What you should do before installing OS X Yosemite

OS XApple has posted a beta copy of its next version of OS X for the Mac, called Yosemite, on the web for all to download. You can grab a copy of this for free, install it on your Mac and get a next-generation operating system right now. It sounds fantastic, but installing it is not quite as straightforward as you might think and there are some essential tasks to perform before you start.

Add an activity monitor to the menu bar in OS X

MenuMetersHow soon after starting your Mac can you begin to use it? Why is it so slow? What is it doing? Is it OK to turn off or restart? OS X works hard behind the scenes on a variety of tasks, but you would never know because often nothing is displayed on the screen. It is useful to keep an eye on what it is doing and you can easily add activity monitors to the right side of the menu bar at the top of the screen.

Cut the clutter from YouTube and get a clearer view

clea.nr Videos for YouTubeYouTube is one of the most popular websites on the internet and Google has put a lot of effort into creating an attractive and easy-to-use interface, but does it work for you? Could it be better? Are there too many distractions on the page?

If you like YouTube, but want to remove the clutter and focus on the great videos, there is a useful Safari extension called clea.nr Videos for YouTube.

News roundup Jun 6

The latest Apple Mac news from the last week.

Mac Pro Security Lock adapter

Don't get caught out by this email scam

There are many email scams and people are constantly working on ways to fool you into revealing your bank details, login details to online services and so on. You need to be aware of the dangers and how to avoid them. Here is a typical email that tried to fool me into revealing my Apple ID - the username and password used to log into Apple services like iTunes. You might get a similar one, so take a look and learn how to spot the fakes.

Manage your iCloud storage on the Mac

iCloudApple provides 5GB of online storage space for you to use for free. How much are you using? You might be surprised at the amount and even when you think you are not using any, you could be using several gigabytes and be near your free space limit. Here’s how to check your iCloud storage and why you are using so much space.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro – get the best deal

 Apple MacBook ProIf you need a cheap, small, light MacBook that will run all day on its battery, the 11-inch model costs just US $899 (UK £749) and is a bargain and there is nothing to compare. It is a different story with the 13-inch model though and there is an alternative to consider.

Add Google Keep notes to the Dock in OS X

Google Keep iconWhen you are working on your computer or simply browsing the web for fun, you will occasionally need to temporarily store information. One way of doing this is with the Notes app or Stickies, the Mac's sticky notes app, but Google Keep now runs on the desktop and it offers several advantages over the OS X built in apps.

Get Gmail notifications in Safari with this extension

GMail CounterHow often do you check your email? Probably too often and if there isn’t any new mail, it is a waste of time. If the email isn’t important, it is also a time waster. GMail Counter is a Safari extension that solves the problem.

Should you buy the new budget iMac?

Apple iMacApple just launched a new iMac and it is a budget model that costs just US $1099 or UK £899. The obvious questions are what is different, apart from the price, and is it worth considering if you are thinking of buying your first Mac or upgrading from an older model? Is the new iMac a bargain you should immediately snap up, or would it be better to pay a bit more and get one of the other models?

The weird way Finder tabs and folders work in OS X

Finder iconApple introduced tabs to Finder windows with OS X Mavericks, which is a fact that is very easy to forget. This is partly because old Mac users aren’t used to them and partly because the feature is hidden. It is very easy to simply carry on exactly as we always have completely oblivious to the fact that there are tabs. They also work in non-obvious ways.

Solve Mac problems with a detailed system information report

EtreCheck iconApple Macs are very reliable, but like all computers they do occasionally experience problems. Finding the cause of a problem is not always easy. Computers are often unfathomable, but there are tools that can help, like the free EtreCheck. Add it to yout Mac, just in case.

Protect your Mac with Free Avira Antivirus for Mac

Avira AntivirusApple Macs are much less likely to be infected by malware like viruses, Trojans and other nasties than Windows computers, but they are not completely immune. There have been some well publicised virus infections in recent years and large numbers of Macs were affected by malware such as the Flashback Trojan, OSX/Crisis and others. Yes, the Mac is safer, but it is not 100% safe.

Show or hide Chrome's menu bar notification icon

If you use the latest version of Chrome for browsing the web on your Apple iMac or MacBook, you will have noticed a new icon in the menu bar, a bell icon which is used to access notifications and Google Now. When Chrome is running, and it doesn't have to be on the screen, it can be minimised, clicking this icon will display a notifications panel that is similar to what you would see on an Android phone. Is it useful? Do you need it?

Solve Wi-Fi problems with Wireless Diagnostics for OS X

Black wireless routerWireless networks are brilliant - when they work. Mostly they do work perfectly well, but there are occasions where something isn't right and you have a poor connection or none at all. You can't get on the internet and you might not even be able to get on the Wi-Fi network. What can you do?

Replace Safari's status bar with superior one

Safari for MacDo you have the status bar at the bottom of Safari's browser window visible? If you do, it can show useful information like the destination of links, buttons and menus. The downside is that you lose a bit of screen space. That's OK on a 27in iMac, but if you use a MacBook you need every last pixel because the screen is small. Ultimate Status Bar maximise the screen space while providing an even more powerful status bar.

Clean the disk and find duplicates with AVG Cleaner

Clean up your Mac's diskThe disks in Apple Macs don't need cleaning, they never get cluttered up with junk, and they just work, don't they? Well, no. The Mac is good, but it is not imune to the build of clutter and file debris that goes with everyday usage of a modern computer. Unwanted files can clutter up the disk drive and duplicates steal space, leaving the drive underperforming.

Customise the menu bar in OS X

Computer monitorAt the right-hand side of the menu bar on the Mac are a group of useful items like the battery/power indicator, the date, the Wi-Fi indicator, your account name and so on. Have you ever wondered where they come from? It is actually quite interesting and there are additional items that can be placed on the menu bar that are normally hidden.

Where are your photos really stored on the Mac's disk drive?

Owl photoiPhoto does a great job of organising your all of your digital photos. You just have to plug in an iPhone, iPad or digital camera and it imports all the snapshots you have taken and it stores them on the disk drive. It even organises them for you. But where exactly does it put them and how do you access them outside of iPhoto?

Speed up Finder - tweak All My Files on Mac OS X

When you open a new Finder window in OS X on the Apple Mac, does it instantly appear or does it take a couple of seconds for the contents to refresh? It can be irritating when Finder is slow and you are in a hurry, and the problem could be the All My Files feature. It is possible to speed up Finder by customising All My Files.

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