Mary’s X Files, May 2019

Create Smart Albums in Photos on Mac
~iCreate Magazine

The Photos app has some brilliant features that enable you to organise the photographs you take on your iPhone or digital camera into albums. For example, there are Smart Albums that automatically update as you add new images to Photos. They enable you to create rules that define the photos that are included, such as selfies, portraits, date taken, slo-mo and more. The Photos app has built-in AI that enables it to recognise scenes and objects in photos without you having to add tags or categorise them. It can find all photos of buildings, animals, lakes, boats, all pictures with clouds, all sports photos and more. Use the AI to find photos then turn them into albums.

1. Get smart – Although photo albums can be created manually, it can be a lot of work adding images. Smart Albums are automatic. Go to the ‘File’ menu and select ‘New Smart Album’.

2. Create a rule – Enter a name for the Smart Album and then look at the rule below. It needs modifying, so click the first item and select the condition to be met for photos to be included.

3. Configure the conditions – There are three or four conditions to configure.

4. View your album – After creating the rule, the Smart Album is added to the sidebar. Select it to view the photos it contains. Ctrl+click it to display a menu and select ‘Edit Smart Album’.

5. Add more conditions – If there are photos in the Smart Album that do not belong, click the ‘+’ icon to the right of the condition and add more. For example, select ‘Photo’, ‘is not’, and ‘Panorama’.

6. Use smart search – Photos has built-in AI, object and scene recognition, which is great for creating photo albums. Click in the search box and type a word, then select a suggested category.

Control Startup Sounds
~iCreate Magazine
Does your Mac have a startup sound? Old ones do, so press F10 to mute the sound before powering off if you want to enable a silent start next time. Modern Macs start silently anyway, but if you miss the old startup sound, some people have found that entering ‘sudo nvram BootAudio=%01’ into Terminal works and ‘%00’ stops it.

Tweak the Menu Bar on Mac
~iCreate Magazine
You can move menu bar icons by holding down the Cmd key, hovering over one and then dragging it to a new position. You can also remove or add system icons by going to their respective preference panels in System Preferences and ticking or unticking the boxes at the bottom.

Say it Right for Siri
~iCreate Magazine
If Siri has trouble pronouncing certain names correctly then you can rectify this by saying, “Learn how to pronounce [contact name]”. Siri will then provide a selection of different pronunciations (that you can listen to by clicking the Play button) and you just have to pick the one that sounds the closest.

Search Notes with Siri
~iCreate Magazine
If you, like us, keep pages and pages of random notes then you can task Siri with finding a particular note – as long as you know one or two keywords. Say something like, “Find my note containing [keyword],” and Siri will launch your Notes app and provide an array of possible matches.

Send Messages using Siri
~iCreate Magazine
As the Messages app is universal between Mac and iOS, you can compose and send messages using just your voice. Start by saying, “Send message to [insert name],” and when Siri asks what you want to say, dictate the text. You will then be prompted to save the message or cancel it. You may have to verify the phone number if you have multiple entries for the same person in Contacts.

Put a Stop to Scam Calls
~iCreate Magazine

So your iPhone rings and it’s a number you don’t recognise. You answer it, there’s a slight pause and the caller claims to be from Microsoft asking about an issue it reckons you have with Windows. Notwithstanding the fact that you use macOS, you just know it’s a scam so you hang up and curse the wasted time. But is there a way to stop these guys from calling in the first place? Indeed there is: by only allowing pre-verified contacts or anyone persistently calling within three minutes to get through to you.
The trick makes use of Do Not Disturb and it’s entirely free. It’s particularly useful if you’re being bombarded by scam calls but it does mean you’ll need to add people you want to let call to your contacts list. Combine it with blocking, however, and you’ll finally get some peace.

1. Pull the plug – If you find you’re getting too many spam calls, then you can take drastic action and pull the plug on anyone except your contacts. Open Settings and tap ‘Do Not Disturb’.

2. Switch it on – At the top of the screen, you’ll see a switch next to Do Not Disturb. Make sure that this is switched on by toggling it to green.

3. Filter callers – When Do Not Disturb is activated, you can still allow some people to call you. To select a group of people you wish to let through, start by tapping ‘All Calls From’.