Force Mac apps to open in glorious full-screen mode

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Full-screen works great on a MacBook.
Full-screen works great on a MacBook.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Full-screen mode on a Mac is pretty great. Unlike Windows, where full-screen apps have been the default since forever, the Mac’s full-screen abilities are a fairly recent addition. And the default is still for apps to launch in smaller windows, which is the Mac Way. But what if you want those apps to launch in full-screen every time you open them? Well, by changing one setting — and abandoning in ingrained habit — you can have exactly that.

Bonus: Full-screen app launching will only apply to the apps you choose, leaving the rest of them to behave normally.

How to add a Smart Folder to your Mac’s Dock (and why you’ll want to)

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A Smart Folder can make a powerful addition to your Dock.
A Smart Folder can make a powerful addition to your Dock.
Photo: Dan Counsell/Unsplash CC

I have an app I use every day, but whenever I open it, it opens to a new, blank document, instead of the project I was working on when I closed the app. To open that project, I have to mouse up to my Mac’s menu bar, click on File > Recent Items…, and find it in there.

To fix this, I set out to find a way to easily access the last few projects from this app. What if I could put this list of recent projects into my Mac’s Dock? It turns out that you can easily do this, using a quick Spotlight search, a Smart Folder and a drag to the Dock.

Service Station app customizes your Mac’s right-click menu

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Service Station
Service Station should be on every Mac.
Photo: Knurling Group

Service Station is the Mac app I didn’t know I was waiting for. It lets you customize the Finder’s right-click contextual menu to put essential functions just a click away. It’s also from the Mac App Store, and uses the official Finder Extension framework, so you don’t need to worry about running some weird hack on your machine.

Unfortunately, it only runs on macOS 10.14.4 or later, so I can’t use it on my old iMac. (That’s a sad-face emoji right there.)

How to change the Files sort order in iOS

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empty podium sort order
A metaphor for "sort order."
Photo: Joshua Golde/Unsplash

On the Mac, you probably know all the tricks for sorting things in the Finder. You can choose icon, list and column views. And you can sort the files and folders in those windows by various dates (added, created, modified), size, name and lots more. Some, but not nearly all, of these sorting options are also available on iOS in the Files app. Let’s take a look.

This Command key shortcut will change how you use your Mac

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command key
Take command.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There are two kinds of Mac users. The sad, harried folks who don’t know how to use this easy, essential, life-changing Command key trick. And the happy, efficient, relaxed people who learned it years ago. If you’ve seen the movie Back to the Future, it’s like the difference between the two 2015 versions of George McFly, before and after Marty screws around with the 1950s. This trick will change your life.

Are you ready?

Front and Center makes the Mac Finder behave like it should

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Front and Center screenshot
The window 'manager' you never knew you wanted.
Photo: John Siracusa

If you’re at your Mac, go ahead and click a window for another app (don’t forget to come back right away). Clicking an app’s window brings it to the foreground, of course. But did you notice that only the window you clicked came forward. If that other app has any other windows open, they will stay hidden. It wasn’t always this way. In pre-OS X days, the default behavior was to bring all those windows to the front. And now, thanks to a new app called Front and Center, from John Siracusa, you can get this behavior on a modern Mac.

How to fake Finder Quick Actions on older Macs

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Finder quick actions
Who doesn't love the Finder?
Photo: Cult of Mac

MacOS Mojave and Catalina both have Finder Quick Actions. These are buttons that sit in the preview panel of any file, and let you perform quick actions of the selected file with one click. Actions vary depending on whether you’ve selected an image, a video, and so on. The defaults let you rotate images, crop video, and turn most other things into PDFs. You can also add your own Quick Actions, using Automator.

But what about Macs running macOS High Sierra or earlier? Can you add Quick Actions? The answer is yes, kinda.

How to sync your iPhone with your Mac in Catalina

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iTunes-as-Swiss-Army-knife-pun.
iTunes-as-Swiss-Army-knife-pun.
Photo: Goran Ivos/Unsplash

In macOS Catalina, iTunes has been replaced by separate apps, but none of those new apps takes on the tasks of syncing your music, books, photos and other data to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. That responsibility now falls upon the Finder.

So, does this means you can plug in your iPad and drag and drop all your apps’ files between it and your Mac? Of course not. In fact, apart from this functionality now being in the Finder, not much has changed at all.

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.
OS X Panther brought cool new features to Macs.
Screenshot: Gudebookgallery/Apple

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

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

Files app makes iPad more Mac-like in iOS 13 [Video]

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Files app on iPad in iOS 13
File sharing was pulled from iCloud Drive during beta testing.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple has slowly been turning up the dial on what iOS can do, trying to make it more and more “computer” like. With iOS 13, one of the points of frustration with computing on iOS – and especially on iPad – is finally being addressed thanks to changes in the Files app.

With iOS 13, the Files app is taking a huge leap toward the Mac model of file management. There’s a whole bunch of smaller changes, as well as some big upgrades that make it really compelling.