Mary’s X Files, April 2014

How to enable multiple dictionaries in the define feature on your iPhone and iPad
The Define option in the iPhone and iPad text selector popup gives you dictionary definitions for most common words. It’s convenient because it can be accessed in only a couple of taps. But what if you’re in England and the U.S. dictionary keeps coming up? What if you also speak Italian or Japanese or Chinese and want to access those definitions as well? What if you’re traveling and want access to French? Luckily, iOS makes it easy to add and manage additional dictionaries so you can have the languages you want right where you want them!

1. Hold down on the word you’d like to define.
2. Tap on Define in the popup menu.
3. Tap on Manage in the bottom left hand corner of the Define section.
4. Tap on the Cloud icon to the right of the dictionaries you’d like to download.

Now try defining a word again and you should see all the dictionaries you have installed in iOS now.

That’s all there is to it. If you ever want to remove a dictionary just tap the “x” next to the dictionary name.

How to use a Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV
Typing in characters with the little [silver remote] that comes with the Apple TV can be painful. While the Remote app can help ease the pain, nothing beats a full blown keyboard when it comes to typing. As it happens, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV. Here’s how to pair them:

Before beginning, keep in mind that not all Bluetooth keyboards will work. Most will but some keys may not function if they don’t use Apple’s layout. Mostly all Apple wireless Bluetooth keyboards should work just fine.

1. Make sure your keyboard is On and Discoverable.
2. Click on Settings from the main menu of your Apple TV.
3. Now click on General.
4. Now choose Bluetooth.
5. Your Apple TV should find your keyboard. Click on it in the list of Bluetooth devices your Apple TV finds.
6. A four-digit code should appear on the screen of your TV. Enter it on your keyboard.
7. If the pairing was successful, you should now see the word Connected next to your keyboard in the Bluetooth menu of your Apple TV.

That’s all there is to it! You should now be able to use your Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV.

Paste an address and Contacts will parse it
I’m not sure how long this has been the case, but if you copy an address, say from a web site, and paste it into the first address field (street) in Contacts, Contacts will parse appropriately.

For example, try:
1234 Easy St
Pleasantville, CA 43402

When pasted into Contacts it will correctly place the City, State and Zip into the appropriate fields.

5 iPhone speaker amplifiers that you already own
The speakers on the iPhone are fine for text tones and chirps from Angry Birds, but they don’t really fit the bill for high-quality music. If you don’t have your headphones handy but still want to rock out to some booming tunes, give these household objects a try. They work like a megaphone for your music, and you’ll be surprised by how much better your iPhone can sound.

A Mug
The old standby, tossing your iPhone in a mug is the most common way people add some muscle to their iPhone’s speakers. It’s handy, and you probably have one on your desk right now.

A Measuring Cup
Thick glass measuring cups are just as good, if not better than a simple coffee mug. The plastic versions don’t work nearly as well, so don’t bother with those.

Anything Ceramic
Ceramic pottery — like an unused vase or planter — will give add some serious “boom.” You want to make sure the object you’re using is at least as tall as your iPhone, as the effects aren’t nearly as noticeable in a shallow bowl or dish.

A Pringles Can
Don’t toss that snack sleeve out once you’ve enjoyed its tasty contents, just slide your iPhone in and enjoy the sweet sounds of louder, more crisp musical notes.

A Drawer
If you’re really in a bind and don’t have any of the above objects within reach, you may still be able to give your iPhone some amplification by using an empty drawer. Smaller drawers work better, and you’ll want to make sure it’s only open about half way. Oh, and don’t try this if you have a bunch of junk in the drawer, because it’ll kill any positive effects.

Mary’s X Files, March 2014

How to change what day your week starts on in the Calendar app for iPhone and iPad
While most of us consider Sunday as the official start of the week, there are lots of reasons some people would want the Calendar app to show differently. Whether you work a different schedule or just want to group your weekends together, the Calendar app can be changed to reflect whatever you’d like. Here’s how:

1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Scroll down and tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
3. Under the Calendars section, tap on Start Week On.
4. Here you can change the day of the week your calendar starts on.

That’s it. Now just relaunch the iOS Calendar app to see the changes. The start of the week will now reflect the day you chose.

