Skip the calculator and use iOS Spotlight for all your math needs

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Put a spotlight on your math facts.
Put a spotlight on your math facts.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

If you’ve got a quick bit of math to figure out on the go, why bother tapping into the Calculator app, which you’ve probably got stuffed in some sort of folder on your third page or so?

Even though we’ve been using Spotlight on the Mac for years now to figure out quick mathematical facts, it’s also included in the iOS version of Spotlight, making doing quick bits of math super easy.

Here’s how to use it.

Apple is getting into search? Pleeease

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Could Apple really dump Google search? Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
Search? Don't make us laugh. Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple needs to go a long way before it thinks about launching its own search engine. Smartphones? Sure. Tablets? Absolutely. Search? Fuggetaboutit!

As much as we all love Apple, nobody can deny that its search products are oddly bargain basement in quality. iTunes discovery is horrible, the App Store is abysmal and Siri’s painful.

Could Apple fix it? Sure it could, but it’s going to take a lot more than one poor new employee to do it. Here are the worst offenders when it comes to all things Apple Search:

Apple releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 with Wi-Fi and Spotlight fixes

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A new OS X Yosemite beta is here
Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Along with this morning’s iOS 8.1.3 update, Apple also has some new goodies for Mac users with the release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2.

The update fixes a problem that caused Wi-Fi to disconnect. The latest version also includes a number of bug fixes for Spotlight, Bluetooth headphones, iCloud Drive and VoiceOver, while also improving stability and security in Safari.

The update is available now in the Mac App Store. Here’s a full list of the changes:

Indie productivity app Alfred refuses to let Apple steal its thunder

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ipad-and-imac-on-desk

Well, there goes Alfred.

That’s the first thought I had when I saw the new Spotlight in OS X Yosemite. I feared Apple had basically made my favorite little app launcher obsolete (we nerds call it “sherlocked”).

I was wrong.

It’s six months later, and Alfred is doing just fine, thanks largely to a vibrant community built around its power features, or workflows. Spotlight may be able to quickly launch an app from anywhere, but Alfred can tell the weather, eject attached hard drives, and control your Nest thermostat.

And now, after five years on the Mac, Alfred is making the leap to iOS with a new companion app called Alfred Remote. Released today, it’s not going to be useful for most people, but serious Alfred users will love it. If anything, it’s evidence that you can still build a great app and community around core features offered by Apple.