Tag Archives: Mac tips

Five Tip Friday ~ hidden gems in macOS can be genuinely useful


Hello, Mac acolytes, another five fine tips for your Friday.

1/ Two ways to turn on Do Not Disturb — If you’re in the Notification Center (this is under the little 3-lines-3 dots icon at top right of your Mac screen) the already, simply pull down the panel until you see Do Not Disturb. If your Mac supports it, you can also enable Night Shift mode from there.
Alternatively, just Option-click (hold down the Option key on your keyboard and click) the Notification Center icon in the status bar, and Do Not Disturb will turn on.

2/ Rule Launchpad — Do you use Launchpad, the iPad-like app launching interface? I don’t. But if you do, why not set it up how you want to? You can delete apps from your Applications folder using Launchpad, just like you can from the Home Screen on iOS. Simply bring up the Launchpad app, and press the Option key until the apps start wiggling. You’ll see X symbols in the apps you can delete, so go ahead and clean up your Applications folder. (Technically, you should be using an app cleaner, which deletes files elsewhere that are connected to apps in the Applications folder as well, but for little apps, this can be fine.)
Also note this is most unlike the Dock, since deleting an app from the Dock leaves that app safe in Applications – it just removes the quick link  button to the app that the Dock generates for you.

3/ Filter Unread Messages in macOS Mail — The Mail app now allows you to filter your unread messages. At the top of the messages pane, you’ll see a circle with an upside-down triangle. Just click on that little button, and Mail will filter your email, showing you only unread messages.

4/ Quick Look at Documents and Images — The Finder has a Quick Look feature. After you’ve single-clicked on a document, image, or other types of files, press the space bar on your keyboard. A quick preview of that file will show up, along with the option to open it in the correct app. Remember, a single-click selects, a double-click launches – the confusion here is buttons, like items in the Dock,which launch with a single click.
(There’s one more important attribute of buttons in the Dock, by the way – click-and-hold, which displays new and different functions in a pop-out menu.)

5/ Quickly get lyrics to songs in Apple Music — If you’re an Apple Music subscriber and use iTunes on your Mac, you’ll be pleased to know you can access song lyrics without ever leaving the app. If you click the “Up Next” button to the right of the status window, you’ll see a tab for lyrics. Click it …

Five tip Friday ~ The Calendar App and iCloud


1/ Edit appointment details using the Calendar Inspector in macOS Sierra — The Inspector window appears when you add a new event, or double-click on an existing event in the Calendar app in macOS Sierra, or click and event once and choose Command-e.
Inspector shows you all the details of your events, including who’s invited, and where and when you want the event to occur. Start typing an address and Calendar suggests matching locations. Start typing the name of a contact in your Address Book and Calendar suggests matching names based on contacts you’ve entered in the Contacts app.
You can even see your event locations on a miniature map in the Inspector. (If you click this mini map, the Maps app opens a full size view.)  The mini map includes an estimate of the travel time to your appointment destination from your current location in the event Inspector as well as the weather forecast for that day. (For travel time estimates, directions and weather, you need to turn on Location Services in System Preferences.)

2/ Use your iCloud account in macOS Sierra’s Calendar app — iCloud is included with macOS. Once you sign up for your free iCloud account, you can push calendar updates across your devices, share your iCloud Calendar, and see your calendar on the iCloud website.
If you have an iCloud account , you can use iCal to access and manage your iCloud calendars. If you set up the iCloud Calendar service on several devices and computers, your iCloud calendar and reminder information is kept up to date on each device and computer.
Set up your iCloud calendar account from System Preferences to see your iCloud-based calendars in the Calendar window. In the System Preferences app, click iCloud and sign in.
If this is your first time signing in from this computer, you’ll be asked if you want to use iCloud for contacts, calendars, and bookmarks. Make sure that the calendars option is selected (checked), then click Next.
If you’ve previously signed in to iCloud, you’ll see a list of iCloud services – select the check-box next to Calendars to have them sync.

3/ Add calendars to macOS Sierra’s Calendar from other services besides iCloud — You can use your iCloud account in macOS Sierra’s Calendar app to add an event, and this appears as if by magic on all your other Apple devices linked to that same Apple ID. But you can also add appointments from other popular services to your calendar in Calendar app, including Exchange, CalDAV, Facebook, and Yahoo:
Choose Apple Menu () > System Preferences.
Select Internet Accounts.
Click the Add Account (+) button at the bottom of the window.
Choose the account type you want to use, and enter your account credentials.
Make sure the option Calendars is selected (checked) to display the events associated with this account in the Calendar app. [These three Calendar tips came form the Apple World Today.]

