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How To Export All Your iCloud Data and Documents

It’s not easy to export all your iCloud data and documents. There’s no single button to click to do this. If you want to quit iCloud, or archive all your data and documents, it’s a complex process. iCloud stores the following types of data and documents:

  • Documents, stored in iCloud Drive
  • Photos and videos
  • Email
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Safari bookmarks
  • Notes
  • iTunes purchases

Apple has a support document Archive or make copies of your iCloud data which explains how to export or copy all of this data. It’s not easy, and it will take a while, but this document will serve as a good template explaining how to do this for each type of data.

iCloud also stores data for third-party apps, and the only way you can access that data is through each individual app.

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How to Mass-Delete Tags in iTunes 12 When iTunes Won’t Let You

I ripped a few CDs yesterday, as I am wont to do. After ripping them, I saw that some had data in the year tag, which I did not want. I selected the tracks, pressed Command-I, and tried to delete that tag. I found that I could not do this.

In the past, if you selected such a tag and pressed Delete, and then clicked OK, that field would be deleted, across as many files as you selected. In the latest version of iTunes 12, this is not the case. (I’ve only tried this with the Year tag for now; it probably affects others as well.)

This only affects tags where tracks have different metadata. In my case, the year tags were different for many of the tracks on the same CD. If the year tags are all the same, there is no problem; you can delete them as before.

There are two solutions for this. The first is to use an AppleScript that Doug Adams wrote for a similar problem back in December, 2014: blanking the Genre tag in iTunes 12. Substitute “year” for “genre” in this script, select your tracks in iTunes, and then run the script; it will delete the Year tag.

The other, easier, solution, is to use Doug Adams’ $2 Multi-Item Edit. This app lets you edit most of the metadata for tracks in a single window, instead of flitting back and forth among the tabs of the Info window. It also lets you delete any tag. Just check the tag you want to delete, don’t enter anything in its field, and click Apply.

Delete year tag

After you’ve used Multi-Item Edit a bit, you may find that it’s a lot easier to use than the iTunes Info window, and you may end up using this great tool for all your tagging needs.

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Book Notes: Words Without Music, by Philip Glass

Glass words musicComposer Philip Glass has written a memoir, Words Without Music. (, Amazon UK) In this book, Glass tells about his life growing up in Baltimore, his experiences as a 15-year old at college, his life in downtown New York, and his music. Glass has had an interesting life, but, unfortunately, he’s no writer.

This book is the story of a musician, a well-known and successful composer, as he makes his own path with a new style of music. Glass takes a fair amount off time to describe his life growing up in Baltimore, and his experiences as a very young college student. But then, when he talks about his time in Paris, and his years in downtown New York, it seems like he’s just name-dropping, as the pages are full of lists of all the famous people he knew and met.

He gets into travel writing, describing in too much detail some of his trips to India and other places, but Glass is no travel writer; these sections are uninteresting. Finally, about two-thirds of the way through the book, he starts talking about the music. It’s around then that Einstein on the Beach, the work that catapulted him to fame, shows up. It was interesting to read about how Einstein was created and produced, and the oddity of Glass going back to driving a cab, after a long tour of Europe and two sold-out performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

But, then, he describes the rest of his musical career briefly and succinctly, as if for liner notes, giving little attention to the rest of the music he wrote. There are longish sections about some of his major works – Satyagraha, Akhnatan, Koyaanisqatsi, and others – but he curiously ignores his symphonies (other than to liken himself to Bruckner), gives no insight into the other music he’s written, such as his solo piano music, string quartets, etc.

I found this book to be dry and distant, as though Glass really didn’t want to write it. And he’s not a good writer; whoever was supposed to edit the book clearly wasn’t allowed to make many changes. There are clunky sentences throughout, and the book skips back and forth in time in a jarring manner.

If you’re a Philip Glass fan, you’ll want to read this book. But if not, you won’t find much of interest in it. This is a man who has certainly had an interesting life, and who should be the subject of a biography. He’s just not the person who should write it.

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How to Back Up Your iTunes Library and Other Media Files

If you’ve got a large iTunes library—and even if yours isn’t of epic scale—you’ve probably spent a lot of time buying music, ripping CDs, tagging files, and organizing playlists. It’s essential that you back up all this content. If your hard disk goes belly up, you’ll lose a lot of music and videos, as well as other content.

You can re-download some purchased content from the iTunes Store (but not all; see below). You may be able to re-download content purchased from other online music vendors, such as Amazon, or if you purchase directly from label sites. But if you’ve ripped a thousand CDs, remember how long it took for each one of them? This takes even longer if you rip DVDs or Blu-Rays. If need to rip them again, that would take weeks.

So, to make sure you never lose any of this content, you need to back up your iTunes library and other media files regularly. Here’s how to do it.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.

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Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn