How-To

Take advantage of secret features in iTunes

You might think that you know iTunes quite well, but there are some not-so-obvious features that you might have missed. This article takes a look at some functions that can be useful for managing your music collection and for playing music. You might know some of these tips, but do you know them all?

Annotated images with an Actions extension in OS X Yosemite

OS X Yosemite has made it easy to extend the functions of apps by including a system of extensions. They add extra features to built in and third party apps that are not normally available. They can boost the features and make tasks much easier than they otherwise would be without them. Let’s take a look at an Actions extension.

Stop OS X leaking your personal information

Privacy on computers and the internet is a hot topic and there seems to be no end to the ways in which your personal information can be accessed by third parties. The Apple Mac is not immunue to privacy issues and you may be surprised to learn that by default, it passes on personal information. It must be configured not to if you prefer to maintain your privacy.

Recover lost photos on on any media storage

The increasing use of mobile phones for photography and the ease with which they can be backed up online means that lost photos are less of a problem for most people than it used to be. However, if you prefer to use a traditional camera and store your photos offline, you will be well aware of how frustrating it can be when photos go missing, are corrupted and will not load or transfer to the computer. Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery might be able to help.

Sweep the Mac’s disk clean and free up space

The 11in and 13in MacBook Air and the Retina 13in MacBook pro all have a tiny 128GB solid state disk drive. That is a very small amount of storage for a modern computer that works with digital photos, movies and music. Even if you  pay extra for a 256GB disk, you will soon run out of space. OmniDiskSweeper will tell you where all the space is being used.

Delete files in OS X without sending them to the Trash

Robot

How do you delete a file in OS X on the Apple Mac? You might think that it is silly to ask such a simple question, of course, everyone knows that to delete a file you just drag it to the Trash. That is not deleting it, it simply moves it to another folder on the disk. You empty the Trash of course, but that deletes all of the files in the Trash, which still leaves the question, how do you delete one file?

Save time and effort by dictating instead of typing

How fast can you type? How fast can you speak? There is no contest and speech wins every time. In fact, most people will find that even speaking slowly is much faster than they can type. It is really hard for even an expert typist to keep up with someone dictating, so why type when you can talk? OS X has dictation built in and it is asy to use.

Monitor the Mac with MiniUsage menu bar tool

Find out what is happening under the surface of your Apple Mac. Monitor CPU activity, memory, disk usage, internet speeds, temperatures and more.

What goes on under the surface of your Mac's pretty graphical interface? Is it working hard or idling, is it downloading or uploading, is it getting hot or running cool? Monitor all this and more, and detect when things go wrong.

Use the powerful bulk file rename in OS X

Renaming files on the disk drive in OS X has always been easy and you could just select a file, press Enter and type in a new name. There didn’t used to be a simple way of renaming a group of files and renaming them one by one is exceedingly tedious where there were a lot of them. However, OS X Yosemite has a bulk file renaming facility.

Master the language features of Pages on the Mac

Pages is Apple’s word processor and is part of the iWork suite of office applications. It is a useful tool with some good features, but at times it can be irritating in the way that it handles spelling and languages. You need to know where the settings are to remove these irritations and make your work more productive.

Customise Spotlight and solve indexing problems in OS X

Spotlight is a useful tool for finding apps, documents and other files on your Apple Mac’s disk drive and it is even better in OS X Yosemite, but sometimes problems occur. One is where Spotlight only gives web results and Spotlight does not index the disk drive. These indexing problems can be fixed and Spotlight restored to full health.

Do you need a memory cleaner and are they helpful?

Do you need a memory optimiser for your Apple Mac? What do they do and are they worth it? This article looks at how they work

Go to the Mac App Store, go to Categories, select Utilities and among the free and paid apps are several memory cleaners. They are very popular apps, but do you really need a memory cleaner? What does it do?

Count down to events in the Today view

Do you know the answer to these questions off the top of your head: How many days are there until the end of the month? Your next holiday? Your birthday or anniversary? Even if you are good with dates, these questions are hard to answer. Would you like to know?

Sign your name with the trackpad in OS X

PreviewPreview has had the ability to capture your signature and insert it into documents for some time. You could sign your name on paper, then hold it up to the camera and it would scan it in. Now in the OS X Yosemite version of Preview, you can sign your name on the trackpad. It is an interesting alternative and one that is worth experimenting with. Let's see how to add a signature.

Increase Safari security and privacy in macOS

Web browsers are the biggest risk to your privacy and security. These tips and tweaks make Safari on the Apple Mac safer and more secure

There is still a belief that Apple Macs do not get malware, but this simply is not true. OK, viruses are rare, but adware is common. Improve Safari security and privacy with these tips.

Send and receive SMS text messages on your Mac

If you are still undecided about upgrading OS X your Apple Mac to the new Yosemite, one feature that might change your mind is the ability to send and receive text messages from the desktop without touching your phone. This is a great new feature that makes texting a lot easier. There is just one caveat, you must have an iPhone with iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6 is perfect for the job.

Essential tasks after installing OS X Yosemite

After installing a new version of OS X, there are always lots of essential tasks to perform to get it running exactly the way you prefer. OS X Yosemite for the Apple Mac comes with predefined settings that are mostly OK, but everyone has their own preferences and it takes a few tweaks here and there to get the Mac just the way you like it. Here are some of the changes I made to Yosemite after installing it.

Clean install OS X Yosemite on your Apple Mac

OS X Yosemite is here and it is in the Mac App Store. Just fire up the App Store from the Dock and you can download it free of charge and upgrade your Mac. Before you do though, take a minute to consider your options. Is it best to upgrade or should you perform a clean install? How do you actually carry out a clean install from the download in the App Store?

What is ksfetch and how do you stop it?

I like to keep an eye on what is happening on my Mac and a utility that I have used for a long time is MenuMeters. This is a menu bar utility that shows processor usage, disk usage, upload and download speed, and free and used memory. This utility makes it easy to spot problems that might otherwise be missed and it highlighted an issue with ksfetch.

2 ways to make Finder more useful on the Apple Mac

MacBook and coffee

Start an Apple Mac and when you get to the desktop, that’s Finder. It is more than the desktop though and it enables you to open windows to explore the disk contents. A finder window has a toolbar at the top that contains some useful functions and a sidebar on the left with folders and views. There are two ways to make Finder windows more useful and you can customise both the sidebar and the toolbar.

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