Upgrade issues: Music changes, battery mgmt., etc

I just upgraded from a 2011-vintage MacBook Pro running Mojave to an M2 MBP running Sonoma. Most things are going smoothly but a few issues:

  1. When I open the new Music app, it only shows songs in my library that are in AAC format. On iTunes, I also had MP3s and AIFFs, mostly ripped from CDs, so I could use that music on my phone and elsewhere. How can I regain access to my full music library??

  2. I mostly use an external monitor, which requires keeping my Mac plugged into a power strip unless the laptop is open. In the past, I tended to just keep it plugged in all the time, which I know is not the best for battery life (my old one did last >10 years!). Should I unplug it at night? Deliberately run it down to within a few percent on occasions, as used to be recommended? Does this still matter? Also my Samsung 24" monitor doesn’t look as sharp as it did before, tho’ maybe it’s just the contrast with the new higher-res. screen.

  3. I had purchased an updated MS Office suite a few months ago from Apple Insider, but when I try to open the new apps, they direct me to buy a license from Microsoft online. I’m not seeing a way to enter my license info. directly as I always used to. How to do that?

  4. I used to use an old app called Max to switch among audio file formats. What’s the best (preferably free) 64 bit-compatible replacement?

Those are the main issues so far. Appreciate any thoughts…

Regarding the app Max, if you need a program for audio file conversion and/or CD ripping then XLD is quite useful:

https://tmkk.undo.jp/xld/index_e.html

I use it all the time and works well for batch conversions.

As for your Music issue, you may have to point Music to your files and add them back using Add To Library or similar as in iTunes. When I tried the app previously, it had all of my files as I just copied over my old iTunes Library and it updated automatically.

I also use Max. Until recently it was possible to download Max 0.9.2b4 which is 64-bit compatible, but the website seems to be down currently. You can still download the source from their GitHub page. If you want the app without compiling it yourself, I saved the 0.9.2b4 disk image, I’m happy to share it if you message me privately.

Max is available here but since it’s over three years old, it’s not going to be as updated as XLD:

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Good thinking, I should have checked the Internet Archive! Agreed, XLD is still under active development and will probably eventually be necessary (I keep it installed also). But because Max still works and I’m used to it, I continue to use it for the moment.

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Internet Archive is helpful for some of these older programs assuming you can find them when there are numerous possible links. I found some older versions of the “Cover Version” iTunes visualizer some time back as only the last one was on the download page which hadn’t been updated in years.

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Strange. I’m not seeing that on my (newly-installed :frowning: ) Sonoma system (Music version 1.4.2.83). After enabling the “Kind” column and sorting by Kind, I see my MP3 files (type “MPEG audio file”):

If your purchase was not a Microsoft 365 subscription, then it is only going to be valid for the single computer you installed it on. That license key won’t be usable on another computer unless it is designed for multiple machines (as the “Home & Student” editions used to be, but are no longer).

That being said, it’s my understanding that all MS Office apps phone home for activation. Assuming the license hasn’t been used yet (e.g. you bought it but didn’t install it anywhere else), I think you should log on to your Microsoft account (creating one if you don’t already have it) and then enter your license/subscription information into it. Your app, when phoning home, should see the license there and activate itself.

Did your license key come with any instructions for installation?

And now an annoyance of my own. In the Music app, I have many playlists, and I have artwork associated with the playlists.

In the past (on Ventura and before), I could copy an image (e.g. from a Photoshop editing session), then switch to Music, select the playlist’s artwork and then paste the image.

On Sonoma, that’s not an option. I need to right-click the image and “Edit…” the playlist. From there, I can’t just paste an image from the clipboard, but I can only load it from a file. So I now need to save from Photoshop in order to load the file. What a pain.

And I can no longer just click on the playlist’s title to rename it. It now has to go through that same Edit dialog.

Does anybody at Apple actually use the apps they develop? I can’t imagine anyone thinking that this is somehow more usable.

When I sort by kind (also in the latest Sonoma update) the only items that aren’t AAC are 3 downloaded CD booklets. Everything else in my library is gone. It will be very time consuming to reimport everything else manually.

Revisiting this thread briefly. Thanks for the music suggestions. I’ve downloaded XID, but haven’t had a chance to try it yet, nor to manually restore my non-AAC music files, but will try that shortly – dreading the time it may take, though!

One question that folks haven’t addressed yet is the one about battery usage. To recap:

“I mostly use an external monitor, which requires keeping my Mac plugged into a power strip unless the laptop is open. In the past, I tended to just keep it plugged in all the time, which I know is not the best for battery life (my old one did last >10 years!). Should I unplug it at night? Deliberately run it down to within a few percent on occasions, as used to be recommended? Does this still matter?”

Currently I’m using the external monitor about half the time, and running the battery down to around 20% when I’m using the Macbook on its own. Is that a good strategy?

I also have a Time Machine question that I’ll post on a new thread tomorrow. Some confusion there as well…