Mary’s X Files, May 2015

iOS 8 Tap & Hold a Link for More Options
~iPhone Tip of the Day
Anytime you see a link in Safari or Mail, you can tap and hold it to reveal options beyond simply opening the new page. I constantly use this feature when I’m looking at the news in my personalized Yahoo page.

If I see a news story I want to read, I tap and hold the link so that the page opens in a separate tab. That way I can quickly go back to the original Yahoo page without having to use the back arrow and waiting for the page to reload. The options in Safari also include adding the linked page to your Reading List.

Tapping and holding a link in Mail also gives you the option of adding the page to your reading list as well as opening the page in Safari.

Finally, the options include copying the link so you can paste it elsewhere. To bring up the options related to a linked page, simply tap and hold. In Safari you’ll see options for Open, Open in New Tab, Add to Reading List, and Copy.

In Mail, you’ll see options for Open, Add to Reading List, and Copy.

Search Smarter in Yosemite
~Macworld
Spotlight on the Mac isn’t new, but it arrives with some new features: As with Spotlight on iOS, you can now search the Web and your iCloud locker as well as local files (use the Spotlight option in System Preferences to change this behavior). The Cmd+Spacebar keyboard shortcut will bring up Spotlight from anywhere.

Add widgets to the Notification Center in Yosemite
~Macworld
Another new feature previously seen on iOS 8, OS X Yosemite brings the Today view to the Notification Center and opens the floor to any third-party app extensions that want a piece of the action too. Wunderlist, 1Password, Pocket and Monity are some of the non-Apple apps that have already added support.

Annotate emails in Yosemite
~Macworld
The Mail app included with Yosemite has a new Markup feature that you can use to annotate images and PDFs in your emails. Hover your cursor over any image in an email you’re sending, then use the drop-down menu to the top right to activate Markup. You can then add text, lines and shapes on top.

Sign documents with your trackpad in Yosemite
~Macworld
Yosemite brings with it the ability to sign digital documents with your trackpad as well as a connected iSight camera. Load up a file in the Preview or Mail app and upon clicking the button to add a signature you’ll notice there’s a new Trackpad option. It’s an even easier way of putting your name to something.

How to Teach Siri to Pronounce a Name Correctly
~iPhone Tip of the Day
Using Siri to call or send messages to people can be very convenient during those times when your hands or eyes are otherwise occupied. Just don’t try to call any friends or family members who have an unusual name, because if Siri doesn’t know how to pronounce that name, the virtual assistant won’t understand what you are asking. This can be extremely frustrating and lead to you yelling at your iPhone in public (don’t ask me how I know), and it’s why it can be worth it to take the time to teach Siri how to pronounce names correctly.

To teach Siri how to say a name correctly, hold the home button to activate Siri and then say, “That’s not how you pronounce [name].”

Siri will then ask you how to pronounce the contact’s first name. Say the name correctly. Siri will offer you three pronunciation options to choose from. Select the one that is correct. If none of the options is close enough, tap Tell Siri again to repeat the process until you get a pronunciation you like.

Siri will then repeat the process for the contact’s last name as well. Now you should have less difficulty sending messages or making calls with Siri.

Don’t Know What to Ask Siri? Siri Will Tell You
~iPhone Tip of the Day
It took me over a year to get in the habit of using Siri, partly because she seemed so human-like. I was worried I’d say something dumb. One day I finally got it: there ain’t no one listening. And ever since then I’ve used Siri with abandon. Lately I was surprised to discover that Siri offers a helpful guide to what you can say or ask.

To bring up Siri’s guide to using Siri, simply say, “What can I ask?” Siri will then return an outline of things you can request or ask in 24 categories.

Mary’s X Files, April 2015

iOS 8 How-To: Use Siri to search the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks
~9to5Mac.com
Sometimes searching the App Store can be an overwhelming task. You might already know what you want to download, or other times you might get distracted when you open the store and forget why you were there, and typing in what you want to download is old fashioned now. With iOS 8, you can use Siri to search the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and more for you. It’s all a matter of asking Siri with the right commands.

Press down and hold on the home button for two seconds for Siri to appear.

For example you can say something like, “Search the App Store for sports apps,” and Siri will open up the App Store and bring you to the search results of sports.

