This essential iPad shortcut lets you instantly preview any file

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Add Quick Look to the Files app. Sometimes I think it was easier the old way.
Sometimes I think it was easier the old way.
Photo: Maksym Kaharlytskyi/Unsplash

The iPadOS Files app isn’t bad, but it has one super-frustrating flaw. While you can now enjoy multiple windows, hook up any and all USB drives, and even connect to network servers, you can’t do one simple thing: Preview a file. Or rather, you can preview any file, just by clicking on it, but you never know whether Files will actually show you a Quick Look preview, or just open that file in an arbitrary app.

Today, we will add a dedicated Quick Look entry to the Files app share menu. Never again will you tap to preview a file and have it launch an app instead.

Get your MacBook Pro’s Escape key back without spending $3,000

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Escape the Touch Bar's tyranny by restoring your MacBook Pro Escape key.
Find out how to escape the Touch Bar's tyranny.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Escape key is pretty essential to the Mac. You can use it to, well, escape from the current window/view/text field. You can use it to dismiss some dialog boxes. It can even be used to force-quit an unresponsive app. And that’s before we get to the Vim text editor, which is as dependent on the Escape key as Jony Ive is on new kinds of aluminum. So why did Apple remove the physical MacBook Pro Escape key when it introduced the Touch Bar?

Apple made that move, much to the despair of some users, back in 2016. Now, in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, the Escape key is back. But what if you have a perfectly good previous-gen MacBook Pro? Are you really going to spend close to $3,000 just to get your Escape key back? No, you are not. Instead, you are going to repurpose the Caps Lock key, and turn it into an Escape key.

Toolbox Pro brings incredible new tricks to Shortcuts

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Toolbox pro
Who doesn’t love a good pro toolbox?
Photo: Susan Holt Simpson/Unsplash

Apple’s Shortcuts app is already a very powerful tool for automating stuff on your iPhone and iPad, and for creating your own push-button mini-apps. But what if it also could use the deep tools that Apple builds into iOS for app developers? What if Shortcuts could use Face ID, or analyze your photos using iOS’ crazy-powerful machine learning? Or if you could use the OCR to pull text out of photos, all inside Shortcuts?

Thats what Toolbox Pro does. It opens up many of Apple’s amazing under-the-hood technologies, and lets you use them just by dragging a new step into your Shortcuts workflows. Let’s see what it can do.

Force websites to comply with macOS Catalina’s Safari Dark Mode

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Dark mode for safari
Sometimes only Dark Mode will do.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I stopped reading white text on a black background the moment I left school, and I’ve never liked it since. Especially on a screen, where the black expanse becomes a dark mirror that reflects everything in its sight. But even I prefer Dark Mode late at night, when I want to read without disturbing other people.

The trouble is, many websites don’t support Dark Mode. Everything else in Safari is rendered in tasteful black, but the page itself is still rendered in glaring white. Happily, on the Mac at least, there’s a way to fix it. Here’s how to force any website to support Safari Dark Mode on Mac.

Dongle-tangling: Use dark chaotic forces and never lose your headphone adapter again

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Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how headphone cables always get tangled? In the past, I have put a cable down carefully, and picked it up just moments later, and the wires have already tied themselves into knots. And you know what else is super-annoying? Apple’s stupid USB-C and Lightning headphone adapters, the kind that you have to use if you want to plug headphones or cables recent into iPads and iPhones.

But what if there was a way to take both these annoyances, and combine them into something … slightly less annoying?!? That would be amazing, obviously. Today we will see how to use the powerful dark force of tangling to stop you from losing your headphone jack dongles.

How to share an Apple TV+ subscription with your family

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Share Apple TV+
Apple hopes the package will boost subscriber numbers.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple TV+ has turned out to be pretty good. Certainly, it’s a lot better than critics claimed. So, you may even want to share the shows with your family. And, thanks to Apple’s Family Sharing, this is not only possible, but easy.

You can all watch different shows at the same time, or you can just enjoy the lazy convenience of catching the latest episode of The Morning Show on whoever’s device is nearest. Let’s see how to share your Apple TV+ subscription with your family.

A used 2015 Retina MacBook Pro might be the best MacBook you can buy today

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Old macbook
Why not buy an old MacBook instead of Apple’s flawed lineup?
Photo: Mark Solarski/Unsplash

Since I wrote about Apple’s ongoing MacBook disaster last week, and then offered a bunch of alternatives to the current MacBook lineup, several readers got in touch to ask which — if any — older MacBooks we’d recommend. I haven’t bought a MacBook in years, so I did a little research, and asked around the Cult of Mac crew.

So, let’s find out which is the best (old) MacBook you can buy today.

Tap your AirPods Pro case to check if it’s charged

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AirPods Pro. Like regular AirPods, only more professional.
Tap the AirPods Pro battery case to show the charge status LED.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The AirPods Pro come in a Qi-enabled wireless charging case, which means you can just drop it onto a charging mat, grab them a while later, and everything is topped up and ready to go. But the LED indicator on the case blinks off soon after you start charging. What’s up? How do you find out if your AirPods are full yet?

The best alternatives to Apple’s disastrous MacBooks

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Macbook alternatives: The Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Unlike MacBooks, the Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Photo: Clint Patterson/Unsplash

Apple’s current line of MacBooks is probably its worst laptop lineup in years. The keyboards are so broken that even the newest MacBook Air is covered under Apple’s keyboard repair program. There are too few ports, and too much heat. And if you want to upgrade any internal parts? You’ll have to buy a new MacBook. But what are the best MacBook alternatives?

If you want to ditch the MacBook, you will find plenty of options. However, none of them offer one essential element: macOS. Switching to another operating system is like moving house and having to leave everything but your clothes behind. But there are workarounds even for that. Let’s check out the best alternatives to the MacBook in 2019.