How to unlock your Mac with Apple Watch

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Apple Watch Unlock in action.
Apple Watch Unlock in action.
Photo: Apple

Maybe my favorite Continuity feature is Apple Watch Unlock for the Mac. Once you set it up, you’ll never need to enter your password to unlock your Mac ever again — not until you restart it, anyway. It’s one of the best examples of Apple’s It Just Works™ philosophy, and it will change the way you use your Mac.

Which buttons should Apple bring back next?

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Buttons. Who doesn't love them? What buttons should Apple add to its products going forward?
Buttons. Who doesn't love them?
Photo: Diomari/Unsplash CC

It may have nothing to do with Jony Ive leaving the company, but Apple has been adding buttons back to its devices. It’s a slow start, but hopefully it’s the beginning of a trend. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro added an Escape key, and a separate power button (you can press the Touch ID button). Plus, the recently introduced iPhone 11 battery case added a dedicated camera button.

After what seems like decades of removing useful hardware features, is Apple finally seeing the error of its ways? And, if so, what buttons would we like to see next? Let’s take a look at the current lay of the land.

Continuity Sketch turns the iPad into a graphics tablet for your Mac

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Continuity Sketch is like having an Apple Pencil for your Mac.
Continuity Sketch is like having an Apple Pencil for your Mac.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You can sign a PDF on your Mac using the giant MacBook trackpad, and you can mark up PDFs and screenshots, too. But all that stuff is much easier on the iPad, especially if you have an Apple Pencil. The problem is getting it there. But in macOS Catalina, you don’t have to “get it” anywhere. Screenshots and PDFs magically show up on nearby iPads, where you can sign them or mark them up. Then you can return them to your Mac. These features are called Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup, and they’re killer.

You know how the UPS guy holds up his brown scanner box for you to sign? PDF markup is like that, only on your iPad — and you never feel guilty about ordering too many parcels.

5 best alternatives to Apple’s $400 Mac Pro wheels

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Smart Car convertible.
Smart Car convertible.
Photo: Public Domain

If you want to add four wheels to your already-expensive Mac Pro, then they’ll cost you almost $100 apiece. Not that you can even buy them separately. You have to specify the $400 option when you buy. The wheels are a part of the Mac Pro’s steel frame, so there’s no way to add them after purchase.

Or is there? We found five good options to let you wheel your Mac Pro around the office, or to perhaps grab the power cable and take the new computer out for a walk like a dog. Or even to sit on the thing and take it for a spin, go-kart-style, down the nearest hill.

How to run iOS shortcuts from your Mac

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Shortcuts on Mac.
Shortcuts on Mac — kinda.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

While it is possible to get the Shortcuts app running in macOS Catalina via Catalyst, you can’t do much with it. But what about the next best thing? How about selecting something on your Mac, then tapping a shortcut on your iPhone, and then having the result show up back on your Mac?

I’ve been doing this for the past few weeks, and it’s not only a workaround, but a genuinely useful — and reliable — way to “run” iOS shortcuts on the Mac. Let’s get right into it.

Keychron K2 is the only mechanical keyboard you should get for iPad [Review]

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keychron k2
Clickety-clacky, there's no going back
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You probably need a keyboard. If you have an iMac, then you already have the one Apple included the box. If you have an iPad or a MacBook, then you should have that thing up on a stand at eye level, with a keyboard and mouse/trackpad attached so you don’t kill your neck/back/wrists. And if you want a clicky keyboard that works great with all three, then pretty much your best (and only) option is the Keychron K2, a beautiful, solid little device that can work with just about any device you have.

Vertical panoramas are the iPhone camera’s hidden jewel

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It's not a vertical panorama, but at least if fits at the top of this post.
It's not a vertical panorama, but at least if fits at the top of this post.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Panoramas are those super-wide, letterboxed strips of photos that look spectacular, and that are impossible to fit into Instagram. Maybe you already shoot a lot of panoramas, and maybe you even use the pano camera to create amazing glitch photos.

But did you consider that panoramas don’t have to be super-wide? They don’t even have to be horizontal. Let’s take a look at vertical panoramas — the iPhone photographer’s surprisingly great secret weapon.

Sidecar is the closest we’ll get to a touchscreen Mac, and it’s good enough [Opinion]

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Ableton on Mac and iPad.
Ableton on Mac and iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

We will never see a touchscreen Mac. Apple has made this clear over and over. Whenever one of its executives is asked about a touchscreen Mac in an interview, the answer is always the same: macOS is for trackpads, and iPadOS for is for touch. Combining them would compromise both.

I agree. While I do catch myself tapping the Mac’s screen from time to time, there’s no way I’d want the Mac redesigned for touch. For one thing, you’d lose all the accuracy of the mouse, because clicking targets would have to be big enough for your fingers. But it doesn’t matter, because Apple has already made a touch option for the Mac. It’s Sidecar, and it’s amazing.

How to arrange your iPad’s window in Catalina’s Sidecar

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Yes, that's Logic Pro X 'running' on an iPad.
Yes, that's Logic Pro X "running" on an iPad in Sidecar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Sidecar, which lets you use an iPad as an external display for your Mac, is an unexpectedly amazing new feature in macOS Catalina. You just move any window to the iPad, and there it is. You can either mouse over to that window with the Mac, just like using any other external display, or you can pick up an Apple Pencil, and use it in the Mac app, directly from the iPad’s screen. And, like any regular external display, you can choose where the iPad’s screen exists.

Today we’re going to see how to move the iPad’s screen from left to right in the Sidecar setup.