13 awesome tricks your Mac just learned with El Capitan

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El Capitan beta is here to change your Mac.
El Capitan beta is here to change your Mac.
Photo: Apple

OS X El Capitan promises to redefine the Mac experience with a host of new improvements that make working (and playing) smoother than ever.

There’s a lot to learn about all the new goodies in El Capitan, which finally became available to the public for free today. Everything from Notes to Safari, from AirPlay to Spotlight, has seen gains both big and little.

After spending a lot of time with the new OS, which has been in beta for months, we’ve found 13 killer features every Mac owner needs to know to get the most out of El Capitan. Here they are!

How to use Notes in iOS 9 like a boss

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Notes got awesome new features with iOS 9.
Notes got awesome new features with iOS 9.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The busier my life gets, the more disorganized I become. I fumble for a notepad when I’m out and want to get someone’s phone number. I think of get short story ideas when I’m in the shower, and I have tons of books and movies I want to get (usually when I’m broke). Don’t get me started on shopping lists. Who has time to write those out?

My digital life is just as disorganized. There are web links to save, photos of stuff I want to share with friends, and notes I need to refer to while writing articles on the web. They’re each in their own separate apps or websites, making pulling everything together a pain.

Notes in iOS 9 solves this dilemma by allowing us all to keep all our photos, notes, shopping lists in the one place we’re most likely to find it: on our iPhones.

Better yet, you can dictate an idea for your next screenplay right out of the shower, then pick up your iPad when you get to work and resume it right there.

Here’s how to get the most out of your new Notes app, and never be disorganized again.

iOS 9’s Split View for iPad is everything you hoped it would be

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Split-View-iPad-Air-2

Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

 

When iOS 9 rolls out to the public this fall, it’ll be iPad users that appreciate it most, thanks to the many improvements Apple has made to multitasking. One of the biggest is Split View, a feature that’s exclusive to the iPad Air 2, which lets you run two apps side-by-side — just like you would on your Mac.

Split View lets you read articles in Safari while composing an email in Mail, enjoy a novel in iBooks while taking notes in the Notes app, and talk to friends via iMessage while organizing your schedule in Calendar.

But is Split View as game-changing as it looks at first glance? You bet it is.

How to set up a foolproof note-taking system for writers and other nerds (Part 3)

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Welcome to the final part of our series about note-taking for writers (or anyone else). Today we’re going to look at getting clippings and bookmarks into Evernote, to be stored and accessible alongside your scanned, paper-based notes (Part 1) and your text notes grabbed on your iPhone or Mac (Part 2).

We’ll use a few apps and services to get this done – EverClip, Mr Reader, IFTTT and Pinboard are the main ones.

As ever, you could just do much of this using Evernote and its web clipper, but this only works in Safari and Chrome on the desktop. In 2014! Clearly that’s no good. Let’s see how we can do it better.

How to set up a foolproof note-taking system for writers and other nerds (Part 2)

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Welcome to Part 2 of our series on note-taking for writers (or anyone who takes lots of notes). In three posts we’re looking at ways to take notes on paper, on your iPhone or Mac, and collected from the web, and combine them all (optionally) into Evernote for easy browsing and retrieval. In theory you can do all of this just by launching Evernote, but that app is pretty terrible at capturing notes.

Part 1 dealt with paper notes. This part is all about grabbing quick text notes on your iPhone and Mac, and then using Hazel to send them to Evernote. Have fun!

Write’s smart toolset makes note-taking easier on your Mac

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Write-app-Mac

Write, the distraction-free note-taking tool that’s been a great success on iOS, is ready to make writing easier on your Mac.

Whether you’re a student, a blogger, a novelist, or simply too forgetful to remember what you need to pack your holiday, Write’s incredibly simple design and clutter-free user interface can make writing a more enjoyable experience. But don’t let its minimal beauty fool you — Write is packed with handy features.

How to set up a foolproof note-taking system for writers and other nerds (Part 1)

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I started writing stories this year – short fiction and a couple of novellas so far – and I’ve found I need to make a lot of notes. The iPhone is pretty great for this, as you’d expect, but not always: Sometimes it’s just not appropriate to tap away on a cellphone, and sometimes you might want to make little drawings, or maybe you just find it easier and faster to pull out a paper notebook or index card.

The biggest advantage of iPhone notes is that they are sync-able and searchable. Paper is neither. But using a combo of apps, old-school paper hacks and an easy-to-maintain “workflow”, I came up with a simple note-taking system that keeps paper and pixels together, both equally searchable, sync-able and usable.

PhotoFlip Is An Almost-Excellent Picture Note-Taking App

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PhotoFlip has the beginnings of a great idea, let down by poor implementation. Here’s the idea: The app lets you add notes to the photos you have in your iPhone camera roll, without copying those images. That is, the pictures stay in your regular photo library, and the app just displays them with your text note added underneath.

It’s a great idea right? It uses almost no storage, and doesn’t double up on picture libraries. You can even snap photos from within the app and they’re saved ion the regular camera roll, and everything is synced via iCloud (if you want anyway).

So what’s wrong?