How to maximize your El Capitan windows without going full screen

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Don't let OS X windows take over your whole screen.
Don't let OS X windows take over your whole screen.
Photo: Luke Chesser/Unsplash

It used to be that if you wanted to zoom any window on your Mac to see as much of the content inside it as possible, you’d hit OS X’s green button in the upper left of the window.

As of OS X Yosemite, the green button turned into a “full screen” trigger, zooming any window out to completely fill your Mac’s monitor.

If you hate that behavior, here’s an easy way to get the original zoom feature without the full screen.

Pro Tip: Get higher quality exports from Photos app

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Photos app does some things differently than iPhoto did.
Photos app does some things differently than iPhoto did.
Photo: Apple

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugAs a long-time iPhotos user, I’ve taken my sweet time getting to know the new Photos app on OS X – it’s got a few differences in the way it does stuff.

One of the new subtleties of Photos is how it treats exporting your pictures. There are two ways to get your images out of the Photos app, one that will give you a smaller file, and one that will preserve the higher resolution, original photo.

Here’s how to make sure you’re exporting your photos at the quality you want.

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.

How to send app crash reports to OS X Notification Center

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Crash reports don't have to interrupt your Zen.
Crash reports don't have to interrupt your Zen.
Photo: Lifehacker

OS X is about as reliable as any operating system out there, but apps still can — and do — crash. When they do, they take up the entire middle of your screen, interrupting whatever you’re doing, even if the app that crashed was running in the background.

It’s a mild annoyance, true, but it doesn’t have to be an annoyance at all. Here’s how to push crash messages to Notification Center instead of the middle of your screen.

Apple hides beautiful Retina wallpapers on ‘Something New’ website

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Perfect for an iPhone, right?
Perfect for an iPhone, right?
Photo: Jake Sargeant/Apple

If you’re looking for some amazing new Retina-display-quality images to wallpaper your Mac, iPhone or iPad, you might want to head over to Apple’s “Start Something New” campaign web page.

The sub-site — part of an ongoing advertising campaign highlighting how creative you can get with Apple products — has a bunch of amazing images that zoom around when you mouse a cursor across them.

Here’s how to get them to spruce up your device.

The easy way to add emojis to everything on your Mac

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Emoji for all your textual needs.
Emoji for all your textual needs.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre / Cult of Mac

In Apple’s Messages app, you can easily add emojis with a quick click on the little happy face icon in the iMessage text field. If you use a chat app like Slack, you can do the same.

But what if you want to add an emoji to an email, a letter, or any other text field? Turns out there’s an often-overlooked menu item (with a corresponding keyboard shortcut) that lets you do just that.

Check it out.

Get iTunes to stop asking you to authorize your Mac

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iTunes sales hit a peak in 2012, and they've been falling ever since.
iTunes sales hit a peak in 2012, and they've been falling ever since.
Photo: Apple

Trying to play a song in iTunes and getting the same error over and over can be frustrating. If your computer isn’t authorized with your Apple ID via iTunes, it won’t let you play any songs you’ve downloaded from the iTunes Store until it is. Sometimes iTunes will seem to get “stuck” prompting you again and again with the need to authorize.

If you’re having trouble playing your purchased iTunes on your Mac due to the repeated prompts to authorize your computer, there are a few things you can do.

How to set up your new Mac like a pro

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New Mac? Lucky! Here's how to set it up right.
New Mac? Lucky! Here's how to set it up right.
Photo: Apple

‘Tis the season for gift-giving, and one of the hottest gifts around is a new MacBook or iMac. If you’re one of the lucky ones to get one this year, you’ll want to rip open that box, tear off that plastic sheeting, and get to the good stuff.

Once you’ve plugged in your new Mac, you’re in for a treat, because it’s pretty easy to set up, whether you have an old Mac to transfer data from or you’re starting from scratch. There are a few choices to make along the way, though, and some essential tricks and apps you’ll want to consider, so we’re here to take you through the process.

Here is Cult of Mac’s guide to setting up your new Mac the right way.

Pro Tip: Sort by date and app and never miss a Mac notification again

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This makes all the difference when searching for notifications.
This makes all the difference when searching for notifications.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugLike iOS, OS X has its own Notifications Center to keep you abreast of all the stuff going on in your world, from calendar events to reminders.

Unlike iOS, OS X El Capitan defaults to a date sorting system that groups all your Notifications together by the date they were triggered. That’s super handy if you’re searching for a notification you got today, but don’t remember what app it came from. If, however, you want to sort by the app the notification is coming from, or–better yet–sort by date and app, you’re in luck.

Here’s how to choose a different option.

Pro Tip: Set your Mac to perpetual Do Not Disturb mode

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So many birthdays, man.
So many birthdays, man.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pro_Tip_Cult_of_MacNotification Center on OS X seems like a great idea, most of the time, until you get a ton of notifications about things you really don’t care about all at once. You’ve got to click all the little “close” boxes, or click and drag the Notification banners to the right. It can be downright disconcerting.

You can turn on Do Not Disturb for 24 hours, after which it’ll default back to “Disturb.” You can hack your way in and turn off the feature altogether, but then you wouldn’t be able to see any Notifications, ever.

If you want the best of both worlds–Notifications that you can open the Center to see but that don’t pop onto your screen all the time–check out this cool tip.