How to Enable or Disable Automatic Updates on Mac

These days enabling automatic updates has become the norm on practically every operating system. This has its benefits – you don’t have to manually download updates to apps and all critical security patches are downloaded automatically to your phone or computer.

Enabling automatic updates on a smartphone doesn’t really bother most people. Sometimes apps may start crashing after updates but by and large, apps continue to work as expected after updates. You’re also unlikely to be using a bunch of apps at the same time. However, that’s not true on a Mac or a PC.

At any point we’ve got at least eight apps open. Enabling automatic updates is convenient but not the best idea because apps have to be closed before installation can begin. That prompt tends to interrupt our workflow and we’d rather not deal with it in the middle of the work day.

First up, let’s figure out how to enable or disable automatic updates on Mac.

  1. Click the Apple logo on the top left and open System Preferences.
  2. Click on App Store. Now you’ll see a bunch of options dealing with automatic updates on macOS.
  3. To disable automatic updates, click on the tick mark next to Automatically check for updates to uncheck it, which is checked by default.
  4. To enable automatic updates, click the empty box next to Automatically check for updates. You’ll see a tick mark in the box now.

macos sierra auto update sc macOS Sierra

macOS automatic update options

That covers the basics. If you follow these steps, you will either enable or disable the system’s automatic checks for app and macOS updates. There are other options here that let you choose when you want to download and install updates.

The first option is Download available updates in the background. This is enabled by default and macOS automatically downloads all updates in the background and prompts you when they are ready to install. If you disable this, you’ll simply get a notification stating that updates are available. Downloading updates in the background is generally a good idea as you don’t have to wait for downloads to complete when you manually update. However, if you often use cellular data on your Mac, you might end up with a big data bill if you leave this option checked.

The second option is Install app updates and the third one is Install macOS updates. If you enable these both, the system will automatically install – not just download – all updates. We don’t recommend this for most people as it tends to interrupt what you’re doing and gives updates first priority. These options are not enabled by default.

The fourth option is Install system data files and security updates. This is also enabled by default and we recommend that you let it be enabled. It pushes critical security patches to your Mac as soon as they are available, so it’s best have this on at all times.

This should answer your queries around automatic updates on macOS. For OS updates, macOS also lets you automatically install them late at night when you aren’t using the machine. This option pops up as a notification to install updates when you are working, but you can snooze that and have the updates installed at night.

For more tutorials, visit our How To section.

How to Compress PDF Files and Reduce Size

Here’s a task we’ve all faced at some point in our lives – having to compress a PDF, be it to fit an arbitrary file size requirement, optimise for quick viewing, or save on data costs. There are several ways to go about doing so, depending on your platform, privacy needs, and how much time you have.

Online tools to compress PDF files for free

While this compression method is the easiest of the lot, it also presents the largest security risk, since your PDF file will be uploaded to the website’s servers. As a rule, you should completely avoid using free online tools for documents that contain personal, identifiable information, such as your Aadhaar, passport, and the like. On the other hand, if the information in the document is available to the public, the lack of privacy and security might not be a problem.

In such cases, you can look at one of the many options out there to compress your PDF file, with some of the popular ones being Smallpdf, iLovePDF, and PDF Compressor. Given an uncompressed 24MB document with words and images, the first three services performed about the same, giving out compressed PDF files around 1.12MB, 1.10MB, and 1.6MB respectively. With an alternative 5.55MB PDF, the results came to 319KB, 316KB, and 434KB.

In terms of user interface, Smallpdf looks like the best PDF file compression online service, but it restricts you to two files per hour, without payment. PDF Compressor is great if you need to convert multiple files in one go, as it’s the only one that allows selecting more than one file at a time.

Even then, you should rely on a service that carries a citation from a trusted authority. In the absence of a recommendation, it’s worth reading into the site’s privacy policy, and legal terms of use – such as this.

After you’ve done your share of research, the process to actually compress the PDF file(s) is similar for most websites:

  • Open the website, and select the PDF files you want to upload. On some websites, you might be able to drag and drop files.
  • Wait for the website to compress files, and then locate the download button. While some websites will let you directly download the files, others may send it to your email address.

Compress PDF files on Android and iOS

All the above online tools work across both computers and mobile devices. On Android, you can pull up PDF files from internal storage or cloud services on the file selection stage. With iOS, the PDF files must be stored on a supported cloud service – Dropbox, Google Drive, and the like. While some websites will hand you a zip file, others will open the compressed PDF right in your browser, which you can then send via the usual means.

Compress PDF files using Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a free PDF reader, but the PDF optimisation feature is available only as part of the paid Acrobat Pro subscription. If you’re willing to pony up more than a thousand bucks a month, here’s how it works:

  • Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.
  • Click Tools > Optimise PDF.
  • From the toolbar that appears above the PDF, choose Reduce File Size.
  • To get more control, head into Advanced Optimisation. Then click Audit space usage to see what page elements are taking up how much space.
  • Once you’re satisfied, press OK.
  • Go to File > Save As, and make a copy.

How to Compress PDF Files and Reduce SizeCompress PDF files for free on Windows

There are several free Windows software apps that will compress PDFs. One popular option is 4Dots Free PDF Compress, which supports everything from Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. There are two ways to use it.

Here’s how to compress PDF files using this Windows software via the right-click menu:

  • During installation, allow 4Dots to hook into Windows’ right-click menu.
  • Then locate the PDF file, and right-click on it.
  • Choose Compress PDF.

Alternatively, you can reduce PDF size by opening the app:

  • Open 4Dots Free PDF Compress.
  • Click *Add button, and select the files. You can also drag and drop them onto the app.
  • Select output folder, image quality, and hit Compress.

Compress PDF files for free on macOS

On macOS, you don’t need to download any app. The in-built Preview app can reduce file size of PDFs.

Here’s how to compress PDF files for free on Mac OS:

  • Open a PDF in Preview – for most people just double-clicking on the PDF file should do just that.
  • Select File > Export.
  • Under the Quartz Filter option, choose Reduce File Size.
  • Choose export location, and click save.

How to Block Pop-Ups in Chrome

The current state of the Web experience is far from ideal. Pop-ups are one of the biggest culprits, and they’re much more annoying on mobile, as opposed to the desktop. For one, they often take over the whole screen. And two, it’s not exactly convenient swiping them away with your fingers, unlike on a PC with a mouse.

Thankfully, most browsers like Chrome, Opera, UC Browser, and Firefox, offer a built-in pop-up blocker, which you can use to swat away the pesky stuff. Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers in India – across desktop, mobile, and tablet combined – and to block pop-ups with Chrome, simply follow these steps. Of course, none of the methods are completely fool-proof, so some pop-ups will inevitably squeeze their way in. Plus, websites are constantly developing new ways around these systems, which the developers then have to figure new methods for, so it’s a cat-and-mouse game.

Here’s how you can block pop-up in Chrome on Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS. We’ve also written about UC Browser, Firefox, and Opera, if you don’t use Chrome.

How to block pop-ups in Chrome (Android)

If you’d like to change the pop-up blocker setting on Chrome for Android, follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Tap the three vertical dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  3. Choose Settings > Site settings > Pop-ups.
  4. Turn on the toggle to allow pop-ups, or turn it off to block pop-ups.

popup chrome android Chrome popups Android

How to block pop-ups in Chrome (iPhone/ iPad)

If you’d like to change the pop-up blocker setting on Chrome for iOS, follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Tap the three vertical dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  3. Choose Settings > Content settings > Block Pop-ups.
  4. Turn on the toggle to allow pop-ups, or turn it off to block pop-ups.

How to block pop-ups in Chrome (Windows/ macOS/ Linux)

If you’d like to change the pop-up blocker setting on Chrome for desktop, follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the three vertical dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  3. Choose Settings.
  4. Scroll to the bottom, and click on Show advanced settings.
  5. Under Privacy, choose Content settings.
  6. Under Pop-ups, choose from the two options to allow or block pop-ups.

Have you had any trouble with pop-ups on Chrome? Share your questions via the comments below.

For more tutorials, visit our How-To section.

How to Block Pop-Ups in Firefox

Browsing on the Web on your phone or computer can become a fraught experience if you visit sites that throw a lot of pop-ups at you. It’s particularly bad on the mobile where it is hard to dismiss these. However, this is slowly becoming less of an issue, as most browsers now allow you to prevent pop-ups altogether. Firefox is the second-most popular desktop browser in India, and you can follow the below steps to block pop-ups with Firefox. We’ve also written about Chrome, UC Browser, and Opera, if you don’t use Firefox.

How to block pop-ups in Firefox (Windows/ macOS/ Linux)

If you’d like to block pop-ups on Firefox for desktop, follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click the hamburger menu button in the top-right corner, and choose Options.
  3. Choose Content in the left-hand side.
  4. Tick Block pop-up windows to block pop-ups, or untick to allow

How to block pop-ups in Firefox (Android)

If you’d like to block pop-ups on Firefox for Android, follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Type about:config in the address bar.
  3. Search for dom.disable_open_during_load.
  4. Set it to false to allow pop-ups, and true to block pop-ups.

How to block pop-ups in Firefox (iPhone/ iPad)

If you’d like to change the pop-up blocker setting on Firefox for iOS, follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Tap the hamburger menu button at the bottom.
  3. Swipe left, and then choose Settings.
  4. Turn on the toggle for Block Pop-up Windows to block pop-ups, or turn it off to allow pop-ups.

popup firefox ios Firefox popups

Have you had any trouble with pop-ups on Firefox? Share your questions via the comments below.

For more tutorials, visit our How-To section.