Quicker than switching to iTunes, for sure. Screengrab: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
The advent of iTunes 12.1 gave us a sweet new widget that lets you control iTunes from the Notification Center’s Today section, without ever having to switch to the app itself. You can even favorite songs and buy currently playing tracks if you’re listening to iTunes Radio.
Unfortunately, this widget doesn’t seem to appear by default. To enable it, you need to drop into System Preferences. Here’s how to get it up and running.
Pulling up apps and finding files is super easy on OS X Yosemite thanks to the new Spotlight feature, and thanks to GitHub user slong1987, you can now use Spotlight shortcuts to shutdown, restart, logout and put your Mac to sleep.
The clever workaround uses four small apps that you can download from GitHub and then add to your Applications folder. Once installed, all you have to do is pull up Spotlight (CMD+SPACE) type in Restart, hit Enter and you Mac will reboot.
I’ve found the Sleep shortcut especially useful at coffee shops when you have to step away for quick second. Slong1987 says shortcuts for Empty Trash and Securely Empty Trash are also in the works.
In the past, using the Messages app on a Mac could be an irritating experience. And what if a friend dared to send a green-bubble text from an Android phone? When texting from your Mac, messaging those friends wasn’t possible until now.
In today’s Cult of Mac video, find out how to enable Text Message Forwarding between your iPhone and Mac. With iOS 8.1 and Yosemite installed, enjoying this seamless feature is just a few short taps and clicks away. Find out how to do it all in this speedy tutorial.
The OS X sidebar, introduced in Mac OS X Panther (10.3), has gotten an increased set of features over the years, including the most recent changes in Mountain Lion, which let you Hide and change the order of your Sidebar items.
These changes carried over to Mavericks, and it’s possible some of us forgot that we could do these things, if we even knew it in the first place.
In the spirit of showing you how to do do stuff you may have missed, here’s how to add things to your Sidebar, hide them when you don’t want to see them, and then move them into a different order over there on the left-hand side of your Finder window.
Many videos that you purchase these days via iTunes or other sources have subtitles, those little words beneath the screen that were created to help caption videos.
These can be useful for someone with a hearing impairment, or who reads a different language than the one being spoken in the video, to watch these during a movie.
In OS X Mavericks, you can easily get subtitles going in any supported video, and you can customize the way they look, as well. Here’s how to find out if your video supports subtitles, how to turn them on and how to change their look and feel.
One of the things you can do to keep them out of your precious files is to turn off File Sharing completely. Then, if you still want to share files with other Mac users, you can use AirDrop, which is more of a temporary opening of the security gates than File Sharing is.
Note that you can indeed improve security while using File Sharing on and setting up your Firewall with specific ports, but that’s the subject of a different tip.
While the latest version of Apple’s fantastic (and free!) music production suite, GarageBand, has lost some functionality like podcasting and Magic GarageBand, it still has plenty to recommend it for those new to music or old vets alike.
One of these cool features is the Learn to Play function, which has some pretty good basic music tutorials baked right in, along with the capability to purchase videos from hit artists like Sting and Norah Jones, who teach you how to play some of their famous songs.
It’s a pretty heady set of music learning; here’s how to access it. Getting really good at your instrument will take more than watching a video or three, but this is a great start if you want to try your hand at the guitar or piano.
I’m all for getting my stuff into iTunes more efficiently, aren’t you? Jordan Merrick is, too, and he’s come up with a brilliant way to do just that. He’s also got a great site full of clever tips there as well. Really, go check it out.
The default way, says Merrick, for media to get to iTunes is like this: drag and drop a folder full of music or a video you’ve converted from DVD to iTunes. iTunes takes said media, copies it, and places it into its own special folder structure.
What happens in this case is that you’re left holding two copies of that album or video — one in your iTunes folder and one wherever you pulled it from. That’s kind of silly, if you ask me, especially if you back up regularly. No one needs two copies of anything on their hard drive.
Luckily, there’s a cool folder in your iTunes folder that lets you add stuff directly to iTunes. Sadly, it’s pretty buried, but Merrick will show you a better way.
According to Apple, its App Nap advanced technology feature in Mavericks helps you save power when you’re working with more than one app at a time. The system knows when a certain app is in the background, completely hidden by other apps’ windows. When that app isn’t doing anything, then, OS X will slow the app down, keeping it from using up CPU cycles, and thus battery power.
It’s a great feature, and one of the reasons why your Macbook may seem to have more battery life than it used to, thanks to Mavericks.
When switching to a napping app, it can seem to take a couple of seconds for OS X to get that app back up to speed. If you want to reduce the start up time of a napped app, you can disable App Nap for it.