You can also say things like, “Download MyFitnessPal,” or “Search for The Beatles in iTunes,” and Siri will open up the App Store to MyFitnessPal, or Siri will open up iTunes and search for The Beatles. The same commands for search, or even downloading, work on the iBook Store for finding books to read and add to your iOS device. For more examples like this, hold down your home button and activate Siri, then tap the “?” icon on the bottom left corner to see what else Siri can do.

How to Show a Paper Tape in Calculator App for Mac
~OSXDaily.com
If you find yourself adding up many numbers or just performing a continuous string of math that is critical to keep track of, you should know that the Mac Calculator app includes a paper tape feature. For those who aren’t familiar, a paper tape keeps a running trail of each item entered into a calculator, making it easy to follow and audit anything in the calculation. Obviously useful for many occasions, the deceptively simple Calculator app in OS X includes this ability, and you can also save and print the generated number tape if desired.

There’s not much complexity to using this handy Calculator feature, but it’s so useful that you’ll wonder how you functioned without it, and if you’ve been relying on the Spotlight Calculator you should make the switch to this.

  1. Open Calculator app from /Applications/
  2. Pull down the “Window” menu and choose “Show Paper Tape” (or hit Command+T)
  3. Perform calculations as usual, the paper tape will now keep track of each number entered.

When you complete a set of calculations that you want to keep a record of or save for whatever reason, you can then choose to print the paper tape, or save the paper tape as a file.

Silence an annoying group thread in Messages
~Macworld
Want to shush an annoying group thread? Open the message thread, tap Details, then flip the Do Not Disturb switch.

Ever get stuck on a group text-messaging thread that just won’t stop? If you’ve got an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8, there’s an easy way to shush the chatter.

Open the group thread that’s bugging you, tap the Details button in the top corner, scroll down and flip the Do Not Disturb switch.

Ah, the sound of silence.

Working with the Mac’s menu bar
~Macworld
If you don’t care for the way icons are arranged in the menu bar—you want the clock to appear all the way to the left, for example—just hold down the Command key and drag the item in question to a new position. Be careful to not drag it outside the menu bar, however, as doing so can cause it to evaporate. This trick doesn’t work with the Spotlight or Notification menus.

Using the Option Key in the Mac’s Menu Bar
~Macworld
The Option key is helpful when using the Sound menu. When you click on this menu without holding down Option, you find a volume control. But hold down Option and all your audio input and output devices appear. I use this all the time when I want to quickly switch from my desktop speakers—attached, in this case, to an AudioQuest DragonFly USB audio interface—to the headphones jacked into my Focusrite Scarlett audio interface.

You’ll also find the Option key useful with the Wi-Fi menu. Without Option held down you see something like this—a list of local Wi-Fi networks. But if you hold down the Option key and click the menu you learn some important things about your network (some of which I’ve obscured for my protection). You also have easier access to the Wireless Diagnostic app, where you can gather information about how your Wi-Fi network is behaving. The resulting information is dense, but if you’re of a geekish bent you may find it helpful.

Mary’s X Files, March 2015

Forward a message on iPhone or iPad
~Macworld
To forward a message, tap and hold it, then select More, and tap the forward arrow in the bottom- right.

Sounds simple, but forwarding a text or picture message to someone else on an iOS device isn’t easy if you’ve never done it before.

In the name of creating the flattest, most Spartan interface possible, the forward controls are hidden behind a few touch gestures.

Tap and hold the message you’d like to forward; when you do, a pop-up with a few different buttons (such as “Copy” and “Speak”) will appear. Tap the More button, then tap the little forward-arrow in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Save any picture from the web to your iPhone or iPad
~iMore
Whether you’re looking for a good iPhone wallpaper or want to share a gif you found online, there are lots of great reasons to save images to your iPhone or iPad.

Doing so is easy, but I’m still amazed how many people don’t actually know how to go about it (my mother included). So, in case you’re lost: Here’s a quick tutorial on saving images to your device — even the ones that won’t let you save them through normal means.

To save an image sent to you in Mail or Safari, it’s as easy as tapping and holding on the image in question.

When the share sheet pops up, just tap the Save Image button to send the photo to your Camera Roll.

In other apps, like Tweetbot, you may have to first tap the picture to enlarge it fullscreen, then tap and hold to save.

Finally, there are some sites on Safari that don’t allow picture saving, due to copyright reasons or the way the website is built. If it’s for copyright purposes — such as a pro photographer who wants to be paid for high-resolution versions of their images — I’d ask that you please respect the owner of those pictures and purchase anything you legitimately want to download.

