How to detach MacSafari’s download popover to make a proper window

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Some more confusing windows.
Some more confusing windows.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever wish that Safari on the Mac had a proper download manager? Or at least a proper download window,

instead of the popover that sticks to the browser window and gets in the way until you close it?

Well, today your wishes will come true. Or this one modest wish will come true at least.

Make your own iPhone Safari download manager with Shortcuts

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Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the biggest shortcomings of mobile Safari is downloading files. It’ll do it just fine, but it loads everything as if it were a web page. PDFs, ZIPs, MP3s: They all get loaded right there into the current page, whereupon you have to use the Open In… feature to save the file.

Perhaps even worse — you don’t have any idea how long the download is going to take. All you have to go on is the loading progress bar up in the URL bar, which creeps along and really only offers two states: “not done yet” and “done.”

Today we will fix that by whipping up a download manager using the Shortcuts app. Let’s go.

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App Store
It’s still not enough.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Download Instagram photos with this Siri shortcut

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Download Instagram
You can download any Instagram photo -- even this one.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you like a photo or video on Instagram, you can like it, or you can save it to your collection. But what about just saving it? You just can’t download Instagram photos.

This week, a friend of mine posted some awesome videos he shot on tape back in the 1980s. I don’t want to dig around in Instagram’s ever-more-convoluted app just to watch them. I want to save them to my iPhone’s Photo Library. Instagram doesn’t let you save an image. Even if you copy the Instagram link using the share feature, then open that image in iPhone Safari, you can’t get at the image.

So I made a shortcut to do it for me. Check it out.

How to rip and save audio from YouTube videos with your iPhone

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rip youtube audio
This screen represents YouTube, and the telephone represents audio. Or something.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

YouTube isn’t just for video. Lots of folks use it to post audio files, only they gum up the songs with slideshows so they can upload them to the video-publishing service. There are all kinds of apps that let you convert a YouTube video back into an MP3, but today we’re going to see how to convert a video to an MP3 right in Safari, using Apple’a own Workflow/Shortcuts app.

Use this playlist to remove unwanted Apple Music downloads

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music piano
Who wants to hear music like this?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shuffle and skipping are two great tools for listening to new music on your iPhone, using Apple Music. You can download lots of new music to your iPhone, then set it to shuffle while you take a walk. If you’re also wearing a pair of AirPods, a double tap on one of them will skip any tracks you don’t like. It’s a great way to listen to new music, with one big, annoying side-effect: You end up with lots of unwanted downloads cluttering up your iPhone.

But with one simple smart playlist, you can fix that right now.

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Pokemon GO
Pokémon GO made $800m faster than any other game.
Photo: Niantic

How to fix Mac App Store download problems

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App Store tutorial
If you're experiencing certain download issues, this is an early bit of troubleshooting to do.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Macs are renowned for “just working,” but sometimes you might run into problems while downloading software from the Mac App Store. You might encounter files that say they’ve downloaded despite evidence to the contrary, or face verification errors or other installation difficulties.

If so, a relatively common fix involves emptying your Mac App Store temporary download cache folder. If you find yourself running into any of the Mac installation problems mentioned above, cleaning out this folder should be one of your first tasks.

But how do you do it? Follow our easy “how to” guide below.