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Why ditching Apple’s Mail program was the best thing I did last year

For years, I dutifully used Apple’s Mail program on my Macs, and later on my iPhones and iPad. Apple made the software and pre-installed it on every device, so it must be the best, right? Or at least decent? I also liked that both my work and personal gmail addresses poured into the same inbox.

But after the iPhone became a regular part of my life, it wasn’t long before Mail started getting on my nerves. Since I sit in front of a computer all day, I often go days without checking my email on my phone. So whenever I needed to check my email on my phone, I knew that I would have to download a deluge of old email that I had already seen. Adding insult to injury, I then had to delete or archive these annoying duplicate emails one-by-one. In the evening, sitting on the couch with my iPad in hand, I would usually opt to get up and check email on the computer rather than clog up my iPad with old redundant emails. Worse, sometimes working on the home computer vs. office computer meant that I wouldn’t always have access to all of my ‘sent’ emails.

This went on for years.

I finally made the time to find, test, and install a new solution. Since I already use gmail for my personal email, it seemed logical to port my work email through gmail’s webmail. The problem with that, though, was in retrieving my work email. Google has an algorithm set up so that it only checks your mail when it has determined there is likely to be new mail waiting. Something about reducing server traffic or some such. But for me it meant that gmail would only check my work email account once every 15 or 30 minutes. Which, of course, is totally ridiculous and unacceptable in the modern world.

Luckily I found a great script called “gmail pop checker” by Daniel Slaughter. This dude is my gmail hero. Simply installing two scripts, one time, means that gmail now fetches my mail every three minutes. And I can live with that timeframe.

When I told my sister that I had finally switched to webmail, she laughed at me for using Apple’s Mail for so long. She laughed heartily. I kind of deserved it, though. Because having all of my email in one place on the web, easily and efficiently accessible from all my devices, was easily the best productivity tweak I made in 2016.

Get Rid of Spammy Ads in Apple Calendar

Not long after Thanksgiving, spammy ads for Ugg boots started incessantly popping up in my calendar. How annoying! How violating! Was my personal calendar breached, I wondered? Luckily, it turns out that that these ads are just old-fashioned, annoying spam. Instead of a normal blast email, the spammers are basically sending out invitations for a meeting or a conference call. Don’t make my initial mistake of simply rejecting one of these spam invitations: acknowledging them might let the spammer know that your email address is a valid one. Instead, follow these instructions to get rid of these annoying ads forever.

First, block any new ads by turning off notifications in iCloud:

1) Go to www.icloud.com and sign in to your account.

2) Click the calendar.

3) Click the settings ‘cog’ icon in the lower left of your screen, and select “advanced.”

4) Under “invitations,” change the radio button to email instead of in-app notifications.

Second, you’ll want to delete the annoying ads that are already in your calendar:

1) In the Calendar app, Go to File —> New Calendar. Give the calendar a name like “spam.”

2) Double-click the spam and, using the color-coded calendar icon, change to the new “spam” option.

3) Now delete that “spam” calendar by right-clicking and selecting delete.

That should do it!

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