If you need a low-resolution version, however, or the image you need isn’t downloadable, you can take a screenshot of it by pressing the Home button and On/Off button at the same time, then opening the screenshot in the Photos app and cropping accordingly.

How to resize multiple Finder columns at once in OS X Yosemite
~iMore
Column view is a handy way to look at large collections of files in the Finder. It’s my go-to default when I want to arrange contents of Finder windows in easy-to-track lists. I like to reset the column width, however, and I’ve discovered a handy trick to reset it across an entire window.

  1. Open a new window in the Finder.
  2. Organize the view by column by clicking the third button from the left above the word View (or, alternately, by typing command 3).
  1. Hold down the option key on the keyboard.
  2. Position the cursor over the edge of a column. It will change from the regular cursor to a column width cursor.
  3. Click the mouse and drag the column to its new width. All the other columns in that window should move with it.
  4. Let go of the mouse button to set the width, and let go of the option key.
  5. If you don’t hold down the option key, only the column you’ve selected will resize.

Password-protect a PDF or image in Apple Preview
~Macworld
To prevent a PDF or image from being opened, copied from, or printed, try password-protecting it. Open the file and choose File > Export, and in the resulting dialog box choose PDF from the Format menu. Next, enable the Encrypt checkbox, enter a password into the resulting field, and click Save. Be sure to rename or change the location of your newly protected PDF to keep from overwriting your original!

Crop a PDF in Apple Preview
~Macworld
If a page in your PDF has extra stuff around it—say, registration or crop marks—you can use the Rectangular Selection tool to crop it. Open the Markup toolbar, click the Rectangular Selection tool, and draw a selection around the area you want to keep. Next, choose Tools > Crop (or press Command-K to commit the crop). To crop multiple pages, choose View > Thumbnails and Command or Shift-click to select multiple thumbnails before committing the crop. To crop all pages, press Command-A to select them before committing the crop. To draw a more accurate selection for cropping, choose Tools > Show Inspector to open the Inspector window, click the Crop icon (it looks like an angled comb), and enter the location and size of the desired crop.

Mary’s X Files, February 2015

How to recover deleted photos on your iPhone or iPad
~iMore
If you’re running iOS 8, and it’s been under 30 days since you deleted the photo, you can easily get it back. Here’s how!

  • Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 or later.
  • Tap on the Albums tab in the bottom navigation.
  • Tap on the album titled Recently Deleted.
  • Tap on the photo you’d like to recover and tap on Recover in the bottom navigation.
  • Tap on Recover Photo in the popup menu.

How to recover multiple deleted photos on your iPhone or iPad
~iMore

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 or later.
  2. Tap on the Albums tab in the bottom navigation.
  3. Tap on the album titled Recently Deleted.
  4. Tap on Select in the top navigation.
  5. Tap on all the photos you’d like to recover — or tap on Recover All at the bottom to recover all deleted photos.
  6. Tap on Recover in the bottom right hand navigation.
  7. Tap on Recover Photos in the popup menu.

How to turn on and edit the Bookmarks bar in Safari
~iMore
A few weeks ago, I received a panicked call from my sister. “My Favorites are gone! I don’t know where they went and I don’t know how to get them back.” The favorites in question weren’t Instagram likes or Twitter stars — no, her new work Mac had come with its Bookmarks favorites bar disabled.

It’s not uncommon to see this in new OS X Yosemite Macs; Safari’s default view sports as few buttons and switches as possible, so as to immerse yourself in the Web browsing experience. But it’s an easy fix to reenable the Favorites bar and even edit it.

Turning the Bookmarks or Favorites bar on is a relatively simple process.

  • Open Safari.
  • Select the View menu
  • Find Show Favorites Bar
  • Enable it.
  • (If you like keyboard shortcuts, you can also use Command-Shift-B to show or hide the bar.)

Something You Can Do in Yosemite that You Couldn’t Do in Mavericks
~Gizmodo
Another new feature previously seen on iOS 8, OS X Yosemite brings the Today view to the Notification Center and opens the floor to any third-party app extensions that want a piece of the action too. Wunderlist, 1Password, Pocket and Monity are some of the non-Apple apps that have already added support.

The many superpowers of Apple’s Preview app
~Macworld

Sign documents
Adding your signature to documents is easy. Open the Markup toolbar by clicking the toolbox icon at the upper right, and then click the Signature tool (it looks like a tiny signature). Either draw your signature using your trackpad or mouse or use your Mac’s iSight camera to photograph a signature you’ve scribed onto white paper. Either way, Preview captures your signature with transparency, so you can gracefully plop it atop any document or image (say, for a quick watermark).

