.
Kyle has a gruesome commute, so if I time things properly, I can call him when he's on the most boring part of his drive to keep him awake.
It's also fun to see when our buddy Ron is someplace wild like when he was in Easter Island this week and you're doing that using Find Friends.
But you know what? When I was signed out of iCloud, I couldn't see anything in Find My.
It made sense, but I missed it.

[31:27] My calendar was empty too. I felt like I had nothing to do. My contacts were empty. I felt like I had no friends. I had no reminders. So I just took a nap. I'd been tracking the progress of my battery tests in Apple Notes, but guess what was empty then? Yeah, I had zero notes available. I had some out-of-date apps from the Mac App Store, but I couldn't do anything about it because I would have to sign into iCloud to get back into that.
You can't even unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch if you have iCloud turned off.
Apple has vastly improved iCloud syncing for third-party apps in recent years.
I used to hear the developers complaining all the time about how janky it was, and they would always get blamed if iCloud syncing messed up.
But no longer do I hear developers complaining about that. In fact, more and more of my apps offer iCloud syncing so the developers don't have to manage their own syncing services.
When I'm signed out of iCloud, that meant that a whole bunch of my apps were far less useful.
I use KeepIt from Reinvented Software as my storage for my brain.
It's kind of like an Evernote replacement.

[32:37] Every little nuance I learn in programming by stealth gets stored in KeepIt.
It has all of my podcast logos.
It's the canonical source of all the jingles for my podcast.
I keep notes in there when I'm working on my podcast. Every little tweak of my OS is recorded in KeepIt.
And KeepIt syncs through iCloud. That's been great because I can get to all of this information in the mobile version of KeepIt.
When I opened Keepit after turning off iCloud, my only choices were to open the app or try again, turn off iCloud, or quit.
I kind of had a bad feeling about what happened when I turned iCloud back on, but it actually worked okay.

[33:15] I used CopyM as my clipboard manager, and while it still worked while signed out of iCloud, this one Mac was on an island of its own.
I can't copy something on that Mac and then use CopyM on my iPad or iPhone or second Mac to paste.
Keyboard Maestro seems unperturbed by the lack of iCloud, but it was also stuck in a static configuration until iCloud syncing is back.
I hope it was okay. It seemed to come back normally, but if iCloud didn't exist at all, that would make using Keyboard Maestro across two different Macs really difficult.
I write all of the blog articles for in Bear for two reasons.
One because it supports Text Expander even on iOS, so I could write on my iPad and use my beloved text expander, but the second reason is because it syncs through iCloud, so I can seamlessly jump from my Mac to my iPad and back, and now to my new Mac. Guess what didn't and sync up my MacBook Pro during the test.
The very article I'm telling you about right now.

[34:15] I was wondering whether there was any way to find out how many of my apps and which ones used iCloud syncing. It turns out if you open System Settings in macOS Ventura to iCloud and then select iCloud Drive, you get a pop-up menu where you can enable syncing of iCloud Drive and also Desktop and Documents. But that same window now has a notice that says.

[34:38] Apps syncing to iCloud Drive. If you select it, you can see all of the iCloud syncing apps you're you're using. I have 40 of them. That's how big iCloud syncing is for the Mac these days.
If you're a relatively novice user, you may not realize how powerful Apple's Continuity platform is. Continuity is this very broad term that encompasses a whole host of amazing integrations between Apple devices, and they all depend on iCloud. I think Apple's tagline for continuity is actually spot on. All your devices, one seamless experience.
So let's go through a couple of continuity features I use all the time and which were gone from my life when iCloud was disabled during my battery tests.
I find it super handy to copy something on one device and paste it on another device.
I mentioned that with my Clipboard Manager, but I also use it for just single copy and paste. Maybe I find a link on my iPhone to an article I want to read. I can just copy it from the iPhone and paste it into the URL bar of my Mac. Maybe I take a screenshot on my Mac and I want to paste it into an app on my iPad. I use this feature constantly.
When I was setting up the new iPad, I copied some fonts from one. I just selected the fonts in the right folder, hit copy, went over to the new Mac and hit paste. The fonts are now now on the new Mac.

[36:02] While I was writing this article on the MacBook Air, I was taking screenshots of how weird the MacBook Pro looks with all those iCloud errors.
But you know what? I couldn't paste them onto the MacBook Air because there's no continuity without iCloud.
I can't save the screenshots to my Documents folder either because my documents are all gone without iCloud.
I might have to resort to saving to Dropbox for some of this.
And I did a little bit of that, but I basically abandoned the images because it was just too hard, because I was going to end up with a big mess to clean up when I got my MacBook Pro back on iCloud.

