How to find out which Mac apps are using your location

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Find out when your Mac is looking at your location data.
Find out when your Mac is looking at your location data.
Photo: Apple

As our digital lives converge across mobile and desktop devices like our iPhones and Macbooks, we rely on them knowing where we are at any given time. Safari suggestions, for example, count on knowing your location, as do any Maps searches or such.

You might want to know when your Location data is being used, however, for privacy reason. If you enable the Location Services menu bar, you’ll be able to see when any app is accessing your private location data, making it more possible to lock down any sources you don’t want using it.

Here’s how to get that menu bar notice working.

Say goodbye to the OS X Dock. With StatusDuck, you’ll never need it again

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launch_term

If you’re like me, you hate OS X’s Dock. While a useful UI innovation on Apple’s part, the dock takes up a surprising amount of screen real estate on what, in the end, adds up to a superfluous amount of visual fluff.

You can hide your dock, sure, but isn’t there a better alternative to dock? As it turns out, there is… and thanks to a cheap Mac app, that alternative is the Menu Bar.

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

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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.

How To Un-Clutter Your Mac’s Menu Bar [OS X Tips]

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menu bar de-clutter

I swear, the more I learn about the Mac OS X operating system, the more there is to know!

There are so many little hidden key strokes on the Mac that help you do all sorts of things, and there’s really no way to find them out.

This little gem is something I just found out today, and I’ve been sending you OS X Tips for the better part of two years.

To get rid of the system menubar icons, you can drop into each System Preference pane and uncheck the “Show in Menu Bar” option, or you can just do this.

Tired Of Clicking? Use The Keyboard To Navigate The Menu Bar [OS X Tips]

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Look, ma, no mouse!
Look, ma, no mouse!

Back in the day, Apple popularized the point and click interface so well that Microsoft decided it would use the same system, thereby paving the way for decades of mouse pointers and menu systems.

Still, one of the great things about Mac OS X is the way it caters to the power user with keyboard shortcuts, both built in and customizable. Heck, in Mavericks, you can even sync these custom tricks with iCloud.

It comes as an obvious surprise, then, when you realize that you can even navigate that most mouse-centric of innovations, the menu bar.

Hide The Menu Bar On Your Secondary Monitor With Mavericks [OS X Tips]

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Get Rid Of Secondary Menu Bar

The external monitor support in Mavericks is much improved, as we noted in yesterday’s tip on getting the Dock to show up on your second monitor.

The menu bar itself will dim when you’re not actively on a specific monitor, as well. In other words, if you’re using monitor A, the menu bar will look opaque, as per usual, while it will dim and go see-through on monitor B. When you switch your active focus by using the cursor on monitor B, though, the menu bar will brighten and not let you see through it, while the menubar on monitor A will go semi-transparent and dim.

There is a way, however, to just hide the menu bar altogether on your secondary monitor, if that’s how you want things to work. The preference is in an unintuitive place, though.

Toggle The Menu Bar Translucency On Your Mac [OS X Tips]

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Translucent Menu Bar

It looks like this has been possible since, oh, Mac OS X 10.5 or so, but I hadn’t come across it before. I’m guessing that might mean some of you haven’t, either.

If you’re one of those amazing folks who have seen this already, then feel free to check out all our other OS X tips; it’s possible there’s something in the list you didn’t know about already.

For the rest of you, if you want to disable the translucent menu bar on your Mac, it’s relatively simple. Check it out.

Quickly Access Time Machine Options Right In The Menu Bar With Mavericks [OS X Tips]

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Browse Other Backup DIsks

On my Macbook Air running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, when I click on the Time Machine backup menubar item, I see the option to browse other backup disks. That’s a pretty cool option, if I need to switch between different disks to backup my Mac; maybe to make a secondary backup for redundancy.

In Mavericks, the Time Machine menu bar icon doesn’t have this option any more, instead only showing Stop This Backup when backing up (or Back Up Now when it isn’t), Enter Time Machine, and Open Time Machine Preferences. If you’re wondering where the option to browse other backup disks has gone, you’re not alone.