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Spring Cleaning: Use Spotlight To Find Huge Files [OS X Tips]

File Size Photo

I’m kind of a stickler for a clean hard drive, especially since I started using Macbook Airs a few years back, what with their tiny little SSD units. I’ve moved most of my music to the Cloud and my iPhoto library to an external hard drive, but there’s still a ton of cruft that ends up on my system.

So, once a month or so, I sort my Movies, Applications, and Downloads folders by size, and delete the biggest things I don’t need anymore. Or I move them to an external hard drive for access later.

What I’ve never done before is use Spotlight to find these files easily across all my folders.

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Make Spotlight Sing: Use Dates To Search Your Files [OS X Tips]

spotlight

You know what I miss? Those pre-defined search items that used to hang out over in the Finder sidebar window. You know, the ones that said, “Files Created Today” or “Yesterday” or what have you. They were super handy.

Turns out, you can get the same sort of search power right in Spotlight. All you need to know is a little syntax, and you’ll be looking for stuff created or modified on specific dates or within certain date ranges. There’s even a way to request stuff done before or after dates. Yay!

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Map Street Addresses Right Inside Safari [OS X Tips]

Maps in Safari

When you want to look up a street address in Safari, you may still be using an old workflow: copy the address from the web page, paste it into the search bar, and then use Google Maps.

With OS X Mavericks, you might even have gone a step further and pasted the address into Apple’s Maps app, and then sending the directions to your iPhone.

There’s another way, though, which offers more immediate gratification: opening the address in Safari.

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Get Rid Of The Chrome Bell Notification Menu Bar Icon [OS X Tips]

chrome bell icon

Boy, you’d think this would be an easy one, right? Most third-party menu bar icons allow you to either drag and delete them from the menu bar itself, or at least provide a Quit or Disable function in their own drop-down menus, but not Chrome.

The little bell menu bar just sits there, mocking us, providing no easy way to delete it from the horde of other app icons competing for our admittedly limited attention.

Fear not, though, as there is a fairly easy–though rather unintuitive–way to delete this bell icon.

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Quickly Hide All The Icons On Your Desktop [OS X Tips]

There are times when you just need to clear off the icons on your Desktop, like when you’re giving an important presentation at work. No one wants to see all the images you’ve saved from the internet, right?

I used to solve this problem with a Sort Me folder on the Desktop, just select all in a Finder window focused on the Desktop, and drag it all to the Sort Me folder.

There’s an even faster and easier way to hide all the icons on your Desktop, though, using the Terminal.

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How To Reset Your Password Without A System Disk [OS X Tips]

Have you lost your Mac password? Are you unable to get into your computer because of it? Apple lets you restore your password if you have the system disks that came with the computer, or–if you have a newer non-optical disk machine like a Macbook–with the built-in system recovery mode.

If you aren’t able to access your system disks or the recovery mode, there’s a couple of tricky ways to reset your password. Both methods are explained in a video by Quinn Nelson on his YouTube channel, and they’re pretty great ways to reset a lost password.

A word of warning, though: this is also a way a malicious person can gain access to your Mac. If you have sensitive documents on your Mac, you owe it to yourself to use FileVault or a third-party encryption tool to add another layer of protection that doesn’t require your admin password.

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Use Preview To Protect Your PDFs With Encryption [OS X Tips]

password protected

Every once in a while, you might want to password protect a PDF file with encryption. While there are several nice third-party apps that will do the trick, the simplest way to do this is with the built-in image and PDF viewer, Preview.

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Make The Most Of Your Terminal History With A Bang [OS X Tips]

history

If you’ve spent enough time messing around in Terminal, you’ll know one thing for sure: re-typing the stuff you’ve laboriously typed in with only minor differences is tedious. And it happens more often than we’d like.

The Terminal does, however, keep a history of all the commands you’ve typed into it. To see this in action, you can cycle through the last few commands you’ve typed in, simply hit the arrow keys up or down when in Terminal.

There are a few more less intuitive commands to make the best use of your Terminal history, however.

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Slow Down That Window Minimize Animation In Mavericks [OS X Tips]

Animate Dock Minimize

So, here’s a weird one–have you ever wanted to watch a window animate itself really slowly as you minimize it to the Dock? No?

Well, let’s assume you did for some reason. How would you go about it?

In Mavericks, anyway, it’s a trivial thing, and it produces a fun effect: your window will minimize to the Dock super slowly, even slower than in the animated image above.

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Add Or Delete Spaces In Mavericks [OS X Tips]

add or delete Spaces

If you’ve been using OS X for any length of time now, you know the special joy of desktop “spaces,” what Apple calls its virtual desktop system. You can switch between them by hitting Command-Arrow (right or left) on your keyboard, or you can activate Spaces with the F3 key on most modern Macs. You can also reorder these Spaces around fairly easily.

But did you know you could add more Spaces? Delete the ones you have?

Well, you can, and it’s pretty simple.

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