How-To

Check your spelling and grammar automatically in emails

How many times have you quickly typed in an email message and clicked the Send button only to realise too late that there was a typing slip in the message? Sometimes you don’t realise until you receive a reply and can see that there is a typo in the quoted text.

Clear junk from your Mac's disks with CleanMyDrive

Over time, disk drives accumulate junk files and these consume valuable space that could be used for more useful purposes. The junk files are not obvious and you won't find them easily in Finder windows, so it is not easy to keep a disk clean and healthy. However, there are utilities, such as CleanMyDrive, that makes keeping a disk clean a very simple process.

Keep being asked for your iCloud password?

There is a teeny tiny bug in OS X and iOS that more than a few people have come across and it is related to iCloud. Everything can be running smoothly on your Apple Mac, iPhone or iPad when suddenly you are asked to enter your iCloud password to log in. People with Macs, iPads and iPhones have all suffered from this, but there is a solution.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Restore a lost OS X Mavericks recovery partition

Internal view of hard disk driveWhen OS X Mountain Lion or Mavericks is installed on an Apple Mac, a hidden recovery partition is added to the disk drive that contains tools for solving problems, backing up or restoring the disk contents, or to reinstall OS X. For various reasons, this useful recovery partition may be missing on your Mac.

Move iTunes music to another drive and free up space

Disk driveNot all Apple Macs have big disk drives and if you have had one for some time you might be running short of space. This is especially true of Macs with SSDs (solid state disks) and early MacBook Airs for example, only had 64GB SSDs. Even now entry level models only have 128GB. You can free up many gigabytes of disk space by moving the iTunes folder to another disk drive, such as an external unit.

My Mac is slow, does it need more memory?

Memory chipsSome people have found that after upgrading to the latest version of OS X on their Apple Mac, it runs more slowly than it used to.

One of the reasons for this could be that the Mac is running short of memory for apps and a quick look at Activity Monitor shows that all the memory in use. Is it really out of memory? It might not be and it's not obvious how to read Activity Monitor's memory display.

Create custom email signatures in Mail

MailboxAn email always has a From: that contains the sender's email address and sometimes it even contains a proper name. However, this is not an excuse to end an email improperly and not include a signature. A signature can contain more than just your name and it is an essential component of an email message. You may not have realised it, but you can create impressive signatures in Mail in OS X on the Mac.

Add Bing Highlights extension to Safari for easy searches

Extensions can be added to the Safari web browser on the Apple Mac to add extra features or to make existing ones easier to use. There is a whole online gallery full of of them and one you might want to take a closer look at is Bing Highlights. It makes searching the web simpler.

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