Office of Information Technology

Frequently Asked Questions about Mac Computers





Does OIT provide support for Mac computers?

Yes. The vast majority of the Help Desk analysts and LAN analysts within the Office of Information Technology are Apple Certified Support Professionals. Back to List

 

What are the recommended specifications for buying a new Mac computer?

We recommend the following minimum specifications for new Mac purchases (which were the specifications of the least expensive MacBook at the time this was written):

  • 2.4 GHz processor 
  • OS X 
  • 4 GB or more random access memory (RAM)
  • 500 GB or larger hard disk 
  • CD/DVD-writer combination drive 
  • 13inch or larger display 
  • built-in Ethernet network interface 
  • built-in wireless adapter 
  • inkjet or laser printer 
  • carrying case 
  • Microsoft Office 2011 Student Edition (Students should buy at academic pricing. AU has licensed for faculty and staff.) 
  • Parallels Desktop and Microsoft Windows license (if desired)

For more detailed suggestions, visit our detailed Recommendations for Buying a New Mac. Back to List

Are there discounts available for AU students, faculty or staff from Apple?

Yes. Please go through AU's Online Apple Store to receive AU's negotiated discounts on Apple products.

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What is the best way to access my AU faculty and staff e-mail account?

We recommend that faculty and staff using Mac computers access their AU e-mail through either the Lotus Notes client, or configure an IMAP client, such as Apple Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird. Instructions are available for configuring the software for your account:

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What is the best way to access my AU-sponsored student Gmail account?

We recommend that students using Mac computers access their AU-sponsored Gmail account through either the Web interface at mail.student.american.edu or by configuring an IMAP client, such as Apple Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird. Instructions are available for configuring the software for your account:


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How can I access my home directory or departmental shared drives?

There are two ways that you can access your G:, I:, and J: drives from your Mac computer. You can log into the myAU.american.edu Web portal, and click the ACCESS MY NETWORK DRIVES link under the TECHNOLOGY section.

Alternatively, you can use connect to your network drives directly using CIFS. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

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Do I need to install SafeConnect on my Mac computer?

The first time you connect to the AU wired network you will be prompted to install the SafeConnect software agent. Once SafeConnect is installed, you will be required to login to the SafeConnect system through a Web interface every so often when you connect to the wired network. . Back to List

 

My e-mail application and widgets do not work, when I start my computer. What's happening?

If you are on the wired network, you may need to open a Web browser and log into the SafeConnect page before any other Internet applications will work. Back to List

 

Do I need to install antivirus software on my Mac?

Yes. Virus infections on Mac computers are less prevalent, but you do not want it to happen to you. Protect your computer by installing AU's site-licensed antivirus software, Symantec Endpoint Protection. It is available for use by all students, faculty, and staff. 

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Does AU recommend a solution for encrypting files or folders on a Mac?

AU recommends FileVault, the data encryption tool built in to OS X. It allows you to encrypt your home directory (Documents, Pictures, Desktop, etc.) and then seamlessly access it at login. The result is you are able to work with them as normal when you are logged in. But, no one else can read your files, unless they login as you. This is important because if your computer were to be lost or stolen, any confidential data on the hard drive would not be accessible by anyone without your userid and password. 

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How do I connect to AU's wireless network (eagle-secure) to access the Internet?

Instructions for configuring your Mac OS X computer to connect to AU's wireless network are available online. 

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How do I connect to the Internet via AU's wired network?

Instructions for configuring your Mac OS X computer to connect to AU's wired network using an Ethernet cable are available online. 

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Does AU's VPN support connecting using a Mac computer?

Safari is the only browser on the Mac that is supported by the Juniper VPN. Instructions for configuring the VPN are available online. 

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