Photo: Dylan Love
Sometimes it’s a shame that Apple’s computers come with such little documentation.On one hand, Apple is branding itself as so user-friendly that no instructions are required.
But on the other hand, OS X is loaded with plenty of clever tricks and workarounds that go unnoticed simply because they’re slightly less than obvious.
Here are 12 great tricks that aren’t written in any Apple manual that you can start using today.
Note: For several of these you’ll need to open your Mac’s Terminal app. From the Finder go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal to launch it.
Apple's famous chirps that accompany a volume adjustment can get pretty annoying. If only there were some way to make them stop...
HOW TO DO IT: Just hold shift while using the volume keys on your keyboard.
If you're a Dock and Stacks warrior, using them for everything possible, you might want a newer, cleaner way to view your Stack items in a scrolling list.
HOW TO DO IT: Fire up Terminal and type the following line:
defaults write com.apple.dock use-new-list-stack -bool YES
This activates the new list view for stacks. Then, still in Terminal, type:
This restarts the Finder and you should have your new Stacks view ready to go.
Resizing windows can get clumsy. Lion introduces some better way to manage it.
HOW TO DO IT:
Holding the shift key while resizing your window maintains its aspect ratio. Holding the option key while resizing maintains your window's 'anchor,' resizing it from all sides.
Can we create a new file in Preview faster?
HOW TO DO IT: If you have an image copied to the Clipboard, open Preview and hit Command + N, which creates a new file from whatever image you have copied.
For some reason, the Library folder is hidden by default in Lion. We want our access back!
HOW TO DO IT: Open up your trusty Terminal and type:
chflags nohidden ~/Library
Mission Control looks great but we want to customise it a little bit.
HOW TO DO IT: You can change Mission Control's background using these instructions from OSXDaily.
- open Finder
- Go to /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources
- find the file defaultdesktop.png
- rename it to defaultdesktop_backup.png
- copy the image that you want for mission control to the folder and name it defaultdesktop.png
- open terminal and type 'killall Dock'
- you have a new Mission Control background!
Even though we never use Front Row, sometimes we accidentally hit the keyboard shortcut that activates it. The screen goes black for several seconds and we panic, only to realise that we've accidentally activated Front Row once again! Let's turn it off.
HOW TO DO IT: Open up System Preferences. Navigate to Keyboard/Keyboard Shortcuts. Select Front Row and uncheck the box next to 'Hide and show Front Row.'
We love using the command + tab key combo to quickly switch between applications, but if we like having lots of browser windows open. How can we better switch between windows of the same application without clicking around like a fool?
HOW TO DO IT: Command + ~ works very well to switch between open windows of the same application!
When you empty your Mac's trash, you haven't really deleted anything -- you've simply told your computer that the space that data used to occupy is available for new stuff. This means someone using data recovery techniques could potentially recover something you don't want him to see. Here's how to actually zap data from your hard drive.
HOW TO DO IT: When your Trash is full of sensitive items, select 'Secure Empty Trash' from the Finder menu.
Those feeling nostalgic might want the old Dashboard functionality back, having it appear as an overlay on your desktop.
HOW TO DO IT: Open up your Mission Control settings in System Preferences. Uncheck 'Show Dashboard as a Space.'
It can get cumbersome to open System Preferences all the time to make little tweaks to brightness and volume. Is there a faster way to open it to adjust a specific setting?
HOW TO DO IT: Hold down the option key and press the corresponding function key. For example, if we want to adjust sound settings, we'd hold the option key and press one of the volume keys. It'll open System Preferences directly to the Sound pane.
If you have an older Mac and want to redirect its computing resources elsewhere, you can take some of the load off by disabling window animations, like the famous 'genie in a bottle' effect.
HOW TO DO IT: Start up Terminal and type:
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO
The press command + option + escape and relaunch the Finder from the dialog menu that appears.
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