How to back up your iCloud Photo Library

By

Back up your precious — and totally non-creepy — memories.
Back up your precious — and totally non-creepy — memories.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Wait, what? Why would you want to back up your iCloud Photo Library? Apple takes care of that, right? After all, the clue is in the name — the library is stored in iCloud.

Not so fast. That’s true, but what if something screws up at Apple’s end? What if you lose access to your iCloud account? What if, what if, what if? In most cases, you’ll be fine, but being a good computer nerd, you probably understand the value of redundant backups. So today we’ll see how to make sure all your images are safely stored. Just in case.

How to search Google like a boss

By

Google search operators
Search like a pro with Google search operators.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

For many folks, Google is the front page of the internet. You don’t type Facebook.com into your browser. You just type “Facebook,” and then click the first Google result. Or you do a basic search by tapping in what you’re looking for.

But Google is way more powerful than that. You just have to learn a few of its secret code words, and then you can slice and dice your searches like a pro. No more wading through pages of results to find what you want. Use these tricks, and you’ll almost always get what you want on the first page. You can even ask Google to show you the weather.

How to make the Calendar app’s timer picker more accurate

By

Wait just a minute calendar picker
Wait just a minute…
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever look at the five-minute intervals on the Calendar app’s time picker and think, “I really wish I could set that appointment at 09:03 and not 09:05”?

No, neither did I (nor did anyone else that isn’t some kind of control-freak psychopath). But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Today we’ll see how to tweak the Calendar’s time wheel to show one-minute increments instead of the usual five-minute segments.

How to place and receive phone calls on iPad

By

Remember these?
Remember these?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Ever looked at your iPad and thought, “I’d love to hold that huge thing up to my ear and make a phone call. I’d look to-ta-lee badass. Now, where’s my cellphone holster?”? Bonus points if you had this thought while looking at a huge 13-inch iPad Pro.

Of course, it might actually be handy to make calls on your iPad, especially as you probably would use AirPods or EarPods to do so. Your iPhone may be charging, or in another room, or maybe you’re there with a number ready to call on your Mac or iPad. Now, the iPad still can’t use its cellular connection to send or receive SMS messages, or make phone calls, but if you have an iPhone nearby you can use it as a bridge to do both. Bonus: This even works with the Wi-Fi-only iPad.

How to make Shortcuts give you a weather forecast on iPad

By

iPad weather
Life’s a beach — without this iPad weather shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad infamously still lacks a built-in weather app. There are plenty of ways around this — you can ask Siri, you can use the Maps app to see the weather anywhere, or you can wait for your iPhone to give you a lock-screen forecast every morning.

Today we add a new method. We’ll make a quick shortcut that gets the weather at your current location, and displays it as a notification.

How to move your iOS GarageBand projects to the Mac

By

This parking garage could totally have a band inside.
This parking garage could totally have a band inside.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I can’t tell you how much I love GarageBand on the iPad. But even though it’s a fantastic app, and totally self-contained, sometimes you need to use a Mac. That’s because the iOS version lacks several features of the desktop version. But that’s OK, because the Mac can open iOS GarageBand projects easily. And today we’re going to see how to do it.

How to stop Google from tracking your clicks

By

Stop the madness
Stop! The! Madness!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Whenever you click a link in a Google search, it replaces the URL of the site with a tracking URL. If you hover over a link with your mouse before you click it, Safari will show you the full URL of that link. It’s a great way to check where you’re about to get sent. Google plays along with this, showing you the proper URL for the link in question.

Only when you actually click on it, it swaps out that link, replacing it with its own tracking link.

Fortunately, there’s a way to block this sneaky, underhanded and totally unsurprising behavior.

How to switch on Mojave’s Dynamic Desktop

By

Dynamic desktop
Imagine this, only more dynamic.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Dynamic Desktop is a great macOS Mojave feature. It changes the desktop image throughout the day, so your wallpaper always matches the time of day — nighttime images at night, shadowless glare at noon, and so on. Today we’ll see how to switch it on, and where to find new Dynamic Desktop images to add to the defaults.

How to recover previous versions of your files on Mac

By

Files may be clunky, but it's better than this.
There's no need to keep a zillion different versions of a file on the Mac.
Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr CC

What happens if you’re working on a document and you realize you screwed it up? Maybe you deleted a few paragraphs without realizing. Or you’ve just been writing a bunch of nonsense for the past half-hour and wish you could go back to where you were before? On the Mac, you can easily do just that. It’s called versions, and it’s automatic.

Using versions, you can easily browse and restore previous versions of any document. Some apps have this built in, so you can do it right there inside the app itself. But the Finder also supports versions, so you can revert to a previous state of almost anything.

Pro Tip: This to-do list hack turns your tasks into questions

By

Question mark to list trick
Rephrase your tasks as questions.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip: This to-do list hack turns your tasks into questions How many times have you stared at the same list of stale tasks on your to-do list? I have whole sections that have been there so long they’ve become invisible to me —- just like the sign in by bathroom telling guests to sit down to pee has become invisible to certain of my antisocial visitors.

Now, today’s tip isn’t going to help you to finish off those lingering tasks. You may as well just delete them, because you’re never, ever going to complete them. But it might help you rescue newly added tasks from the same stagnant fate. It’s called the “question mark to-do list trick”, and so far it’s working for me.