Don’t skip this crucial step if you want your app to be awesome [ProTip]

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Bill Atkinson portrait MacPaint
Bill Atkinson, the creator of MacPaint, has crucial advice for coders.
Photo: Jim DeVona/Flickr CC

Pro_Tip_Cult_of_Mac SAN FRANCISCO — If you want to make a truly killer app, here’s a crucial part of the creative process you shouldn’t overlook: Give your “finished” software to someone, ask them to do something with it, and then shut the hell up.

Observe their interaction with the app, and you’ll learn what you’re doing right — and what you’re doing wrong.

That priceless piece of advice comes from Bill Atkinson, an Apple veteran who coded some of the greatest Mac software of all time, including HyperCard and MacPaint.

Pro Tip: Get higher quality exports from Photos app

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Photos app does some things differently than iPhoto did.
Photos app does some things differently than iPhoto did.
Photo: Apple

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugAs a long-time iPhotos user, I’ve taken my sweet time getting to know the new Photos app on OS X – it’s got a few differences in the way it does stuff.

One of the new subtleties of Photos is how it treats exporting your pictures. There are two ways to get your images out of the Photos app, one that will give you a smaller file, and one that will preserve the higher resolution, original photo.

Here’s how to make sure you’re exporting your photos at the quality you want.

Pro Tip: How to sync iMessages across your devices

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Make sure you get your iMessages no matter where you are.
Make sure you get your iMessages no matter where you are.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug I’ve always loved being able to pick up an iMessage conversation that I started on my iPhone right on my Mac, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, I’ve been having an iMessage issue for the last few months — I can have conversations via Messages on my Mac and conversations via Messages on my iPhone, but my iMessages have stopped synchronizing across my devices.

Pro Tip: How to watch video while checking email on iPad

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There goes my productivity. Thanks, Apple!
There goes my productivity. Thanks, Apple!
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugSo you’re watching a TV show or movie on your iPad and you hear the ding that means you just got a new email. You could double press on the Home button to bring up the multitasking bar and swipe over to your Mail app, but why?

One of the cool gosh-wow things of iOS 9 on a newer iPad is the picture-in-picture multitasking feature, which means you can switch over to any app while you continue watching that video.

Here’s how.

Pro Tip: Use Siri without all the loud play-by-play

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Siri
Hush it down, Siri. Hush it down.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugYou know how it is: You press and hold the Home button to set a quick timer and Siri comes back all loud, “OK! Setting the timer! I’m in suspense!”

Or some such nonsense. Sure, you want to confirm that Siri’s not, say, adding an event to your calendar or calling your Aunt Tilly instead of setting a timer, but maybe you don’t need Apple’s AI helper to be all chatty about it.

Here’s how you can tamp down Siri’s sometimes-annoying banter.

Pro Tip: Sort by date and app and never miss a Mac notification again

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This makes all the difference when searching for notifications.
This makes all the difference when searching for notifications.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugLike iOS, OS X has its own Notifications Center to keep you abreast of all the stuff going on in your world, from calendar events to reminders.

Unlike iOS, OS X El Capitan defaults to a date sorting system that groups all your Notifications together by the date they were triggered. That’s super handy if you’re searching for a notification you got today, but don’t remember what app it came from. If, however, you want to sort by the app the notification is coming from, or–better yet–sort by date and app, you’re in luck.

Here’s how to choose a different option.

Pro Tip: Set your Mac to perpetual Do Not Disturb mode

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So many birthdays, man.
So many birthdays, man.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pro_Tip_Cult_of_MacNotification Center on OS X seems like a great idea, most of the time, until you get a ton of notifications about things you really don’t care about all at once. You’ve got to click all the little “close” boxes, or click and drag the Notification banners to the right. It can be downright disconcerting.

You can turn on Do Not Disturb for 24 hours, after which it’ll default back to “Disturb.” You can hack your way in and turn off the feature altogether, but then you wouldn’t be able to see any Notifications, ever.

If you want the best of both worlds–Notifications that you can open the Center to see but that don’t pop onto your screen all the time–check out this cool tip.

Pro Tip: Use Apple Watch to send friends your exact location

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Sending your location is just a tap and a press away.
Sending your location is just a tap and a press away.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pro_Tip_Cult_of_MacOne of the cooler features of having a pocket computer like the iPhone is being able to send a friend your location via Messages. Just a couple of taps on the iPhone and you can let anyone know where you’re at. It’s easy and super useful when you need to get a group together at a specific location.

The Apple Watch has a similar feature, which lets you do the very same thing without ever having to pull your iPhone out of your pocket.

Here’s how.

Pro Tip: How to get quick info in Apple Maps with 3D Touch

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Now it's even easier to get quick info on any business in Maps.
Now it's even easier to get quick info on any business in Maps.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Pro_Tip_Cult_of_Mac Maps is shaping up to be a pretty great navigational tool with its tight integration in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, as well as with much more error-free data.

I use Maps as a sort of mobile, digital yellow pages, finding businesses in town and looking up their phone number, hours of operation, website address, and more. It’s a couple of taps in, which can seem tedious after a while.

Now, though, with an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you can get this info in a summarized form, using the new 3D Touch. Here’s how.

Pro Tip: Turn your finger into an eraser on iPad

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Erase with the touch of your finger.
Erase with the touch of your finger.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pro_Tip_Cult_of_Mac The iPad Pro has become a huge favorite of illustrators and artists all over the place, and as these talented individuals get their Apple Pencils, they’re starting to see the joy of drawing directly on Apple’s massive and powerful tablet.

Thing is, the Apple Pencil doesn’t have an eraser on the end of it, unlike competitor artistic styluses (including 53’s own Pencil stylus, which features a big, soft eraser on the end opposite the drawing part).

Luckily, if you’re using an app like Savage Interactive’s Procreate, you can tweak things to make your finger do the magic eraser job.