A new companion app called Alfred Remote makes it easy to control your Mac from an iOS device. Photo: Alfred
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.
Your Mac’s calculator has some tricks up its sleeve. Photo: Rob LeFebvre
As the world gets smaller and smaller thanks to the global marketplace called the internet, you may sometimes need to know exactly how much your dollar will get you in the wider world. Is that £15 widget really worth it? You’ll only know if you convert it to some form of currency that you understand better.
Your Mac has at least three ways to do this sort of calculation: with a Dashboard widget, the built-in Calculator app, and even with Spotlight. Here’s how to convert currencies into something that makes more sense, right from your handy Mac computer.
Spotlight Search could also shine a light on your personal details. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple is normally pretty hot on security, but a new glitch discovered in OS X Yosemite’s search threatens to expose the private details of Apple Mail users — including IP addresses, and more — to online spammers and phishers.
The privacy risk occurs when people use Spotlight Search, which also indexes emails received with the Apple Mail email client. When performing searches on a Mac, Spotlight shows previews of emails and automatically loads external images in the HTML email.
OS X Yosemite is packed with new features. Unfortunately, not everybody knows every single trick to squeeze the latest, greatest functionality out of Apple’s new system software.
In today’s instructional Cult of Mac video, we share five basic OS X Yosemite tricks that everyone needs to know. We’ll show you how to make phone calls from your Mac, switch to Yosemite’s “dark mode,” use Spotlight like a pro, easily record video from your iOS device screen, and let other people control your Mac (and vice versa).
On the other hand, every time you type in Spotlight, your location and local search terms are sent to Apple, and, according to developer Landon Fuller, other third parties like Microsoft.
Fuller’s created a website, Fix Mac OS X Yosemite, where he’s posted up a way to stop Yosemite from sending such private data out. He’s also been contributing to a developer project on GitHub to find out and fix other ways that OS X phones home.
Spotlight in OS X Yosemite (Photo: Roberto Baldwin/ The Next Web)
App launchers on the Mac have always been geared toward power users, and lately tools like Alfred have become even more sophisticated, with user-created scripts and extensions. When Apple debuted the new Spotlight in OS X Yosemite at WWDC, it took many of the best features from existing launchers, like the ability to find any app you have installed with a couple keystrokes.
LaunchBar was the original app launcher on the Mac, and today a brand new version was released with a themable interface and new features.
Will tools like LaunchBar and Alfred live on when millions of Mac owners start using the new Spotlight this fall? Now that Apple has capitalized on the more consumer-friendly aspects of what makes a good launcher, third-party alternatives are going after power users like never before.
Spotlight is crazy useful to find stuff on your Mac. Just hit Command-Space on your keyboard and type in the name of files, words from in text files, the kind of document you want, or even the date when you think it might have been created or modified, and you’ll find it in an instant.
I rarely organize stuff into fine-grained folders anymore due to the power of this one simple to use feature in OS X.
Sometimes, though, I want to know where a found document is — here’s a cool trick to do just that, sent to us from Cult of Mac reader Ivan Manzanilla.
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.
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!