How to make your Mac’s dictionary popup way, way faster

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spotlight popup
A spotlight, looking something up.
Photo: Richard Ciraulo/Unsplash

What happens when you use a three-finger tap on your Mac’s touchpad to look up a word? In olden times, it would bring up a dictionary definition, instantly. Today, it probably doesn’t do anything. Not for a few seconds at least. Or rather, it pops up a panel right away, but then it takes a few seconds to load whatever Siri reckons you might be looking for.

So, how do we stop this madness? Easy. We switch it off in the Mac’s settings, aka System Preferences.

6 power-user tricks for Mac Spotlight

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Spotlight is good for much more than just finding files.
Spotlight is good for much more than just finding files.
Photo: Pixabay/Pexels CC

Spotlight for Mac. Isn’t it that little magnifying glass icon in the menubar, the one that you click when you’ve given up trying to find that document you swear is somewhere on your Mac? Well yes, it is. But if you know these Mac Spotlight tips, it can be so much more than that.

You can use it to find a document, even if you can only remember a snippet of text from inside that document. But you can also use it to do math, launch apps, open folders, and even check the weather. These Mac Spotlight tricks will let you get the most out of this underutilized feature.

How to turn on Mac Bluetooth without a mouse

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Dust off any old USB keyboard and get your Bluetooth back in action.
Dust off any old USB keyboard and get your Bluetooth back in action.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You wake up or restart your Mac, and nothing is connected. Your Bluetooth keyboard does nothing. You wiggle your Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, and the on-screen pointer refuses to wiggle in response. The problem? You Mac’s Bluetooth is switched off. But how do you switch it back on without a mouse?

Today we’ll see how to activate Bluetooth on an iMac, Mac Pro or Mac mini 1 without having to touch a mouse or trackpad. All you need are a USB keyboard, Spotlight and one clever trick.

How to use iOS Spotlight like a launchbar for your iPad

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Let these shortcuts take care of your morning routine, so you can focus more on important things, like breakfast.
Let these shortcuts take care of your morning routine, so you can focus more on important things, like breakfast.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Every morning, after I park my iPad in its desk stand, I start writing the same way: I play the same music playlist; I start the Focus app, which reminds me to take breaks; and I create a new Ulysses sheet to start typing in. And I do all of these almost without touching the screen.

You’d be surprised at how much you can do on the iPad with just the keyboard. Today we’re going to see some cool examples, plus a bonus Good Morning shortcut.

Remove annoying clutter from iPad Spotlight searches

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spotlight
No, not this kind of spotlight.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you use Spotlight to find stuff on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be familiar with the mess of results you get when you search. Maybe you’re searching for a note or an email about that really important thing, only the actual results you want are buried under a heap of nonsense from twitter, from YouTube, from all the Ebay classifieds you’ve viewed, and so on.

The good news is, you can trim these results, eliminating the noise you don’t need. The even better news is that recent versions of iOS do this is a much more elegant way.

Pro Tip: Use iOS Spotlight as a keyboard app launcher

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spotlight keyboard ap launcher
A spotlight helps find things.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugDid you know that you can use Spotlight on iOS as an app launcher? It works just like Launchbar or Alfred on the Mac. You just hit a keyboard shortcut and start typing, then hit enter to launch the app. If you have a wireless (or wired) keyboard attached to your iPad, you’re going to love this tip.

This great iOS Spotlight trick lets you know everything about a person

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spotlight contact search
Several spotlights.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Somewhere after the launch of iOS 11, Apple tweaked Spotlight search to be way more useful. Now, when you search for a person, you can trigger a sub-search that lets you find everything you have on them, from emails, to iMessages, to their contact details, through WhatsApp messages, to calendar events. Anywhere that your selected contact exists on your iPhone or iPad will show up in the list.

And then, you can narrow the results with a sub search.

These are all the things Spotlight can find on your iPhone and iPad

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spotlight
A picture of a light, to illustrate Spotlight search.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Spotlight is Apple’s search technology for Mac and iOS, and it can help you find almost anything. Not just stuff on your iPhone, either. Spotlight can also help you find nearby places, look up words in a dictionary, and even do currency and unit conversions, all from one search box. Let’s take a look at everything Spotlight can do on your iPhone or iPad.

How to upgrade to macOS High Sierra the right way

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Save $200 on a new iMac
Elevate your Mac to High Sierra.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s latest update for the Mac finally arrived today in the form of macOS High Sierra, bringing a host of improvements to Mac users. While the update doesn’t contain a ton of outward-facing changes, it’s definitely worth taking the time to upgrade if you want your Mac to be faster and more secure than ever.

Here’s how to do it.