Tagging Items in the Finder (Mavericks)
Tags were a touted feature of Mavericks, allowing you to tag nearly any file across OS X for later reference. Tagging existing items in the Finder is fairly easy. Simply right-click an item (or use the Get Info panel), and select “Tags.” In this popup, you can see existing tags, or type in a new one to assign that tag to the file in question.

A PDF alignment trick so perfect, you’ll wish you’d thought of it yourself
When reading a PDF document in Preview, you may have discovered how hard it is to hand-adjust a page’s zoom and contents to provide a page-at-a-time display. The screenshot to the right shows how there’s almost always either clipping or a bit of the next page to worry about.

Don’t work so hard to manipulate your window. Use a few handy built-in features to better improve your reading experience.

  • Show just one page. Select View > Single Page (Command-2) to show just one page, perfectly centered, at a time. You can return to continuous scroll at any time by selecting the View > Continuous Scroll (Command-1) option.
  • Zoom each page to fit the window. Enable View > Zoom to Fit (Command-9) to ensure that the page expands as much as possible to fit the current window size. Now, instead of using the zoom-in and zoom-out options, you can just resize the window and the page size will follow suit.
  • View a page-by-page table of contents. For quick page navigation, enable an in-window contents display by selecting View > Thumbnails (Command-Option-2). A column of previews appears to the side of the page letting you move to the exact location you wish.

The first and third of these features are also available directly from the View pop-up that appears by default at the left of the window’s toolbar. The location of this feature, which looks like a rectangle with a line and two dots on the left, may vary on your specific installation because Preview allows you to customize the toolbar.

How to change settings on your iPhone or iPad with Siri on iOS 7
You can control general settings like Bluetooth, WiFi, and Airplane mode by hopping into the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, or through Control Center. But why if you can just ask Siri to enable or disable a setting for you? Here’s how:

1. Launch Siri by pressing down and holding the Home button on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 7 or higher.
2. Say something like Disable WiFi or Turn on Airplane Mode.
3. Wait for Siri to understand what you said and disable or enable the setting in question.

That’s all there is to it! Currently you can ask Siri to control Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, WiFi, Bluetooth, Rotation Lock, screen brightness, and volume. You can also of course ask Siri to launch any app you have installed too.

Using Flags in Mail for organization
Organizing your e-mail can be difficult. There are Smart Mailboxes, of course, but what if you would like more arbitrary control?

Apple’s Mail app includes seven flags of indifferent colors (a bit like the old Finder labels, ahem). But what if you can’t remember what each color represents? Once you have flagged a message with a given flag, you will see a mailbox for it appear under Flagged. Click on the triangle next to Flagged to see the mailbox associated with each Flag.

Each of the mailboxes may then be renamed by right-clicking on it. The new name for the flag will now appear everywhere that the flag’s name appears.

Mary’s X Files, February 2014

How to share your location using Apple Maps
If you need to tell someone where you are located and they are not familiar with local landmarks, you don’t have to fuss with a third-party app. There’s an easy way to share your coordinates using Apple’s built-in Maps application. Here’s how:

1. Open up Apple Maps on your iOS device.
2. Select the blue icon in the bottom-left corner. This will pinpoint your current location within Maps.
3. Tap on the red pushpin to bring up additional details on your location.
4. Tap on “Share” in the upper-right-hand corner.
5. Select your preferred method of sharing. You can choose from Messages, Mail, Twitter and Facebook.

How to keep people from messing with the System Preferences on your Mac
When we first set up our Macs we tweak and adjust settings to suit our own personal preferences. The worst thing in the world is when someone comes along and doesn’t respect our Mac. We’ve all experienced it from time to time. They pop into System Preferences like they own the place and start changing things like trackpad speed, display resolution, and who knows what else. We are left appalled when they’re done. Luckily, OS X has a neat little trick to keep people from doing all these terrible things. Here’s how:

1. Click on the  logo in the top left corner of your Mac and click on System Preferences.
2. In the same top menu, now click on View and then Customize.
3. The System Preferences window now should have checkmark boxes next to each item in System Preferences. Simply uncheck the ones you want to hide and click Done.

That’s all there is to it. While there isn’t any password protection for System Preferences in OS X (even though there should be), this is a neat trick that should keep anyone out that is on your computer for only a limited amount of time, unless they also know about this trick. In that case, you’re out of luck and would be better off just creating a Guest account. And remember, for some of us changing our System Preferences is just as bad as rearranging our living room furniture. Don’t do it!

The stupid power button
It used to be that if you pressed the power button your Mac, OS X would ask you if you wanted to shut down, restart or go to sleep. The default action in Mavericks changed, though, so touching the power button now causes the Mac to go to sleep right away. It’s only if you hold down the power button for several seconds that you’ll get the option to shut down, restart or sleep. Our own Ally Kazmucha explains that Apple has aligned the Mac’s power button to act more like the power button on iOS devices, but it’s a change that I find more disruptive than beneficial.

How to print captions with your iPhoto images
Import your images into iPhoto. Select the first one you wish to add a caption to and press Command-I. This produces the Info pane on the right side of the iPhoto window. Click where it reads “Add a description”… and do exactly as it asks—enter your caption. Repeat this process for each image you want to eventually print.

Enable the Desciption (caption) option.

Now select all those images and choose File > Print (Command-P). You’ll spy printer settings in the pane that appears on the right of the resulting window. In this area choose “Contact Sheet”. Adjust the Columns slider so that you see two columns. This should accommodate four images on the page.

Click on the Captions button at the bottom of the pane and in the Contact Sheet Captions window that appears enabled the Description option and disable any other options. You’ll see that the descriptions you added to your pictures now appear below each image. Click “OK” and then click the Print button at the bottom of the window. In the sheet that scrolls down, click on Print again and that’s exactly what should happen.

In-line Address Book (Mavericks)
Mail now includes a built-in address book lookup feature in Mavericks. Simply open the New Message window as you normally would, and notice the new plus button in the “To” field. Clicking it will open your contacts, ready for you to populate the field. Clicking on any of your contacts in this list will add that contact as a recipient.

Mary’s X Files, January 2014

How to use Siri to search Google instead of Bing
In spite of the fact that Apple still uses Google as the default search engine for web browser, Safari, things have changed a little with iOS7 for Siri. Siri now uses Bing as its default search engine instead of Google, which might be annoying to lots of people. There is always a way to edit that and get back to Google. Maybe
you won’t get to change that in your settings on iPhone. However, you can ask Siri to search Google. Tricky, right?

You normally hold down the Home button in order to start talking to Siri. Instead, this time you will just ask her to search Google for whatever you want to search. So, if you want to search “Top 10 Horror Movies” you should say “Google the top 10 horror movies”. It’s as simple as that! This way Siri will get the results from Google and not Bing, and all you have to do is to say “Google”.

Turn Flashlight Off
In iOS 7, suppose you trigger the flashlight via Notification Center.

After using the flashlight, you don’t have to swipe up the Control Center and tap the flashlight icon again to turn it off—no, no. There’s a simpler way.

Trigger the lock screen, and then simply touch the camera icon in the bottom right corner: The flashlight goes off.

How to find free books in the iBooks Store
The easiest place to pick up a book for your iPad or iPhone is in the iBooks Store itself. On a Mac, launch iBooks (if you don’t have it, download it for free from the App Store) and then click on iBooks Store. To the right, you’ll see a list of Quick Links. Click on Free Books.

On an iOS device, tap iBooks, tap Store, and then tap Featured at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down to Quick Links at the bottom of the page and click Free Books.

Update bluetooth service in Mavericks
~ MacOSXHints
I recently started having severely shortened battery life on my Magic Trackpad. It turns out the fix is pretty easy.

When researching the problem, I found the standard fix reported over the last few years was to “update service” in OS X’s bluetooth preferences. Looking for that option in Mavericks proved fruitless. Finally, out of desperation, I selected the option to disconnect the trackpad, then re-associated it. Immediately, the day-old batteries showed a 100% charge instead of the prior 10% and I’ve had no problems since.

OS X Mavericks: Export as PDF from the File menu
Apple’s OS X Mavericks offers more than 200 new features, many of which are overshadowed by marquee additions like Finder tags and iCloud Keychain. I’ve fallen in love with a lesser-known feature that’s already saved me lots of time: Export as PDF from the File menu.

Previously, you could convert a file to PDF by opening a Print dialog, selecting “Save as PDF” and then choosing a destination. Now it’s even easier.

Simply select “Export as PDF”… from the File menu of a supported app and presto! Instant PDF. You can even add a tag while you’re at it. Note that some apps aren’t supported. For example, the option is there in Safari, Text Edit and Mail, but not in Microsoft Word.

Viewing Power-Consuming Apps (Mavericks)
OS X Mavericks includes a way to view the most power-hungry applications currently running on your Mac. This can help you determine which applications to quit while running on battery power. When you feel that an application is using too much power, simply click on the Battery menu item in the OS X menu bar. Clicking an app under the “Apps Using Significant Energy” heading will open Activity Monitor so you can view its CPU usage.

Mary’s X Files, December 2013

Show Additional Monitor Resolutions in Mavericks
Mavericks offers a lot less resolution options in the “Scaled” list than 10.8 or earlier did. This can be a particularly severe problem if the resolutions that it thinks your projector supports are not, in fact, supported by it at all, as was the case with my setup.The fix for showing the extended list of possible resolutions in Mavericks is undocumented, so far as I can find, but incredibly easy:

In the Displays preference pane, hold down the option key and click the “Scaled” radio button. This will toggle on and off additional resolutions for the device (including more scaled resolutions for the built-in display in MacBooks).

I’m not aware of any radio button ever having worked that way before, so it’s easy to miss.

If your external display isn’t showing an image at all because the OS got its “native” resolution wrong, you will of course have to click the “Gather Windows” button at the bottom of the preference pane to bring the window for the blanked-out display over to the working one, where you can then option-click it and select a good resolution.

Bring back “Save As”
~ David Leon Leazenby. “Mavericks 101.”
“Bring back “Save As” by Holding the Option key when in the File menu. Doing this reveals many other alternative options including this one, like the “Library” folder under the “Go” menu, which is usually hidden.”

Power button changes in Mavericks
Apple changed the behavior of the Power button in 10.9 Mavericks.

Press the button once, and it puts your display to sleep. Press and hold it for a second or two, and the Shutdown / Restart / Sleep dialog appears. Press and hold it for even longer, and your Mac gets completely powered off.

Apple Logo on keyboard
~ David Leon Leazenby. “Mavericks 101.”
Shift + Option + K


See other menu options
~ David Leon Leazenby. “Mavericks 101.”
“If you open any menu that run along the top of the screen, pressing and holding any of Shift, Option, Command or Ctrl (or any combination of these) will show what other options are available. Often this is a way of uncovering useful program features.”

Trimming Apple Mail to prevent iCloud storage
So, as a paid user of MobileMe, Apple provided you with 20 GB of iCloud storage. Suddenly, in October ’13, Apple removed 15 GB of that, and you’re getting messages from Apple that your iCloud storage is getting full, or even the dreaded message, “Your iCloud storage is full… You can no longer send or receive messages with your iCloud email address…” Apple is strongly encouraging you to buy more storage. Do you have any other options?

As Apple suggests, go to System Preferences > iCloud > Manage > Mail. At that point, Apple recommends, “To free up storage used by Mail, erase messages in the Junk and Trash folders.”

That’s a good start, but that’s not nearly enough. If that shows that Mail really is the culprit in hogging your iCloud storage, try deleting the attachments from your received and sent mail! That can reduce your iCloud storage tremendously. (That alone cut mine down from about 4.8 GB to 1.2 GB).

To find your mail with attachments, in Apple Mail, you can go to View > Sort by Attachments. Make certain the files are shown in descending size, so you can easily find your mail with attachments. Alternatively, you can create a Smart Mailbox by going to Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox. Name your Smart Mailbox “Has Attachments” and set the condition to “Contains Attachments.” Select “Include messages from Sent” but deselect “Include messages from Trash.”

Once you’ve found your mail with attachments, save any attachments that you want to keep (one way to do is is to go to File > Save Attachments). After you’ve saved any desired attachments, select the messages with attachments, and go to Message > Remove Attachments. If you want, delete those messages too. You may have cleared gigabytes of iCloud storage.


Mary’s X Files, November 2013

iOS 7 video tip: Making text more readable
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from people who have made the upgrade to iOS 7 is that they can’t read Apple’s new favorite typeface — Helvetica Neue Ultra Light. There’s a simple way to make almost everything on your iOS device more readable, and that is to use the Accessibility settings to enable bold text.

Enabling this readability trick is quite easy: just use Settings > General > Accessibility and toggle Bold Text on. Your device will restart, and once that’s done you’ll be able to actually read text without straining your eyes. Enjoy!

Let Siri give a random number
Siri can return a random number, letter, or word.

After reading Lex’s hint about rolling the dice and flipping a coin, I decided to see whether Siri can generate random numbers. It can have Wolfram do it. You can speak “random number” (which it interprets as “random integer”), “random integer”, or “random real”. You can also specify ranges, such as “random number between ten and 100” or “random real between 20 and 30”.

“Random word” and “random letter” also work.

Creating iBook Highlights (Mavericks)
Adding Highlights to a section is as easy as adding a Note. Instead of selecting “Add Note,” select a highlight color from the selection popup. If you wish to quickly add a highlight without going through the popup menu that shows when selecting text, then hold down the Command key while you select a portion of text. This will automatically use your last highlight style to highlight the text without displaying the selection popup.

Manage Fingerprints & Settings on iPhone 5s
Use Settings > General > Passcode & Fingerprint > Fingerprints to:

  • Enable or disable Touch ID for Passcode or iTunes & App Store.
  • Enroll new fingerprints.
  • Tap Edit to rename your existing fingerprints.
  • Swipe to delete a fingerprint.
  • If you have more than one fingerprint enrolled, you can touch a finger to the Home button to see the fingerprint to which it is linked in the list. If your finger matches, that finger in the list will be briefly highlighted.

iPhone 101: Deleting numbers in the iOS Calculator app
It’s not readily apparent, but the Calculator app in iOS has a hidden gesture that enables you to delete numbers from an entry if you happen to input a number by accident.

As a quick example, let’s say I’m trying to input the number 5,964 but accidentally type in 596,487.

Is all hope lost? Do I have to start over from scratch? Not at all!

To erase a number, digit by digit, simply swipe to the right on the number display and the most recently entered digit will disappear. This handy trick is a lifesaver if you happen to be a few calculations deep and don’t want to start over from scratch.

Making the Library File in Mavericks Visible
If you’re still running Lion or Mountain Lion, making the ~/Library folder requires a little bit of work. (I came up with—no joke—19 ways to view the folder in Lion and Mountain Lion.) But under Mavericks, Apple has made the task much more convenient, providing an easily accessible setting for toggling the visibility of your user-level Library folder.

Here’s how to use it:
Open your home folder (/Users/yourusername) in the Finder. Depending on your Finder settings, this may be as easy as simply opening a new Finder window. Otherwise, choose Home from the Finder’s Go menu (Go > Home); or press Shift-Command-H. Still in the Finder, choose View > Show View Options (or press Command-J). Near the bottom of the resulting View-Options palette is a setting called Show Library Folder. Enable this option. Your Library folder is immediately visible.

Close the View-Options palette.

You can access this setting at any time to toggle the visibility of your personal Library folder. For example, Macworld senior contributor Joe Kissell has found that applying an OS X update can make the folder invisible, requiring you to manually make it visible again.

Now that the folder is visible, just remember to be careful—because, as I mentioned above, deleting or moving the wrong file(s) inside this folder could cause an application to misbehave, to lose its settings, or even to lose data.

Mary’s X Files, October 2013

Print large “Numbers” tables on one page
I find frustrating the way Numbers prints large tables – they’re often split both horizontally and vertically across multiple pages.

One way to print a large table on a single page is to copy the table and open it in Preview. In Numbers, click the dragging square at the top left of the table. (You need to scroll to the top of the table to see it.) Press Command-C, open Preview and press Command-N. Print away.

[kirkmc adds: Interesting: if you paste a table into Preview, it’s displayed with no borders or extra space, as if it were a PDF. (There’s a hint explaining this.) However, when you print, make sure to select Scale to Fit, then Fill Entire Paper. I tried pasting a long table - about 300 lines - and Preview, using the default print settings, would have printed the entire table on one page.]

Adjust the volume of turn-by-turn directions
The Maps app in iOS 6 and later offers turn-by-turn directions using Siri’s voice. But most iPhone and iPad device owners don’t know how to adjust the volume of that voice. It’s not where you’d expect.

Fire up the Settings up, and scroll down until you find Maps. There, you’ll see controls for disabling the app’s voice, or making its volume Low, Medium, or Loud.

Easy Safari Bookmark
Bookmark a page instantly. Create a new bookmark on the bookmarks bar of Safari by dragging the current page’s favicon (the icon in front of the URL) from the address field into the bookmarks bar. The bookmark’s default name will be selected, so you can immediately type a new name.

iOS Text to Speech in iBooks
Our sister publication, Macworld UK, published a neat hint on recently, showing how to have an iOS device read texts from iBooks. iOS has accessibility features that can perform text to speech, but you need to know the trick to get this to work in iBooks.

First, turn on text to speech: go to Settings > General > Accessibility, and set “Speak Selection” to “On”.

Next, in a book, switch to scroll mode (tap the aA icon, then tap Themes to get to this theme), you can select a word and drag the selection far ahead in the book. Then, in the menu that displays, tap on “Speak”.

You can use this technique to have text spoken in any document, and there is a limitation in iBooks, where you can’t select all the text and have it spoken. Since selecting is annoying – having to drag the handle a very long way – you may find this troublesome, but if you really want to have a text spoken, this lets you do so, even in iBooks, which is read-only.

Empty the Trash from the Dockin Maps
You don’t have to go all the way up to the Finder > Empty Trash menu if your cursor is down near the Dock. Control-click the Trash to get a short menu with an Empty Trash command. If sensitive data is an issue and you want to erase your files more securely (the standard Empty Trash command leaves information that can be recovered with special utility software), press Command before or after opening the Trash menu for the Secure Empty Trash command.

Get what you want with modified clicks in Safari
Safari has long allowed you to command-click a link to open the linked page in a tab. (This default behavior is set up in Safari’s “Tabs” preference pane.) Safari 6 adds two new link-clicking options: You can Shift-click to send the linked page to the Reading List, or Option-click to download the page to your Downloads folder. But that’s just basic information.

Here’s the power tip: watch the status bar at the bottom of the window (choose View>Show Status Bar if it’s not there) to check what your modified click will do — there are a lot of modifier options to remember.

This crib sheet is especially helpful when you add the Shift key to a window-opening or tab-opening click so you can toggle between having the link open in the foreground or background. If you give up on learning your modified-click behaviors even with the help of the status-bar crib sheet, you can Control-click a link to see a list of options.

Rename a document from its Title Bar
In many apps, thought not all, hover your cursor over the Title Bar to the right of the document’s name. A disclosure arrow should appear. Click the arrow to see a menu.

Rename from the Title Bar. Select Rename…. The document name changes to an editable field. Type the new name for your document and press Return when you’ve finished. The document has now been renamed in the Finder.

The file name in the Title Bar becomes editable. I hadn’t finished typing the name projects when I made this screenshot.

Now experiment with the Move To… and Duplicate options on the same menu. Remember to practice on a dummy document while you check out how it works.

Mary’s X Files, September 2013

How to search for text on a web page with Safari
Browsing the web on the iPhone and iPad is arguably one of the best mobile surfing experiences available. You can quickly navigate to different web pages, sync bookmarks across devices, and more. One of the less noticed features of the Safari browser for iPhone and iPad is actually quite useful, and that’s searching for text on web pages. This is particularly useful when looking through forum posts or trying to find a specific topic on a page that has a lot of text content. Here’s how.

1. Launch Safari from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
2. Navigate to the web page you’d like to search for text on.
3. Now tap on the Search field in the upper right hand corner.
4. Type in the word you’d like to search the page for.
5. Instead of hitting Search in order to search the web, you’ll see text above the keyboard telling you how many instances of that word or phrase are found on the page you’re currently on.
6. Tap on Find “phrase you’re searching for” and you’ll be shown the instances where that word or phrase is found on the current page.
7. When you’ve found what you’re looking for or you’re done with text search, just tap the blue Done button in the bottom left hand corner.

Use the Finder toolbar Back button to jump to previously visited folders
I can’t find a hint for this on the site, and it’s probably not new, but I only just stumbled on this. The Finder toolbar, by default, has Previous and Next buttons that let you navigate back and forth in folders. If you click the Previous button, you’ll go back, one window at a time, to all the folders you’ve visited in that Finder window. But if you click and hold that button, you’ll see a list of all the folders you’ve visited, and can jump to any of them by selecting one. This is a good way to get to a folder you’ve used but that’s far from where you are in the file system.

Quick Look with a three-finger tap
Keyboard junkies know that they can rely on the spacebar to trigger a Quick Look preview of a file, folder, or drive in the Finder. But what about trackpad junkies?

The good news is, there’s an option for the multitouch mavens, too. Perform a three-finger tap on any Quick Look-able item in the Finder, and a Quick Look preview you shall receive.

Repeat the gesture to send the Quick Look preview back into the abyss.

Get back to drafts in iOS
Maybe you abandoned a message before tapping to send it. You don’t have to navigate into the Mail app’s mailbox hierarchy to find your Drafts folder. Rather, you can tap and hold the New Message button to bring up a menu listing your saved drafts.

Change default Text Replies for iPhone
When a call comes in and you can’t immediately accept it, you now have the option of sending a quick text reply to the caller by swiping up from the incoming call screen. The three default messages are: “I’ll call you later”, “I’m on my way”, and “What’s up?” You can change the default messages to anything you want by opening Settings>Phone>Reply With Message.

10.8: A fix for slow shutdown times 
At first my MacBook Air would shut down in one or two seconds. A year or so ago it started taking thirty seconds or more. Annoying but hardly fatal. Anyway, I found a trick that helped me:

* Shut down with Reopen windows when logging back in CHECKED.

* Turn the computer back on.

* Shut down with Reopen windows when logging back in UNCHECKED.

This returned the Mac to an almost instantaneous shutdown.

Go directly to your system info
Need to look up your Mac’s processor type or speed, or check your laptop battery’s charge cycles? Pressing Option before or after opening the Apple menu changes the About This Mac item to System Information. (Usually it takes three steps to get to System Information: You must choose About This Mac, click More Info, and then click System Information.)

Mary’s X Files, August 2013

Access old Dropbox menu with Option-click
You can access the older version of the Dropbox menu by Option-clicking the Dropbox icon in the menu bar. This saves you an extra click, because with the newer version, you have click on the gear icon on the lower-right corner of the new menu to access the same information.

A simple way to box some text in Pages
If you use Pages, you may occasionally want to put a border and/or colored background around some text. There are a few ways to do this; you can insert a graphic object and put text in it, but this then requires positioning, and you can’t easily edit it with your other text.

You can also use the More tab of the Text inspector to add borders and background colors; for borders only, this method works great (as long as you want a full-width box). But if you add background color (to the paragraph, not characters), you’ll find it’s not quite right–the color doesn’t fill to the edges, and spills out slightly at the top and/or bottom.

So what’s the solution, if you don’t want a full-width border, or you want a background fill in your box? Select the text to be boxed, and choose Format > Table > Convert Text to Table.

You’ll get a one-column-wide table, over which you have complete control of colors, borders, spacing, etc.

Access Wireless Diagnostics app in OS X 10.8.4 or later
New to OS X 10.8.4 is a Wireless Diagnostics app, which you can access from the Wi-Fi menu extra in your menubar (press the Option key, click the Wi-Fi menu extra, then choose Open Wireless Diagnostics), or by double-clicking the app in /System/Library/CoreServices.

Apple provides information about this app, which generates an archive of log files for troubleshooting. Wireless Diagnostics also features a number of informational sections. After you’ve generated a log, a Summary screen offers you information about Wi-Fi Best Practices, and provides information about any issues you may have.

A Utilities window (accessible from the Window menu) provides more information about your Wi-Fi network. It lets you scan all available Wi-Fi networks, offers a performance log, and much more.

This is a powerful tool, which can be very helpful if you are having Wi-Fi problems.

Enjoy quiet nights with Do Not Disturb
You’ve just dropped off to sleep when the iPhone beside the bed beeps. It’s a notification or text message that you’d prefer would wait till morning. Of course, you could mute the device, if you remember before you go to bed. But then what say someone you do want to talk to needs to get hold of you? The new Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 6 sorts all this out for you. Here’s how it works.

Quick Start

1. Turn on Do Not Disturb in Settings — Notifications.
2. Schedule regular quiet times.
3. Allow certain calls.
4. Allow repeated calls.

Mountain Lion’s Magic Trackpad triple-finger tap dictionary lookup
~TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog
Let’s say you’re reading TUAW and you see that I’ve used the word “peripatetic” in a post. While some of you would know the meaning of the word, others might be doing a bit of head-scratching and fire up the Dictionary app on your Mac. If you have a MacBook with a multi-touch trackpad or a desktop Mac with a Magic Trackpad, and if you run OS X Mountain Lion on your Mac, you can easily look up words with a simple gesture.

In whatever you happen to be looking at on your Mac, simply use three fingers to tap on the word that’s causing you confusion. The word is highlighted in yellow, and a small popup shows you dictionary, thesaurus and Wikipedia entries that pertain to it. Sadly, this doesn’t work with the Magic Mouse…

It’s a fast way to look up words without missing a beat, so give that perplexing word a triple-finger tap the next time you’re flummoxed or befuddled.

Bookmark a page instantly In Safari
Create a new bookmark on the bookmarks bar by dragging the favicon (the icon in front of the URL) from the address field into the bookmarks bar. The bookmark’s default name will be selected, so you can immediately type in a new one if you want to.

Jump to the Address Search Field in Safari
Want to enter a URL or search string, but don’t want to take your hands off the keyboard to click? You can move into the combo address/search field by using either of the keyboard commands formerly used for the separate address and search fields: Command-L or Command-Option-F.

Mary’s X Files, July 2013

Customise iMessage Auto-Replies
Some moments aren’t the right time for a phone call. You could let calls you don’t want to take just go to voicemail, but sometimes you want to explain why you’re not picking up. iOS6 lets you quickly respond to a call with a text message. Just swipe upward on the phone icon that appears next to the unlock slider and choose “Reply with Message”.

By default, you’ll receive a set of three canned options, along with a button that lets you enter a custom text. However, you can also customise those canned messages, by going to Settings>Phone>Reply with Message.

Hide apps on the Apple TV
As the Apple TV gains new apps, some users may find that the device’s home screen is getting a bit cluttered. For example, I don’t care to watch sports on my Apple TV, and it’d be nice if I didn’t have to see those apps.

David Chartier, writing on Finer Things in Tech, has pointed out an easy way to clean up excess apps. Go to Settings > General > Parental Controls, turn on Parental Controls if it’s not already activated (you’ll be asked to enter a 4-digit PIN), then scroll down and click on the apps you want to hide to toggle their visibility.

40+ Amazing Secret Wallpapers in OSX
Did you know OS X Mountain Lion includes 44 ridiculously beautiful high resolution wallpapers? They’re hidden inside the four equally attractive new screen savers and feature some truly stunning scenery from National Geographic, the Hubble Space telescope, and some amazing photographers.

Each image is a whopping 3200×2000 resolution, here’s how to access these on your Mac:

* From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to summon Go To Folder and enter the following path exactly: /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.Framework/Versions/A/Resources/Default Collections/

* Copy the four well-labeled directories “1-National Geographic”, “2-Aerial”, “3-Cosmos”, “4-Nature Patterns” to the Desktop or elsewhere for easy access to the high res images

* Set them as your wallpaper and enjoy

Quickly spot-check your laptop battery’s health
Here is a handy, quick way to check how healthy your Mac laptop’s battery really is.

If you hold down the Option key before you click on the battery status icon in the menu bar, an additional entry appears in the menu: Condition. You’re hoping to see “Condition: Normal.” (The Condition line won’t appear if you hold down Option after you’ve already clicked on the menu.)

The other options besides Normal are Replace Soon, Replace Now, and Service Battery, which reflect progressively more serious battery woes. In each of the two Replace modes, your battery is still functioning normally, though it holds less charge than it used to (or significantly less, in the case of Replace Now).

Avoid triggering Hot Corners accidentally
Many of us use Hot Corners (accessed from System Preferences -> Mission Control or System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Savers) to trigger various actions. On my Mac, slamming the mouse to the bottom right corner reveals the desktop; the bottom left corner triggers Mission Control. You can also use the corners to trigger things like Notification Center, Launchpad, starting a screen saver, or putting your display to sleep.

But anyone who uses Hot Corners (which OS X refers to interchangeably as Active Screen Corners) triggers those mouse-controlled shortcuts accidentally sometimes. The solution is this: When you’re choosing a Hot Corner setting from one of the drop-down menus, hold down your preferred modifier key or keys. You’ll see the options change from, say, Mission Control to Option Mission Control” instead.

From then on, your corner will only work when you’re also holding down the modifier key(s) you specified. Now, trips to the Apple menu won’t trigger your Hot Corner shortcut—unless you’re pressing your selected modifier key, too.

Get to Utilities Folder Quick!
~Apple Discussions
From the Finder, press <shift>+<cmd>+U to go to Utilities folder.

Open Web Page with iPhone Home Screen Icon
1. Open a web page in Safari on iOS6
2. Tap the Share button.
3. Choose Add to Home Screen.
4. Edit the name if you wish.
5. Tap the Add button.