Proton Technologies AG, the Swiss company that originally brought us the very secure ProtonMail, has recently released a VPN client, ProtonVPN. What is remarkable about this offering is that their most basic plan is free! Not just a free trial, but actually free.
What is a VPN and why do I need it?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it is a way of making sure that communications with your devices are secure and are not intercept-able. When you are at home, you can be reasonably sure that your connection to the Internet is secure. But if you are outside your home, for instance at a coffee shop or a library or a hotel, your chances of someone trying to co-opt your data are very high. Using a VPN minimizes this risk. Having a VPN service available should be part of everyone’s data security plan.
There are a large number of commercial VPN clients available for both Mac and iOS on the market, including familiar names like NordVPN, HideMyAss, and ExpressVPN. Most of these services offer a free trial. But ProtonVPN is the only one we’ve found so far that offers an actual free service. Their for-pay accounts offer simultaneous VPN connections, more connection points around the globe, and higher speeds.
Their most basic plan does have some restrictions (like only 1 simultaneous VPN connection per account) but for most people, that is a workable solution. If you have not yet landed on a VPN service for both your Mac and iOS devices, your time has come – this solution is a no-brainer. Their Mac and iOS clients are elegant and very pleasant to use. They offer the ability to save profiles, such as US-FastestService or Germany-MostSecure, and much more, to provide easy, one-click access as you need it.
Don’t you wish there was an easy way to send large email attachments that didn’t require registration, passwords or codes? If you have an iCloud account, you’re already set. Mail Drop is a feature that lets you send large files, up to 5GB, via iCloud. This is a handy feature for people who may be frustrated by the tiny attachment limitations of most email clients.
How Mail Drop Works
First, you need to have an iCloud account. You can utilize Mail Drop from iCloud.com or from the Mail app on your iOS device or Mac.
When you attempt to send an attachment that is too large, you can opt to use Mail Drop. The Mail app uploads the file to iCloud and provides the recipient with a link to download it. This allows your large file to get around the file size limitations of most email clients, as the file is never really added as an attachment.
However, once you send a file(s) to iCloud using Mail Drop, there is no way to remove it. Instead, they automatically expire after thirty days. The good news is that Mail Drop does not count against your iCloud storage. That being said, you don’t have unlimited Mail Drop storage. Each user has a storage limit of 1TB. If you go over this limit, you will not be able to use Mail Drop until one of your files expires and that storage space is reclaimed.
Using Mail Drop with iOS and macOS Mail Apps
Since Mail Drop uses iCloud for storage, it is automatically enabled for Apple Mail apps. This means that you don’t really have to do anything to start using it. To get started, compose an email and hit the paperclip to add an attachment. When you attempt to send an email with an attachment over 20MB, a window will pop up. This window informs you that the attachment is too large and asks you if you want to use Mail Drop. You’ll still have the option to send the file as a normal attachment, but if it’s over 20MB, it will fail. So you’re going to want to use Mail Drop.
To enable Mail Drop, simply tap or click on the “Use Mail Drop” button. Your file will then be uploaded to your iCloud account. From there, just send the email as usual. Instead of seeing a standard attachment, the recipient of the email will see a download link for the file in iCloud. Your file will be available to download for thirty days. After that, the file will be automatically deleted and iCloud storage space is reclaimed.
In order to download your file, the recipient of your email can use any email client on any operating system.
Using Mail Drop with Non-iCloud Email Accounts
If you don’t use your iCloud email account, don’t worry. You can still use iCloud to host your large files for non-iCloud email accounts. Mail Drop will work for any email account that you have linked to your Apple Mail app. The only caveat is that the email account must support the IMAP protocol. This shouldn’t be an issue for most people, as services like Gmail, Outlook and Thunderbird are all IMAP compatible.
To use Mail Drop with an account, open up the Mail app on your macOS or iOS device. Open the Mail app menu and select “Preferences.” From here, click on “Accounts.” In the column on the left you should see a list of your linked email accounts. Highlight the email account you’d like to use Mail Drop with by clicking on it. Finally, click on the “Advanced” tab and check the box labelled “Send large attachments with Mail Drop.”
Troubleshooting Mail Drop
Sometimes Mail Drop doesn’t want to work. This can be frustrating, but see if any of these common problems is the culprit:
The email, including attachments, is larger than 5GB. Mail Drop has a 5GB limit, so exceeding that limit will cause it to fail. Try compressing your files or sending them in multiple messages.
You’re trying to send a folder of files. In order to do this you must compress the folder first. To do this, Control + Click or tap the folder with two fingers and choose “Compress” from the menu.
You’ve reached the 1TB Mail Drop storage limit. Unfortunately you can’t delete old Mail Drop files. This means you’ll just have to wait until older items expire and storage space is freed up.
Have you noticed that some emails from your favorite domain are ending up in your Junk box lately? The spam filter in Apple’s Mail app is effective at catching junk mail, while still allowing mail from known senders to reach your inbox. However, this only applies to individual senders and those in your Contacts; it does not automatically allow mail through from an entire domain, such as all email addressed that ends in “whatever.com”.
You can set the Mac Mail app to “whitelist” a domain so that it allows through mail from all addresses from that specified domain. To do so, you need to set up a rule in the Mail preferences.
Steps for Whitelisting a Domain
To whitelist all email from a specific domain in the Mail app in Mac OS X or macOS:
In the Mac OS X Mail top menu, click Mail > Preferences.
Click the Rules tab.
Click Add Rule.
Type a name in the Description field, such as “Whitelist: example.com,” to identify the new rule.
For the conditions, set the first dropdown menu item to any, so that it reads: If any of the following conditions are met.
In the next two dropdown menus, select From in the first, and Ends with for the second.
In the text field following Ends with, enter the domain’s name that you want to whitelist. Include the ampersand “@” before the domain name to make the filter specific — for example, to whitelist all mail from the whatever.com domain, but not mail that might come from one of its subdomains (such as @subdomain.whatever.com), type “@whatever.com” into the field.
Click the plus sign next to the last condition to add another domain with the same criteria if you want to whitelist more domains.
In the Perform the following actions section set the three dropdown items to:Move Message,to the mailbox: Inbox (orspecify a different target folder of your choosing).
Click OK to save the rule.
Close the Rules window.
Setting Rule Order in Mac Mail App
The order of the rules you have set matters and Mail executes them one after the other, moving down the list. To ensure that the rule you’ve just created that whitelists a domain is executed before others that might also apply the same message, click and drag that rule to the top of the rules list.
When finished, your windows should look something like this:
Junk Mail Filtering Settings in Mac Mail
Junk mail filtering is active by default in the Mail app. You can find these settings by following these steps:
In the Mac OS X Mail top menu, click Mail > Preferences.
Click the Junk Mail tab.
You can customize your junk mail filtering settings, including specifying where junk mail should go and defining exemptions for junk mail filtering. You can also reset the existing Junk filtering rules by clicking the “Reset…” button.
What if the emails are still not in my Junk folder or Inbox?
Your email provider filters out spam in the cloud, long before you check your email using Apple Mail. For instance, if you use Gmail or a Google account, you may need to train your account that emails from your favorite domain are not Spam. Google tech support has an article that describes how to do just that.
Can’t I just have someone do this for me?
Yes, we would be happy to help. Contact Us and we can get you going!
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