You can capture a signature with your trackpad or iSight camera (top). Once your signature is captured, it appears as a menu item of the Sign tool for easy access (bottom).

Reduce PDF file size
To slim the file size of any PDF (by reducing image quality), choose File > Export. In the resulting dialog box, choose PDF from the Format menu and then choose Reduce File Size from the Quartz Filter menu. Click Save and call it done.

Merge multiple files into one PDF

Preview can easily merge multiple files into a single PDF (say, to combine scanned documents or to combine a PDF with an image). To do it, open the first PDF or image, choose View > Thumbnails, and then drag other files—single or multiple pages of any dimensions—from the desktop onto the thumbnail sidebar. Drag thumbnails to reorder pages within your newly combined PDF and then save the file.

Rotate pages in a PDF

To rotate a single page within a multi-page PDF (handy for scanned receipts), choose View > Thumbnails and then select the thumbnails of the pages you want to rotate. Next, click the Rotate button in the toolbar or choose Tools > Rotate Left or Tools > Rotate Right.

 

Mary’s X Files, January 2015

iOS 8 – Hey Siri
~DanFrakes.com
Finally, a feature I didn’t think I’d use much, but I’ve come to like, is the new “Hey Siri” option. Hidden inside Settings > General > Siri, enabling this option lets you activate Siri by saying—wait for it—”Hey Siri” instead of holding down the Home button. The catch is that this works only when the device is connected to a power source (i.e., charging). I initially assumed that this restriction would reduce the usefulness of Hey Siri, but then I realized that the place I’m most likely to use Hey Siri is also the one place my phone is always charging during use: in the car.

iOS 8 – Live dictation
~DanFrakes.com
Perhaps my favorite new Siri trick is live dictation. Siri used to work by listening to you talk, then sending a recording of your dictation to the cloud, then (a few seconds later) returning results. Under iOS 8, Siri shows you its interpretation of your speech on the fly—there’s just an ever-so-short delay for each word.

Not only does this improvement make Siri faster and more responsive, but it means you see immediately if Siri has made a mistake in transcription. Instead of speaking a long text message, for example, and waiting to see if the results are what you intended, you see, as you’re talking, if the message is correct.

Yosemite -Make phone calls
~Gizmodo.com
You can send texts and make calls from your Mac through your iPhone, as long as they’re using the same iCloud account. From the Messages app on your Mac, open Preferences then the Accounts tab—make sure your phone number is ticked and selected in the Start new conversations from drop-down list.

Yosemite – Handoff to other devices
~Gizmodo.com
Another major new feature is Handoff, the ability to start tasks on a computer then send them to a mobile device (or vice versa). You’ll need to activate it on both your Mac and your iPhone/iPad, then a prompt appears whenever you’re using a compatible app (like Mail or Safari).

Easy Flashlight Off in iOS8
~iOS8 ATC Crash Course (Take Control Book)
To turn off the flashlight without returning to Control Center, swipe the Camera icon up on the iPhone’s lock screen.”

Re-enable the Library Folder (Mavericks & Yosemite)
~Macworld
With OS X Lion, Apple discontinued the ability for users to show the Library folder inside of their Home folder. Professional Mac users (especially developers) were disappointed by this move. Fortunately, Apple has now added the ability to un-hide this folder. To do so, navigate to your Home folder, then press Command + J (to show Finder’s View Options). Here, a checkbox labeled “Show Library Folder” will do just that.

Sliding to Unlock in iOS Devices
~iOS8 ATC Crash Course (Take Control Book)
To unlock your device, place your finger on the screen anywhere outside of a notification and slide from left to right. If you’ve set a passcode, you are prompted for it. (If you’ve set up Touch ID on a compatible device, you can touch your finger to the Home button briefly instead of sliding to unlock.)

Tip: You don’t have to slide the “slide to unlock” text (E) to unlock the screen. Sliding anywhere on the screen works.

Quickly Find .plist Files
~MacOSXHints
Finding the .plist preference file for given app isn’t always easy, because the name of the .plist file may not be remotely similar to the app’s name. But there’s an easy way to make such files reveal themselves.

First, open the app, itself, and make a change to its preferences. (You can undo that alteration later.)

