MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions sent in by our readers.
This time, readers ask about the options for consolidating multiple Apple IDs and their corresponding purchases into one, why a router's configuration would work in an iOS device but not in OS X, and how to manage an OS X spinning color wheel cursor that appears regularly.
I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Consolidating multiple Apple IDs into one
MacFixIt reader Michael asks:
Is there a way to unify two Apple IDs? i.e. by creating a new one and changing the "properties" of each app bought to recognize the new email?
Unfortunately not. Apple's purchases are all tracked and maintained on Apple's servers, and are associated with the corresponding IDs there. Apple so far does not allow combining two different Apple ID accounts.
Question: Router configuration tools not working in OS X, yet doing so in iOS
MacFixIt reader A.C. asks:
Just set up a Netgear WN3500RP Wi-Fi extender. Had trouble with the setup from my Mac (Mac Pro with OS 10.8.4). Went to my iPad and was able to configure the device without any problems. Why does the iPad work but not the Mac? Does it have to do with the DNS settings in the Mac (which you don't have in the iPad)? Dunno. Strange.
Question: Managing a random spinning color wheel in OS X
MacFixIt reader Bill asks:
I get the wheel several times a day, and thought it was my Internet signal, but now I'm not sure. Is there any other reason that it appears?
The spinning color wheel is happening because the event queue for the current application (what manages input and output for the program) is not properly communicating with the OS X window server. When programs run, an event queue is created and the window server checks in with them and gets various status updates on them. If a program is hung up on something, then it cannot properly update the window server, and if this hang happens for more than a few seconds, the system will display the spinning color wheel when that application is the foremost one.
The reasons why applications hang can vary. Sometimes this can happen if a program is waiting for an unavailable hard drive (for example, it is spun down in a low-power mode and has to wake up), or for access to a shared folder that has gone offline. At other times (and more commonly) a hang can indicate problems with a particular program's settings. It can also be indicative of hard-drive failures, as the system may be hung up on writing to or reading from bad spots in the hard drive when in the middle of various processes.
If you get regular spinning cursors at random times, then try seeing if happens in all applications or just in one. Additionally, try seeing if the problem occurs in your account only, by creating a fresh user account on the system (in the Users & Groups system preferences) and logging in to that.
Lastly, try running the system in Safe Mode by holding the Shift key at startup, as this will disable all but the essential system services, and may help identify whether the problem is with a core component of the system or with a third-party addition, such as an application or plug-in you have installed.
If you cannot pinpoint the problem and are uncertain of how to tackle it, then an easy first step is to try a general maintenance routine to clear system caches and other temporary files which, if damaged, may lead to odd slowdowns and undesired system and application behavior.