Our Editor’s Picks For 2012’s Best iOS and OS X Tips [Best Of 2012]



Use iTunes 11 The Right Way With These Tips And Tricks

iTunes 11 just came out, and if you’ve upgraded, you know that it has changed many of the familiar features and moved many of them to different places. Let’s take a look at the different ways to use iTunes 11 the right way, with the following tips and tricks.

Quickly Add Songs To iTunes 11’s ‘Up Next’ Feature

iTunes 11 has a new feature called Up Next. It’s a way to let you know what is going to play next, of course, which is cool when you’re shuffling iTunes tracks, but it’s also a way to set up a playlist of sorts, letting you manage what songs come up at a party, for example.

There are a couple of different ways to add songs to the Up Next queue as well.

The first way is simple — just drag an item from the iTunes library window onto the iTunes LCD area, right there at the top, where the song title of what’s playing now is. You can drag a single song, a whole playlist, an album, whatever you like. The iTunes LCD window will show a blue border around it to let you know that it’s being added, and the Up Next icon will flash with the cover art of whatever you’ve added.

The second, less intuitive way to add an item to the Up Next playlist is to press the Option key while you hover your cursor over an item in the iTunes library window. The track number right by the track name will change to a dark gray plus icon. Click that to add it to Up Next, and iTunes will play it next.

Read the full set of tips on iTunes 11 here.

Four Super Cool Things You Can Do With GarageBand for OS X

GarageBand '11 OS X

GarageBand for OS X changed the way us mere mortals create great music on their Macs. Included with all new Macs or available in the Mac App store for $15, it gives musicians from the brand new to the seasoned veteran a way to record all kinds of music, connecting real instruments, MIDI devices, and microphones to your Mac for easy music sessions. It also does some other cool things, which we’ll tell you about right now.

Feel The Magic

The latest version of this fantastic music and audio software, GarageBand ’11, makes creating a song without touching an instrument even easier – with Magic GarageBand. Essentially, this will guide you through the steps needed to create a great music track for video projects, ringtones, or just your own music to share with family and friends. Here’s how to begin your journey.

Firstly, open GarageBand ’11 and click on the Magic GarageBand icon in the left-hand pane. There will be nine icons in the area to the right, each representing a different musical genre. To listen to each track, hover over the specific icon you want to hear and click on the Preview button that appears.

Once you’ve decided on a musical style, it’s time to click the chosen icon and head onto the stage. GarageBand will lay out all the instruments that it’s chosen for that given song. It may take a couple of minutes to load all the instruments and sounds, depending on your Mac’s CPU speed and RAM.

Once it’s all loaded, click on the triangular play button at the bottom of the screen to preview the whole song. First, note that the front instrument is supposed to be the instrument you’re playing, like a keyboard or connected guitar. If you’re not playing an instrument, click on it and then click on the No Instrument button at the bottom of the window, to make it disappear.

Hover over each of the other instruments on the stage, and a spotlight will appear, plus the name of the instrument. Click on an instrument and the other options for that music track will show up at the bottom of the window. Click on the drums, for example, and the other drum kits will show up. Click on one of them while the music is playing to hear the difference it will make to the overall mix. It may take a measure or two for the new instrument to find its way into the mix, so be patient.

Once you’ve customized all the instruments, it’s time to Open in GarageBand. Click on the button that says that same thing, and GarageBand will open to the full track recording experience. In here, you can change the levels, the balance, and any other crazy thing you can think of. You can drag the sections around at the top of the window, too, by clicking on the title bar (Verse, Bridge, Ending, etc.) and dragging it to where you want it.

See what you did there? You created a song in under ten minutes, right? Hit the Share menu and choose how you want to send this masterpiece out. Choose one of the sharing options to get the song from the editable stage to a more final stage, whether you want to make a ringtone for your iPhone or burn the song to a CD.

Read all four tips for using GarageBand with OS X here.

Best Tips For iPhoto ’11 In OS X

Keep your videos and photos apart.

iPhoto is a fantastic photo storage and editing app for Mac OS X. It’s been around forever and a day, and continues to get upgrades every couple of years. The lastest version, iPhoto ’11, is chock full of features and tools that let you organize and share your photography with your family and friends on the web, on your Mac, or on your TV. Wouldn’t it be great to use all those features to make your photographic life just that much nicer?

You can, and you will, if you read through the following tips and tricks for getting the most out of iPhoto in Mac OS X.