Next, open your user account’s /Library/Preferences folder in the Finder. (In Lion or later, if you haven’t set that folder to be permanently visible, hold down the <Option> key, and select Go – Library.)

Set the Finder window to “List” view, and click the top of the “date Modified” column so the most recently modified files appear highest in the list.

The .plist file for the app whose preferences you just adjusted should appear at the top of that column. Note that this may not work with sandboxed applications. For them, you should also search your library’s/Containers folder.

Mary’s X Files, December 2014

Easily Turn Off Flashlight in iOS
~Take Control via Twitter
To turn off the flashlight without returning to Control Center, swipe the Camera icon up on the iPhone’s lock screen.

Dock Icons Contextual Menus on the Mac
~Take Control via Twitter
Dock icons have contextual menus. To open one, click and hold briefly on the icon, without the Control key.

Check Settings after Upgrading to Yosemite
~Take Control via Twitter
Tip! Check settings—particularly Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—after installing iOS 8. The upgrade sometimes changes things.

Easily Open Finder Window
~Take Control via Twitter
If you don’t have any Finder windows open on your Mac, you can open one by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock.

Minimize in-progress email
~DanFrakes.com
Here is one of my favorite iOS 8 features. How many times have you been composing an email message on your iPhone or iPad and wished you could browse another message for some info? It happens to me all the time.

There’s now a way to do so: Just swipe the in-progress message’s title bar down to the bottom of the screen, and there it stays until you tap it again. While the message is minimized, you can browse messages, mailboxes, and accounts; and you can compose new messages and replies—you can even minimize multiple messages and get back to each later. (When multiple messages are minimized, tapping the bottom of the screen lets you choose which minimized message to edit, as shown in the image here.)

More swipe actions
~DanFrakes.com
Here is another one of my favorite iOS 8 features. When viewing a mailbox’s message list, you can now perform many more actions on a message without having to view it first.

Swipe a message preview to the right, and you get the option to mark the message as read/unread. Swipe slightly to the left, and you get buttons to trash the message, flag/unflag it, or More; tapping More displays a list of additional options, including Reply/Reply All, Forward, Flag/Unflag, Mark as Read/Unread, Move to Junk, Move Message, and Notify Me (for enabling the aforementioned per-thread notifications).

One complaint I have here is that if you swipe too far to the left, you immediately delete the message—I do this accidentally All. The. Time. (I’ve never been so happy to have the shake-to-undo feature.) In Settings > Mail > Swipe Options, you can choose which swipe direction provides which options.

How to set a default To address in Mavericks’ Mail
~DanFrakes.com
A reader, Fran Drakes, has an issue with autofill and Mavericks’ Mail app. She writes: My husband has three email addresses. I almost always want to send to his Mac.com address, and for years, that’s what Mail automatically used when I typed his name. But when I upgraded to Mavericks (at least that’s what appears to have been the trigger), Mail decided that I really wanted to send to his Yahoo address. So every time I add him to an email, I have to manually change the auto-filled address to his Mac.com address. Is there a way to force Mail to always use the same address?

I sympathise. With Mavericks’ Mail, auto-fill will choose the first alphabetical address, regardless of the order it appears in a contact’s card. For example, in the case of bubba1@example.com, bubba2@example.com, and bubba3@example.com, bubba1 will be auto-fill’s choice. So let’s take it out of auto-fill’s hands and tell Contacts and Mail exactly what we’d like to have happen.

Launch the Contacts app, select your husband’s name in your list of contacts, and choose File > New Group From Selection. This will create a new untitled group with a highlighted name. Rename that group something like “hubby.”

Now choose Edit > Edit Distribution List and in the sheet that appears select your “hubby” group. You’ll see your husband’s name along with the email addresses that appear on his contact card. Select his Mac.com address so that it turns black and click OK. What you’ve essentially told Contacts is that within this group (of one) the Mac.com address is the default.

Choose the preferred email address in the distribution list sheet. Return to Mail, create a new message, and in the To field enter “hubby.” When you press the Return key, that address should change to his name and use his Mac.com address. At a later time, should you wish to send to a different email address, enter his name rather than “hubby” and then choose the address you wish to send to from the auto-fill list that appears.

Mary’s X Files, November 2014

Easy capitalization using iOS 8’s predictive typing
~TUAW
One of the features of iOS 8 that we weren’t expecting to use on a day-to-day basis was predictive texting. Normally it’s faster to just type out the words, but using predictive text — especially with longer words — is a simple joy we didn’t know we needed until it was here. We’ve discovered a new little feature in the predictive texting function that some of you may find interesting: smart capitalization. Let’s say that I forgot to capitalize the word “church” in the text below, and want to do that after the fact.

To do this, I simply select the word in question by tapping it twice, tap the shift key, and select the proper spelling from the predictive typing menu. This replaces the normal cumbersome method to capitalize a word where you would need to hold down the cursor, move it until you can delete the first letter of the word, and then replace the letter with a capital letter you were looking for.

Now say you want to make a word all upper case letters. The process of making a word all caps is just as simple as capitalizing only the first letter like I did earlier. Here, you simply tap shift twice once you’ve highlighted the word — effectively activating the caps lock — and predictive text offers up a number of fully-capitalized suggestions as a replacement. If you proofread and edit your texts after they’re written, this trick could help you save some time in the long run. Enjoy.

How to tell if the shift key is lower case, Upper Case, or CAPS LOCK in iOS 7.1
~iMore
One of the more subtle yet potentially frustrating changes in iOS 7.1 is how the state of the shift key is displayed. Not only isn’t it intuitively obvious which state the shift key is in — lowercase, Upper Case, or CAPS LOCK — but it can be downright counter-intuitive to the point that you find yourself uncertain and guessing wrong more often than not. Granted, it could be a lot worse but it could also be a lot better. If you’ve installed iOS 7.1 and you’re having trouble figuring out the shift key on your iPhone or iPad, here’s a quick reference. (Share it with your friends. All your friends.)

How to tell lower case, Upper Case, and CAPS LOCK mode on iOS 7.1

If the background is dark gray and the arrow is white, you’re in lower case mode.
If the background is white and the arrow is black, you’re in Upper case mode.
If the background is white and the arrow is dark, and there’s a horizontal line beneath the arrow, you’re in ALL CAPS mode.

Apply Restrictions
~MacWorld
In iOS, you can apply restrictions. In the “Settings” app, go to “General” and the “Restrictions”. You’ll see a prompt to enter a passcode. Do so, and you can then select features that you’d like to lock down on your iOS device. If you’re planning to hand the iPhone off to Junior, who has a habit of deleting your apps, you can specifically disable that capability. You can also prevent access to the iTunes Store, Safari and more.

How to resize photos on your iPhone, no computer needed!
~iMore
If you use your iPhone as your go-to camera, you’ve undoubtedly come across photos that you want to print out and frame. The number one question I get from family and friends is how to make sure it’ll fit into a given frame, whether it be 4×6, square, and so on. As it happens, you can size photos accordingly right inside the Photos app so they’re frame ready, no computer needed. Here’s how:

How to resize your iPhone photos to frame ready sizes in just seconds

1. Launch the Photos app and find the photo you’d like to size. Tap on it.
2. Tap on Edit in the upper right hand corner.
3. A menu will appear along the bottom. Tap on the Crop icon which is all the way to the right.
4. Now tap on the Aspect button (lower, right corner).
5. Here you can choose what constraints you need for a given frame. Just tap on the one you want.
6. Now drag the box around in order to center the photo the way you’d like. Just take care not to pull one of the corners out since that’ll change the aspect ratio. If you do it on accident, that’s okay. Just hit Aspect at the bottom again and re-select the size you want.
7. Once you’ve got the image centered the way you’d like inside the box, tap on Crop in the upper right hand corner.
8. You are then shown a preview of the crop. If you like it, tap Save in the upper right hand corner.

That’s all there is to it. Just keep in mind that the crop will save over the original version of the photo. If you want the original image back again, just change the crop ratio back again to original.

Once you’re done you can wirelessly print it or send it off however you need to. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you! Do you have framed photos in your home that came straight from your iPhone? How do they compare to the rest?

Mary’s X Files, October 2014

How to set messages to automatically delete themselves in iOS 8
~iMore
One of the largest culprits when it comes to chewing through the storage on your iPhone or iPad is the Messages app. From regular text messages to iMessages to photos, videos, and audio notes, they all take up space. In some cases, several gigabytes. However, iOS 8 brings with it an awesome feature that lets you set messages to delete automatically after a set amount of time. That means more storage space freed up regularly without you actually having to think about it!

How to set messages to delete after a period of time on iPhone and iPad

1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 or higher.
2. Tap on Messages.
3. Tap on Keep Messages under the Message History section.
4. Tap on either 1 year or 30 days, whichever you’d like.
5. Tap Delete in the popup menu to confirm you’d like iOS to delete any messages older than the specified time period. You can not undo this action.

