4 easy ways to get back to the Desktop on your Mac

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desktop
Now that's a beautiful desktop.
Photo: Dave Fayram/Flickr CC

Most people are animals. They drop files onto their Mac desktops the way teenagers drop junk food and candy wrappers in the street, littering the place up until you can’t find anything. I’m not gong to try to cure you of that habit. That was your parents’ job, and they already failed. But I can show you a few quick ways to access your shameful desktop when you decide you can face it.

How to find and use the custom spelling dictionary on your Mac

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Edit your Mac custom dictionary.
A dictionary definition of "dictionary," to illustrate an article about dictionaries.
Photo: Caleb Roenigk/Flickr CC

Your Mac has a built-in dictionary and spell-checker. You knew that. You also know that you can add and remove words from that dictionary as you go, teaching the dictionary on the fly.

But did you know that there’s also a text document on your Mac that contains your entire personal custom spelling dictionary? And that you can use this to move your spelling preferences between computers?

You can!

Everything you need to know about tags in iOS 11 and High Sierra

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Tagging files in ios 11
Tagging files is a powerful and easy way to tidy up your files, but it’s currently limited to the new iOS 11 Files app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the most useful new features in iOS 11 is tags in the Files app. Just like in the Finder on the Mac, you can mark your files with as many tags as you like, making them easy to organize, and easy to find, even when they are scattered across different folders.

For instance, if you’re working on a song on your iPad, you could create a new tag for that song. You can add that tag to the GarageBand project, to any versions of the song you export to share with other folks, to any ideas for that song you record with the Music Memos app, and to any little samples, field recordings or sounds you create with other apps. Then, you can see all those files together in one view, even while they all stay safe in their original folders.

Even better is that Files uses the exact same tags as the Finder on your Mac, so anything you keep in iCloud Drive will be tagged in both places. Let’s see how iOS tags work.

How to browse all the auto-saved versions of your Mac documents

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versions twin zebras
Like these twin zebras, the Mac auto-saves versions of your files. Twins!
Photo: Marta Miguel Martínez-Soria/Flickr CC

Did you know that your Mac keeps older versions of the documents you work on, auto-saving them in the background so you can go back to a previous revision, any time you like? It’s just like Time Machine, Apple’s Mac backup feature, only it’s for individual files. It even lets you compare old and current versions of your file, side-by-side. It’s called file versioning, and it’s pretty rad.

Today in Apple history: OS X Panther claws its way onto Macs

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Mac OS X Panther brings Exposé and other new features.
Do you remember OS X Panther?
Image: Gudebookgallery/Apple

October 25 Today in Apple history October 25, 2003: Mac OS X Panther arrives on Macs, bringing a number of useful new features.

Exposé lets users instantly view all open windows at once; iChat AV allows users to talk with audio and video as well as text. The new Mac OS also makes Safari Apple’s default web browser for the first time.

How to use the most useful Finder keyboard shortcuts

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useful keyboard shortcuts
Ditch the trackpad and use the keyboard instead.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You probably spend a lot of time in the macOS Finder. Much of it is likely spent pointing and clicking, using the trackpad pointer to duplicate files, or to click back to the folder you were in a moment ago.

But, like most Mac apps, the Finder offers a ton of useful keyboard shortcuts — to create new folders, navigate files and change what you see in the Finder window. If you learn a couple of them, you can spend a lot less time dithering with your mouse. You will also look like a cool TV or movie hacker if you click on the keyboard instead.

Today, we’ll look at the most useful day-to-day Finder keyboard shortcuts.

How to use the Finder’s powerful bulk renaming tools

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file renaming mac finder
You might be surprised by how much the macOS Finder's renaming tools can do.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Renaming a single file in the Finder isn’t too bad. You can click on its name and type in a new one. But what if you want to rename a whole bunch of files at once? Maybe you want to add the same text to the beginning of every file, or add a number to the end of a folder full of MP3 recording to keep them in the right order. Do you have a folder full of photos named IMG_00xx.JPG that need to be called dads_wedding_00x.jpg instead? Or perhaps that intern spelled the company name wrong on every single one of a hundred files, and you need to correct that word on every file?

In the olden days, you would have to either a) research, download, buy, and learn to use a new bulk-renaming app or b), punish your intern by making them correct everything by hand, before finally resorting to a) anyway because the intern screwed it up again. Now, the Finder has powerful bulk-renaming tools built in, so you can just take care of it all in a couple of minutes, and have your intern make you a coffee instead. If they can be trusted to do it, that is.

macOS 10.13 Wish List: What we want from Apple’s big update

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macOS-dark-mode
A system-wide dark mode for macOS has been rumored for years.
Photo: Guilherme Rambo

There are less than two weeks until Apple introduces the next version of macOS at the WWDC. While the rumor mill has been busting out tons of hardware leaks, details have been scant on the software side of things.

Apple is expected to reveal some amazing features for the Mac with the new software update. We still don’t know everything that will be included in macOS 10.13, but of course, we have our own wish list of the features that we really hope make it onto the Mac.

This is what we want to see in Apple’s next big update:

iOS 11 wish list: Features we’d love to see

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iPhone 7
Here's what to expect from the next version of iOS
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With WWDC 2017 right around the corner, it’s that time of the year when Apple can fix all the annoyances of iOS 10 and unveil something truly revolutionary for the next generation of iPhones and iPads.

Apple is expected to show off all the major features of iOS 11 at the WWDC in a couple of weeks. Surprisingly, the rumor mill has been quiet on what to expect, but that hasn’t stopped a flurry of speculation. We’ve got some ideas of our own too that we really want to see come to iOS 11.

This is what we want in Apple’s next big update:

Beautiful iOS 11 concept shows big changes iPad needs

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They call it
They call it "The Shelf".
Photo: Federico Viticci

Apple hasn’t exactly given the iPad first priority when it comes to iOS updates, but that could change next month at WWDC where the company is expected to unveil iOS 11.

Most of the iOS 11 concepts we’ve seen have been all about the iPhone, but iPad power-user Federico Viticci and Sam Beckett created a beautiful concept that shows some big and simple changes that would transform the iPad from a fun tablet into a pro machine. Features like Finder, Drag and Drop between apps, multi-channel audio and more are on display in the fantastic mockup.

Apple, if you’re reading this, please steal these features: