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Staff Mac fleet

Staff Mac Refresh FAQs

The FAQ document attached below is designed to answer a number of queries related to your new Mac

FAQ's Covered

What do some of the new features on my Mac mean?

There have been some changes to the technology in the new Macs. For example, all of them now include USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt which was not on most of the older machines.

USB 3.0 is a newer USB standard, but don’t worry, it is backwards compatible with almost all older USB devices. If you have an older USB 2.0 device it will likely still work and if you have a USB 3.0 portable hard drive of some kind you will notice that it now works a lot faster on the new macs.

Thunderbolt is a new way of connecting compatible peripherals like external hard drives and adapters for projectors/external monitors. If required it is possible to purchase adapters allowing you to use the Thunderbolt port to connect to displays using VGA, HDMI, DVI, Display Port and others.

Thunderbolt (and USB) adapters are also available if you need to add a wired network port to your MacBook.

Thunderbolt is a very fast connection type, but because it is still very new, most external devices (except monitors/projectors) still use USB.

You may have noticed that most of the new Macs do not have a built-in CD/DVD drive. This has been done to reduce the size and weight of the machines as Apple feel most people no longer use CD’s or DVD’s on a regular basis. If you do need regular access to these, the Apple USB SuperDrive is the official solution, and there are also a number of 3rd party USB CD/DVD drives that can be used as well.

How can I get help and advice on my new Mac?

Plymouth University has partnered with Amsys Ltd to provide technical support and advice for the University’s managed fleet of Apple computers.

For Apple support on University or personal devices please visit 'the CORE' which is located on the Floor 1 of the Roland Levinsky Building or alternatively contact the TIS Service Desk tel: 01752 5 88588 or email: support@plymouth.ac.uk. Amsys also have an office located at 18 Endsleigh Place - Room 102 which you can visit for help and advice.

How can I keep my new Mac running fast?

There is no sure way to achieve this as methods vary depending on what kind of Mac you have and how you use it. However, there are some useful general tips that apply as follows:

  • Make sure you completely shut down your Mac at least once every 2 weeks using the ‘Shut Down...’ option from the Apple Menu
  • Try to avoid setting programs to open automatically on start-up unless you really need to. Unnecessary open programs take up system resources and may negatively impact the performance of your Mac
  • Make sure you keep at least 10GB of storage space free on your Mac. Your Mac needs a certain amount of space free to operate efficiently.
  • Try to avoid leaving programs running when you are not using them. This includes additional tabs in Safari/Chrome Firefox or any other Web Browser. Unnecessary open programs and tabs in web browsers take up system resources and may negatively impact the performance of your Mac
  • Try to avoid installing software you do not need.
  • Try to avoid installing updates you do not need. It is tempting to install the newest version of OSX as soon as it comes out, but in the University environment these updates are very often not fully compatible with your system and can cause a number of unforeseen problems.
How should I take care of my power supply?

This applies to MacBook Air’s and MacBook Pro’s which have an external, portable Power Supply Unit (PSU).

Your MacBook cannot function for long without a PSU to recharge it and it is important to look after the PSU.

The most common problem that develops with the PSU is that the thin cable running between the ‘brick’ part of the PSU and the MagSafe 2 connector becomes frayed at one or both ends.

Apple does not class this kind of damage as a fault, and so it becomes necessary to pay for a replacement.

While in use, it is important to avoid placing the cable in situations where it may be tripped over or may be squashed by feet or chairs for example.

 When not in use, the thin part of the cable should be carefully wrapped around the arms that swing out of the brick. It is important however not to pull the cable too tight around the arms and put strain on the point where the cable connects to the brick.

How can I back up the data on my new Mac?

There are a number of different ways to backup the data on your Mac, so this is only a brief summary.

The most common method is to ensure that you copy your files to an external storage device such as a USB hard drive, and Apple has a built in method of doing this called ‘Time Machine’. Time Machine is not always the best solution however, and there are many different ways of copying your data to a backup device of some kind.  Please visit the CORE or contact the TIS Service Desk to discuss alternative back up solutions.

How can I connect my new Mac to a printer?

Due to the wide variety of printers available and the different ways of connecting to them a guide to installing these is not currently available. If you need assistance connecting your Mac to a printer please contact: TIS Service Desk Tel: 01752 5 88588 or email: support@plymouth.ac.uk

How can I connect to my ‘U’ Drive?
  1. Open the 'Finder' application from your dock
  2. Choose 'Go' > select 'Applications'
  3.  Locate 'Self Service' application > click
  4. Select 'Utilities' category from right hand side of 'Self Service' window
  5. Choose 'Mount' button under 'Mount Network Home' application
  6. Once finished (usually takes about 30 secs) the 'U' drive icon should now be visible on your Desktop or in Finder
  7. The icon is mainly blue with three white figurines on it
  How can I install Adobe Creative Cloud applications?
  1. Open the 'Finder' application from your Dock
  2. Click on 'Go' > Applications
  3.  Find the 'Self Service' application > Open
  4. Select 'Adobe Creative Cloud' category from right hand-side of Self-Service menu
  5. Choose application > Install
  6. Application will appear in the 'Applications Folder'.

How can I setup my University email in  Apple OSX Mail?

  1. Open the 'Mail' application in OSX
  2. Select Mail > Preferences
  3.  Choose 'Accounts' icon
  4. Click the '+' symbol (bottom left of window)
  5. Select 'Exchange' > enter name, University email address and University password
  6. Click 'Continue' if presented with a 'Verify Certificate' box
  7. If you see an 'Account Settings' box then enter the following information: Description = your choice > Username  = PU University login username > Password  = PU login password > Server Address = webmail.plymouth.ac.uk > choose 'Continue'
  8. Select the applications you would like to use with your email account > continue
  9. Choose 'General' icon > Save
  10. Close the 'Preferences' window > click on 'Mailbox' > 'Synchronize All Accounts'

How can I setup my University email in Outlook?
  1. Open 'Microsoft Outlook' 
  2. Select Outlook > Preferences
  3. Click 'Accounts' > '+' symbol > select 'Exchange'
  4. Enter your University email address, login username and password for your PU account > 'Add Account'
  5. You should now see the 'Accounts' screen again but with PU account showing. Your account will now begin to synchronise.
How can I set up a VPN on my Mac?
  1. Open 'System Preferences' from the  Apple menu (top left hand of screen)
  2. Choose 'Network' 
  3. Click the padlock > enter username and password if prompted
  4. Click the '+' sign
  5. Select 'VPN' for the 'Interface' and 'PPTP' for the 'VPN Type'
  6. In 'Service Name' field type 'Plymouth University'
  7. Enter vpn.plymouth.ac.uk as the 'Server Address'
  8. Enter your University account name
  9. Click on 'Authentication Settings' > enter your University account password > OK > Apply
  10. Click 'Connect' when you are ready to use the 'VPN' . *Alternatively you can tick the box for 'Show VPN status in menu bar'.  This puts an icon in the top right hand corner of the desktop menu bar which you can click when you are ready to connect
Modified 13/09/2016