Question Time: iTunes Music Store Support, Keychain Access, Menu Extras

Monday, 2005-02-07; 23:46:00

One reader has trouble with the iTunes Music Store; Keychain Access and menu extra tips

(Originally posted on AppleXnet)

Apple-X forum reader winevqa expresses concern about her iTunes Music Store account: "We opened two itunes accounts for my son and myself as we use XP. My account always automatically opened when I opened itunes. I made the mistake the other day of signing out and I cannot get back in!!! Itunes no longer recognizes my account name." winevqa wants to know how to get back in control of the account to manage her son's iTunes Music Store allowances again.

First of all, make sure you're entering in your whole e-mail address when entering your account information into iTunes. For example, you would put "" into the login field, not just "steve". Similarly, make sure you are typing your password correctly, because passwords are case sensitive. (Turn Caps Lock off if you have it on!) One last thing to check -- make sure you've selected the button to the left of the Apple logo when you log on. It sounds like you created an account through iTunes, winevqa, so you'll need to select the Apple option. If, however, you are using your AOL account, then click the button to the left of the AOL logo instead.

If you've already tried this and nothing works, you can have Apple automatically e-mail your password (without human intervention), by going to This is the web page you go to whenever you have forgotten the password to an account that allows access to any Apple services (with the exception of AOL iTunes Music Store accounts). Apple recently consolidated all of its services to use one single Apple ID, so you just need to visit this website to have your password sent to you.

If you happen not to have access to the e-mail account you specified in your Apple ID account settings, there's still an option available to you. The "iForgot" password retrieval page also allows you to answer the security question you originally provided when you signed up for an Apple ID. Assuming you did this correctly, you can enter your birth date, and the answer to your security question, and then you can reset your Apple ID password.

However, do keep in mind that all iTunes Music Store support is done through e-mail. For Mac OS X users, visit the iTunes Music Store Customer Service for Mac OS X support page, which will help you with any iTunes Music Store issues. Note that if you click on any specific help section (like, "Get help signing in using your Apple ID", for example), there will be a form at the bottom of each page if you still can't find your question. So you can get human support if the web documentation doesn't help. I've personally requested Apple to deauthorize all my computers since I no longer had access to one of my authorized computers, and within 24 hours they did so. Note that, Windows users should go to this page in order to get support.

With the lack of any other questions from Apple-X readers, here are a few tips for today:

One of the most underused applications in Mac OS X is the Keychain Access utility, located inside the "Utilities" folder inside the "Applications" folder. This manages most passwords that you use in any application in Mac OS X, including Safari, the Finder, and Disk Utility when you mount protected disk images. Many third-party applications also use the keychain to store passwords.

The Keychain Access application icon

Keychain is very useful when you've forgot one of your passwords but have it stored in your keychain. Just open Keychain Access, find the password entry for the website or application you're looking for, select it in the list, and then click the "Show Password" checkbox. Enter your keychain password, and then the password for that website or application will be displayed in plain text.

There's also a keychain menu extra that you can use to lock and unlock keychains at will. It's only accessible via the Keychain Access application, but you only need to activate it once. Launch Keychain Access, and then choose "Show Status in Menu Bar" from the View menu. Now, on the right side of your menu bar, a little lock should show up. Now you can lock and unlock specific keychains at will, or lock them all at once. One other neat feature of this menu extra is the ability to do a one-time lock of your screen. Even if your screensaver normally doesn't ask for a password to deactivate it, selecting "Lock Screen" from the keychain menu activates the screen saver and locks it once. It's quite useful if you need to go away from your computer for longer than usual.

Keychain access can also allow you to control at a very fine-grained level, the security of each password in your keychain. If you click on a password in the keychain window, and then click the "Access Control" tab in the lower part of the window, you can set different security settings for that specific password. It can always be freely accessible, it can ask you to confirm without requesting your keychain password, or confirm by always requesting your keychain password. Additionally, you can let certain applications always have access to that particular password.

Also useful about Keychain Access is that it's perfectly suitable for storing serial numbers for applications. There are many third-party applications out there that store serial numbers for third-party applications and games that you've bought, but Keychain Access fits the bill perfectly, especially because it already has built-in password protection. Just select "New Password Item..." from the File menu (or click the Password button in the toolbar), enter the name of the application in the "Name" field, the registration name in the "Account" field, and the serial number in the "Password" field. Then simply click the "Add" button, and your serial number will be added to your keychain.

If you need more than three fields, just simply create a password using those three fields, and then select it in the keychain window. Here, you have an additional 3 fields: "Kind", "Where", and "Comments". I prefer to change the Kind to "manual password" so that I can quickly sort by kind in the keychain window to find my application serial numbers.

One final little feature of Keychain Access: it can store secure notes. Just select "New Secure Note Item..." from the file menu, name it, and add your note. Now, as long as you backup your keychain or synchronize it with your other computers, you'll always have your application serial numbers and your notes.

Speaking of menu extras, those things like the clock that appear in the right side of your menu bar, there are probably a few that you may not know about. One is the Eject menu extra. To enable it, go to your hard drive --> System --> Library --> CoreServices --> Menu Extras. Double click on "". A new menu extra will show up in the right side of your menu bar, where you can open and close any CD drive that Mac OS X natively recognizes. It may not be useful if you've got an eject button on your keyboard, but if you don't, it may be useful to you. (Note that if you don't have an eject button on your keyboard, hold down F12 for one second, and that will act as an eject key.)

Another useful menu extra is the Classic menu item. To enable it, you can either double-click on the "" item in the aforementioned folder, or you can go to System Preferences --> Classic --> Start/Stop, and check the "Show Classic status in menu bar" checkbox. A little boxed 9 will appear in the right side of your menu bar, and acts as a visual indication of when Classic is active: if it's grayed out, then Classic is not active. If it's black, then Classic is active. If it's blinking between gray and black, then Classic is starting up or shutting down. This menu item also allows you to immediately open up Classic preferences, and (this may be very useful to some users) access your Classic Apple menu items. Indeed, if you really wanted to, you could stick a bunch of stuff in your Classic Apple menu items folder, including Mac OS X applications, and use it as a replacement for the Apple menu from Mac OS 9. (Personally, I prefer to use the Dock, but some might vehemently disagree.)

One menu extra mentioned last week was the Script menu extra. To activate it, go to Applications --> AppleScript, and open the "Install Script Menu" application. A small black scroll will now appear in the right side of your menu bar. Here, you can access all the default scripts included with Mac OS X, and all custom scripts that you've created and put in the home --> Library --> Scripts folder. If you use AppleScript a lot, you should know about this menu extra.

One last menu extra that I like to use is the iSync menu item. Simply open up iSync, select "Preferences..." from the iSync menu, and then check "Show iSync in menu bar". Two twirly arrows should now show up in the right side of your menu bar. You can immediately initiate a sync from this menu item (without having it open iSync), you can see the date and time of the last sync, and you can open iSync. Minimalist, but very useful.

Here's a pic showing what all these menu extras look like:

Highlighted from left to right: Keychain menu extra, Eject menu extra, Script Menu extra, Classic menu extra, iSync menu extra

If you've got a question you want to ask, please e-mail it to me before next Tuesday, since I'm out of questions for the time being. As always you can also post in the Q&A Question Time forum (free registration required).

Have a good week everyone! See you next Tuesday!

-- Simone

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