Walt Mossberg

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Clearing Up an iPad Picture Problem

Q:

I was so delighted to get your instructions last week on how to delete pictures from my iPad but it doesn’t work for me. I can check off the photos I want to delete and the red delete button does comes up — but it doesn’t delete. It’s dimmed. Any ideas on how to get it to work?

A:

I apologize that my answer last week was incomplete. You can only delete photos in the Photos app on an iPad if they were either taken on the iPad, received on the iPad via email and saved to the Camera Roll, or loaded using the iPad USB or SD card camera adapters. If the photos were synced to the iPad from iTunes on a computer, they can’t be deleted on the iPad. This is almost certainly why your delete button isn’t working. Apple says it bars such deletion because synced pictures are considered to primarily exist on the computer. If you want such synced pictures off your iPad, Apple says you have to go into iTunes and turn off syncing those particular photos or albums to your iPad, or turn off photo syncing entirely.

Q:

How do you create a new photo album on an iPad and get the pictures in the order you want?

A:

To do so, first use the Edit button, select multiple photos, and then use the “Add to…” button, add them to a new album and name the album. Once the photos are in the album you created, you can arrange them by hitting the “Edit” button again and dragging the photo thumbnails into the order you prefer.

Q:

I’m looking for a very light laptop to take on the road. Would it be possible to use an 11-inch MacBook Air on the road while using a PC in the office? All my files are on Dropbox or Evernote. Can I run Office apps like Excel on a Mac and modify files on both the Mac and PC?

A:

Yes. Microsoft makes a native Mac version of Office that uses the same file formats as the Windows version. And Dropbox and Evernote are available and access the same content on both platforms. Most other common file types, like JPG photos, MP3 music and PDFs, work interchangeably. And the MacBook Air is an excellent thin and light laptop. It can even run Windows itself — and the Windows version of Office — if you choose.

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com.


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