[36:37] As recently as six months ago, when I needed to scan a document, I would ask Steve to use his fancy pants scanner and then transfer the document to me, or I'd use a dedicated scanner app on my iPhone.
Even with a dedicated app, it took a lot of steps. I had to launch the app, tap the plus button, scan in the document, hit the save button, then tell it to download to my Mac.
I had the files downloaded to a holding cell on my Mac, and then I'd have to move them to their final resting place.
I finally got on the continuity bandwagon, and I started using the built-in tools of the iPhone to accomplish this task. I should say built into the iPhone and the Mac.
So now let's say I need a receipt scanned into my financial folder.
If I start in that folder, I can right-click in the Finder window, choose Import from iPhone, and then Scan Documents.
As soon as I do that, instantly, the iPhone is in scanner mode.
You hold the iPhone over the document and it automatically captures just the document.
Tap the scan, hit save, and the iPhone gets itself out of scanner mode and the file is instantly saved to your folder on your Mac.
It's truly magical and it is so much easier.
Without being signed into iCloud, that feature doesn't exist.

[37:53] Now, I've not really gotten onto the focus modes bandwagon like some of my friends, but I do use Do Not Disturb on a regular basis. When I'm recording a podcast, I surely don't want my phone ringing or notifications popping up. With Continuity, I can select Do Not Disturb on any one of my devices and all of them flip to Do Not Disturb.
I can use my Apple Watch, my iPhone, my iPad, or my Mac to make this happen across all of my devices. But sadly, Do Not Disturb doesn't propagate to a device that isn't signed into iCloud.
Now there's a lot more continuity features out there, but to be honest, I've not become dependent on them. While it's slick to be able to use an iPad to extend the desktop of your Mac, I still find it unreliable over Wi-Fi. And if I plug the iPad into my Mac, the iPad will actually drain the Mac's battery to charge itself. I don't know how to have it not do that. Maybe a data-only cable. Maybe I should see if I can find a data-only USB-C cable. I wonder if that would work. Anyway, the iPad just sucks the max battery dry, and that's not exactly what I'm looking for right now.
But in any case, this feature depends on iCloud too.

[39:06] One of the coolest new features in Continuity is Continuity Camera. But for the life of me, I can't get my iPhone to act as a camera consistently either. When it works, the image is glorious, but this is one of those features that you can't invoke with any kind of incantation.
So when it's not in the mood, you just can't use it. Other people seem to be fine with it, so I don't know. Maybe it's something I'm doing wrong, but it doesn't matter because because when my Mac isn't signed into iCloud, the iPhone's camera is definitely not in the mood.
Now the one saving grace was that I was still able to go to and access a lot of my data.
I could send and receive both my Apple ID email and my email from
I was able to see my calendar, I could find my contacts, and I could review my reminders.
I was able to see my notes, and I could use Find My to track my devices, but I wasn't able to stalk my friends and family, so that was kind of a bummer.
I was able to see all of my photos inside as well.
Now it's comforting to see all of this in, but it's not the same as using the native apps.
The bottom line is that this experiment taught me that iCloud really is Apple's superpower, as I said up front, and I depend on that power quite a bit.
With a gun, I was really reminded of something the pod mom used to say, everyone goes when the whistle blows.

[40:31] Well, that is going to wind us up this week. Did you know you can email me at allison at any time you like?
I actually answer people. Well, when iCloud's not turned off, I do anyway.
If you have a question or a suggestion, a dumb question, you can send it on over.
You can follow me on Mastodon at podfeet at I am super active over there, having a great time.
Remember, everything good starts with If you want to join in the conversation, you can join our Slack at slash slack, where you can talk to me and all of the other lovely Nosilla castaways.
If you're listening to Programming by Stealth, that channel is super hot, lots of stuff going on, but the best channel is actually Delete Me because Alistair posts the best stuff in there.
It's a lot of fun. Anyway, you can support the show like Tim did at slash Patreon, or with, a one-time donation at slash PayPal.
And if you want to join in the fun of the live show, where for a couple of brief moments, actually had more women in the chat room than men, head on over to slash live at Sunday night's FIPM Pacific.

[41:33] Music.