Use Smart Albums To Keep iPhoto Videos And Photos Apart

Using your iPhone or iPad to grab videos as well as photos is all the rage. Small wonder, as these devices and the seamless apps that power them make grabbing a quick video or photo as easy as can be.

Unfortunately, when they all get imported to iPhoto, they get placed in there willy nilly. Well, actually, they’re put in via Event and the date they were created, but you get my point: iPhoto sorts video and photos you take with your iOS device into the same place. Here’s how to segregate the videos out for easier organization.

Creating a Smart Album is pretty straightforward. Simply launch iPhoto and head on up to the File menu. Choose New, then Smart Album from the menu. A window will show up, in which you can set up the rules by which iPhoto will sort your stuff. This is pretty similar to setting up filters or email rules in Mail app, so if you have some experience there, you’ll feel right at home.

In the drop down menus, choose Photo from the left hand side, Is from the middle, and Movie from the right hand drop down menu. This basically tells iPhoto to put every video you have in iPhoto into this smart album.

To access the Smart Album, simply look in the left hand pane of the iPhoto window. Under the ALBUMS section, you’ll see your newly created Smart Album, with the special Gear icon that denotes that this is not a regular album. Your photos don’t actually go anywhere, but Smart Albums provide a way for you to find the stuff that matches the criteria you’ve set up more easily.

You can also edit the Smart Album by right clicking on it in the list to the left. This will bring up the same dialog you used in the creation stage above, thus allowing you to add (the plus sign) or delete (the minus sign) criteria from your collection of media.

Read the full set of tips for iPhoto in OS X here.

Make Your Mac Look And Act More Like An iOS Device

Convergence. It’s all the rage, lately, and what better two items to converge than your Mac, running OS X, and your iPad (or iPhone, or iPod touch), running iOS? IT’s two great tastes that taste great together, to quote an old commercial that mostly no one has heard of any more.

With these five tips, you’ll amaze your friends with a Mac that looks more like your iPad than it does your Mac. So, read on, intrepid souls, and follow our steps to make that sweet Apple computer into something resembling the post-PC magical device we all love.

Make Your Dock And Wallpaper More iOS-Like

Ever wished your Mac could look more like your iPhone? Well, you can.

If you watched the almost two-year-old video, you’ll have noticed that the icon set mentioned was hosted on defunct file sharing site MegaUpload. We did a bit of searching around and updated the process so you could do the same thing, today. Aren’t we nice?

First up, let’s make our desktop background look like the default iPhone one, with a nice high resolution image of earth as seen from space. We did a search on Google for “earth mac wallpaper” and found the image we ultimately used in our screenshot above. Once downloaded, right click on your current desktop background and choose Change Desktop Background from the resulting contextual menu. The Desktop & Screensaver preference pane will show up. Simply drag the image you downloaded to the image well there.

Once your background uses the pretty earth from space picture, head over to the Panic website and grab a copy of CandyBar, a Mac app that lets you customize the icons on your Mac. Download the 14 day trial (the non-trial version is $29), and drag the CandyBar application from the resulting disk image to your Applications folder. Double click to launch it.

Then, go to the iconfacory site to grab the freeware icon set, Flurry. Click on the CandyBar iContainer icon to download another .dmg file, which will be called icontainer.dmg. Once downloaded, double click on it and then double click the Flurry System icon, which will cause it to open in CandyBar.

he next bit is kind of tricky, but we believe in you. Click on the little button in the upper left of the CandyBar window that says Change Application Icons in a tooltip when you hover the mouse over it. In addition, click on the Flurry System icons in the left hand pane. Then you’ll see two panes to the right, one with the current applications on your Mac and the other on the bottom with the new icons from the Flurry set. Click and drag the icons from the bottom pane to the icons you’d like to replace in the upper pane. When you’re done, hit the Apply Icons button, and type in your administrative password and allow CandyBar to restart your dock. The new icons will appear there. Hide or quit everything running and you should have something close to our screenshot above.

Read the full set of tips about making your Mac look more like iOS here.

  • Jrizzz

    I do not see a flag option in ios6. I am only able to mark as unread. Am I missing something?

  • Jean Lefebvre

    Be carefull here: “You can change the view by tapping on the List button to see all of your reminders sorted by list, or you can tap on Date to sort your reminders by date” is no longer possible in the last release of reminders on iOS6.
    See http://52tiger.net/apples-reminders-app-ios-6/ to confirm.

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