That’s it! iOS will now automatically delete all messages that are older than the specified time. For anyone who has a 16GB device, give this a try and see if it helps you keep your storage more under control when it comes to Messages.

Get to know iOS 8:  a convenient new trick in Safari
~Macworld
Get a website’s desktop version
Sometimes you don’t want the stripped-down mobile version of a website. Google’s Chrome has long had a “request desktop version” option, and now Safari does also.

This is especially helpful for sites that insist on serving the mobile version to your iPhone 6 Plus or iPad.

To access this, give a gentle pull down on the menubar to see two new choices: Add to Favorites and Request Desktop Site. Tap the latter and the page will reformat, usually presenting itself in desktop glory.

How to find your iTunes purchase history on your Mac or PC
~iMore
Can’t remember what apps, movies, TV shows, or music you bought on iTunes, when you bought it, or how much you paid? Maybe you need to reconcile your bills, keep track of the kids, or even get a refund for something that went wrong? The advantage to buying online is that it’s easy to find a list of what you bought. Unlike most online stores, however, Apple doesn’t make your purchase history available on the web. To find it, you have to go to iTunes on Mac or Windows!

How to access your purchase history on iTunes for Mac or Windows

1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC.
2. Click on the Store tab in the top menu and select View Account.
3. Sign in with your Apple ID if you are prompted to do so.
4. Under the Purchase History section, click on See All.
5. On the next screen, just click on any order to expand it and view its contents

How to find out what apps are eating the battery life on your Mac running OS X Mavericks
~iMore
If you’ve got a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or other kind of portable Mac that contains a battery, OS X Mavericks has made it easier than ever to figure out and keep track of exactly what’s using your battery life. So if you find your battery draining quickly, one click can help you determine what the cause is. Here’s how:

1. In the upper system tray in your Mac, there is a battery icon that shows how much battery you have remaining. Click on it.
2. There’s a new section labeled Apps Using Significant Energy. If there are any apps listed here, these are the ones that could potentially be draining your battery faster.
3. Close down any apps that are in this list in order to save battery life.

Re-enable the Library Folder (Mavericks)
~iMore
With OS X Lion, Apple discontinued the ability for users to show the Library folder inside of their Home folder. Professional Mac users (especially developers) were disappointed by this move. Fortunately, Apple has now added the ability to un-hide this folder. To do so, navigate to your Home folder, then press Command + J (to show Finder’s View Options). Here, a checkbox labeled “Show Library Folder” will do just that.

Mary’s X Files, September 2014

Do Not Disturb
~MacWorld
This next one’s for people who like to read in bed. In this scenario your bed-mate has turned off the lights and is ready for sleep but your glaring iPad is keeping them awake. No problem. Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility, scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen and tap Accessibility Shortcut. Tap where it says Invert Colors. Now return to your book and when the lights go out, triple-click the Home button. The screen turns black and the text, white; producing far less glare.

Image Previews on iPad
~MacWorld
Let’s take a look at the Photos app. Here, within albums, you can see thumbnails of your images. But sometimes these thumbnails may not provide enough detail. There’s a quick way to preview them. Just tap on an image with two fingers and stretch. The image will grow larger. You can twist and turn it if you like. To return to the album, just pinch until the other thumbnails appear and take your fingers off the screen.

Facebook’s auto-play videos eating up all your data? Here’s the fix!
~iMore
The Facebook app for iPhone and iPad features an auto-play feature for videos that seems to be causing a lot of users some data usage grief. It seems to be mysteriously eating through loads of data for some folks. Luckily, there’s an easy way to turn off auto-play with just a few taps. It’s something we’d highly recommend doing if you don’t have an unlimited data plan or live with restricted Wi-Fi. And as an added bonus, it may save you a bit of battery life too!

How to stop Facebook from automatically playing videos and eating your data:

1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Tap on Facebook.
3. Tap on Settings at the top.
4. Tap on Auto-play under the Video section.
5. Tap on Off.

That’s all there is to it! Facebook will no longer automatically start playing videos. Instead you’ll have to tap on them in order for them to start playing, just like you used to have to! Give it a try and let us know if this helps decrease the amount of data Facebook consumes!