4/ iCloud Drive and syncing iWork documents to your iOS devices — Those files aren’t necessarily being stored on your iPhone or iPad. Meaning that if you’re out and about, heading into a bad cell area may cause you to lose access to said files. Which is a bummer.
To check out what your situation, just open any of the iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, or Keynote) on your iOS device. When you do so, you’ll see a list of your documents of that type. If some of the files are in iCloud but aren’t downloaded, you’ll see a tiny cloud icon on those.
Of course, you can tap to download any one you’d like, but if what you really want is to keep all documents of that kind on your iPhone or iPad at all times, head over to your Settings. Scroll down until you see the section for the app you’d like to download stuff for and tap it.
Within that, look for the “On-Demand Downloads” toggle.
Turn that OFF, and everything you’ve got within that app will download so you can keep all your documents on your iPhone. This is great if you’re going on a trip and don’t want to use cellular data, for example, or if you just know you always need access to your spreadsheets. But be careful—I strongly suggest that you go into the app in question and make certain that the process has completed before you hit the road. You might even want to turn on Airplane Mode for the device and try to open a file or two. Paranoid? Heck, that’s just who I am. Almost a decade of tech support has traumatized taught me well.

5/ iSee the status of uploads in iCloud Drive — While we’re messing with iCloud,  you can turn on Finder’s Status Bar, the option for which is under the View menu click on the iCloud Drive option in Finder’s sidebar (shown above), and suddenly you’ll get a lot more information about your uploads.
Also turn the Path Bar on (View > Show Path Bar, shown below). This is helpful if you’d like to have a trail of breadcrumbs, so to speak, leading back within the folder structure you’ve navigated through – this appears at the bottom of folder windows. Any of the location icons in the Path Bar are double-clickable, as well, to return you to someplace you’ve been. Useful if you tend to drill way deep down into folders and then forget where you came from! Not that I ever do that myself, oh no.

Five Tip Friday ~ Your Mac online with Safari and iCloud


1/ Recover lost tabs and windows in Safari — Some users have a lot of Safari tabs open all the time. For some folks, open tabs are apparently a way to remember to follow up on things or purchase items. It’s much more sensible to use Bookmarks but hey, we’re all different. But if you close a tab and didn’t mean to, the menu item to recover them is under History at the top of your screen.
Within that menu (above), you will see Recently Closed, which will show you tabs and windows you may have dismissed accidentally. Click any single item to reopen that one page.

2/ Reopen Last Closed [Window/Tab] — This does just what it says, and Reopen All Windows from Last Session, which is handy if Safari didn’t restore your tabs after it was quit for whatever reason. (These options may look a little different or say slightly different things depending on exactly how many tabs you closed, for example, but if you’re looking to get back what you lost, this History menu is very handy.
Of course, if all you want is to undo accidentally closing a tab right after you did it, you’d just press Command-Z like you would anywhere else in any Mac operation to undo your last action.  You can also press this key combo multiple times to get back several tabs if you went on a closing frenzy and then came to your senses.

3/ Uploading files from a browser via iCloud — Log into iCloud.com on the computer you’d like to upload files from. Head to Photos if you want to upload images to your iCloud Photo Library or iCloud Drive for all other types of files.
In either place, you’ll see an Upload button at the top of your browser window (indicated above). Choose that, and you’ll get the familiar file-picker dialog box, from which you can navigate to the items you’d like to upload.
How long your upload will take is dependent on the size of the file(s) you select and your internet speed. If you signed in to your iCloud account on a machine that isn’t yours, make sure to log out before you walk away.
The beauty of this trick is most apparent if you’re using iCloud Photo Library or the Mac’s Desktop and Documents syncing feature. In the case of photos, for example, anything you upload to iCloud.com will be immediately distributed to all of your devices if that syncing is turned on.
For iCloud Drive, though, whatever folder you’re looking at online will be where the files you upload end up. So you could navigate to iCloud.com, open iCloud Drive, double-click to view your Desktop folder, and then upload files there. When you get back to your Mac, you’ll see the stuff you uploaded, already on your Desktop and ready to go. [From the Mac Observer.]

4/ Connect to a remote Mac in your Back to My Mac network with macOS Sierra — With macOS Sierra’s Back to My Mac, you can connect to your other Macs securely over the Internet. This is an iCloud feature that lets you set up a network of Macs that you can access remotely.  After you set up each Mac or AirPort base station, you can connect to it remotely.
From the Finder menu, choose Preferences, and click the Sidebar tab.
In the Shared section, select Back to My Mac.
Open a Finder window, and look for the Shared section in the sidebar. If you don’t see any shared computers or base stations, place the pointer over the word Shared and click Show.
Select the remote computer or base station that you want to access and click Connect As. (To share a screen with your remote Mac, select the Mac and click Share Screen.) If you don’t see the Mac or base station that you’re looking for, click All to see a list of available Mac computers and base stations.

5/ Remove a Mac from your Back to My Mac network on macOS Sierra — You can turn off Back to My Mac whenever you want (here’s how you set it up). When you do, you’ll remove that Mac or AirPort base station from your Back to My Mac network.
Follow these steps:
Choose System Preferences from the  menu, then click iCloud.
In iCloud preferences, deselect Back to My Mac to turn it off. You also can click Sign Out to log out of iCloud completely.
To remove a base station, follow these steps:
From the menu bar, choose Go > Utilities and double-click AirPort Utility.
Select the AirPort base station that you don’t want to use anymore, and click Edit. If you don’t see the base station, click Other Wi-Fi Devices to see a list of available base stations. You might need to choose a different Network Interface from the pop-up menu.
Enter the base station password. This password is different from your iCloud password.
Select the Base Station tab.
In the Back to my Mac section, click the – (minus) button and enter the Apple ID you use with Back to My Mac. The green status indicator should disappear, showing that Back to My Mac is turned off.
Click Update to save your changes.

Five Tip Friday ~ Mac tips for secure browsing, email ghosts, wrangling Contacts


Mail has a brilliant way to manage the ghosts of emails past
Mail has a brilliant way to manage the ghosts of emails past

Yes, I know it’s Saturday! Sorry, things overtook me yesterday.

1/ How to enable DuckDuckGo, Bing or Yahoo as the default search engine in Safari — Google is the default search engine in Mac OS X Safari. However, you can change it to Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo. Of these three choices, DuckDuckGo is the most unique, since it doesn’t track you. DuckDuckGo lets you surf the web without your searches being saved or your info shared with advertisers. With the other search engines, when search and then click on a link, your search terms are sent to that site you clicked on. In addition, when you visit a site, your computer automatically sends information about it to that site. DuckDuckGo doesn’t profile those using it.
The search engine deliberately shows all users the same search results for a given search term. That said, it isn’t always as thorough as Google. The question you’ll have to answer is: can I sacrifice a little convenience for more privacy?
To set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine in Safari, select Safari in the menu bar and click on Preferences>Search, then select DuckDuckGo under the “Search engine” option. (You can also choose, as mentioned, Bing or Yahoo if you wish.)

2/ Unwanted email addresses that show up when composing new emails in Apple’s Mail — After using Apple Mail for a few years you may have noticed that, when adding contacts to a new email message, a long list of email addresses appears. Some of these may be in your address book, but it’s often the case that these names are people you haven’t sent messages to in years or that you emailed once, but have no intention of emailing ever again.
Apple’s Mail app collects the names of everyone you send emails to so you don’t have to chase down email addresses for people who aren’t in your Contacts app. It’s a nice feature, but may make addressing email messages a little messy after a few years go by. Also, of course, if you;re in a rush and type, str, ‘m-a-r …’ and click Return you may email the wrong Martin, Mark or Margaret. Fortunately, there are a couple of options for dealing with this.
Apple’s Mail app has a feature called Smart Addresses that’s designed to make it easier for you to see who you’re sending email messages to. Instead of displaying names and addresses in Mail’s To: field, Smart Addresses just displays the name of the email recipient. One of the benefits of using Smart Addresses is the option to delete previous recipients from Mail’s collection of remembered addresses.
Open the Mail App.
Selecting the Mail menu and choosing Preferences.
Click the Viewing tab.
Check the box that says Use Smart Addresses.
When you select Smart Addresses, it changes the way Mail displays addressing information from a full named and address:
notsmart
To just an addressee’s name.
Once you enter the ancient email address you should note that there’s a small arrow next to the recipient’s name. Click that menu and included in the list of menu options you’ll see an item that says, “Remove from Previous Recipients List.” Select this item and this ancient address will no longer appear when you address a new email message.

3/ That’s a bit long-winded; thankfully, there’s a way to bypass the tedium — With Mail open, select the Window menu and choose Previous Recipients.
This opens a window displaying a list of everyone you’ve sent email messages to. Take note of the first column. Anyone with a contact card ( the little grey squad icon) next to their name is someone who is already in your Contact list, nothing in that field means they’re not. To add a previous recipient to your address book, select the recipient. Click the Add to Contacts button at the bottom-right of the Previous Recipient’s window.
You should note that this Add to Contacts option does not insert this email address into the record for an existing contact if one already exists for the contact you’ve just added, so …

4/ Merge Contacts — Open the Contacts App and search for the name of the contact you just added. If two contacts appear for the contact you added, select both contacts.
a. Click the first
b. Shift-click the second
Now click the Card menu and select Merge Selected Cards.

5/ Back in Previous Recipients — To really take control of Mail and Contacts, open the Previous Recipients window again. Just like in the Finder with folders open in the List view, clicking on the headers (in this case, Name, email, Last Used – but also the un-named Contacts column with the grey square icons) sorts the entries by that criteria. Click the Last Used column header until the oldest date appears at the top.
Click the first address appearing in the list.
Scroll to the last date you want to delete address for and shift-click that contact.
Click the Remove From List button.
You should note that this will not delete any contacts from the Contacts app, it only keeps mail from remembering past recipients.

Bonus tip — While you’re here, anyone who’s emailed you the past yet you haven’t added them to your Contacts app (once again, you can see by looking for the greyed square to the left of their details) select the person and click add to Contacts down the bottom. If you click above the Contacts squares at top left, you can rank by In Contacts and Not in Contacts. Now you can Shift-Click the first and last people without the square icons beside them and globally add them all to your Contacts app in one fell swoop.