Reveal files with Spotlight
~MacWorld
While Spotlight is the primary search option for OS X, you might find yourself using it only to find and open files directly in their default applications; many users forget that they can also use it to reveal files in the Finder. To do so, run your search, then use the arrow keys to highlight your desired file. Next, instead of pressing Return key alone, hold down Command key as you press Return. This will open a Finder window containing the file, and allow you to delete it, move it, open it in a non-default application, or otherwise manage the file directly.

The copy of the U.S. Constitution that’s installed on every Mac
~TUAW
Sometimes when I see just how ignorant many American politicians are of the Constitution of the United States, I get the urge to send them a copy along with some annotations. Perhaps now that more of those in the federal government are using Macs, we might begin to see them paying more attention to this document that outlines the supreme law of the land. Why? Well, there’s a copy of the U.S. Constitution on each and every Mac in the Dictionary app.

To see this information from The New Oxford American Dictionary, just launch the Dictionary app from your Applications folder. Once it’s up and running, go up to the menu bar and select Go > Front/Back Matter. There you’ll not only find such exciting information as who was on the editorial staff and advisory board for the Dictionary, but also a bunch of useful references.

In addition to the aforementioned Constitution of the United States of America, there’s also a complete Language Guide, a history of the English language, a list of the fifty states and each state capital, a list of every President of the U.S. from George Washington to George W. Bush (not sure what happened to the current incumbent…), the Declaration of Independence, a list of countries of the world, a list of chemical elements from hydrogen to meitnerium, a cross-reference of standard to metric measure conversions, and the Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Russian alphabets.

Sure, it’s not exactly Wikipedia, but it’s sure nice to know that if you’re offline and just happen to need to know what the 21st Amendment to the Constitution did (it repealed Prohibition), you’ve got it at your fingertips.

Mary’s X Files, August 2014

How to lock focus in the Camera app for iPhone and iPad
~iMore
Sometimes when taking a photo, the Camera app can continue to re-focus itself which can add some lag between captures. Luckily, if your focal point isn’t constantly moving or changing, you can lock the focus to minimize lag and ensure that the focus is locked on what you want it to be.

How the lock the focus in the iPhone and iPad Camera app:

1. Launch the Camera app like you normally would to take a photo.
2. Press and hold on your focal point until you see an AE/AF Lock banner appear at the top of the screen.
3. Remove your finger from the screen and tap the shutter button when you’re ready to take your photo.
4. Unlock the focus and exposure again at any time by tapping anywhere on the screen.

10.9: Smart folders on the Dock
~MacWorld
In OS X 10.9 Mavericks a smart folder (or a saved search) dragged to the Dock behaves like a folder (smart folders by default are saved under ~/Library/Saved Searches). Right click gives sorting, display and viewing options similar to ordinary folders dragged to the Dock. A drawer icon is shown if Display as Folder option is selected. In grid view Quick Look works, too.

How to take a photo while simultaneously shooting video with your iPhone or iPad
~iMore
Sometimes you’re shooting a video with the built-in iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad Camera app and you find yourself wanting to take a still photo at the same time. Whether it’s an amazing moment amid the action, or just a great composition you want to capture in its won right, there are times when you’ll want to have your video and photo too! Luckily, Apple makes it easy to do.

How to shoot a still photo while simultaneously capturing video on your iPhone or iPad:

1. Launch the Camera app from your iPhone or iPad Home screen
2. Switch to video mode and start recording. (See: How to record a video with your iPhone or iPad)
3. Tap the take picture button to the left of the stop/start button.

The screen will flash white to indicate you’ve taken the photo. Every time you tap the take picture button, another photo will be saved to your Camera Roll, while at the same time your video will just keep recording.

Note: The pictures taken using this method are substantially lower quality than regular pictures. They’re 1280×720 (1.2mp/720p/16:9). Most modern iPhones shoot in 3264 x 2448 (8mp/4:3). What you gain in flexibility you lose in image size. (Though it’s still better than taking a screenshot of the video later, which results in 1136×640 (0.7mp/16:9).

Drag and drop the proxy
~ David Leon Leazenby. “Mavericks 101.” 
Let’s say I’m viewing an image in Preview and decide I want to edit it in Photoshop. I could open Finder and navigate to the file, before dragging it to the Photoshop icon in the Dock, but here’s a quicker way: just drag and drop the proxy icon onto the Photoshop icon in the Dock, which will then instantly open the file in the new app. The proxy icon is the little icon to the left of the filename in the document.

Mac 101: Using the keyboard viewer in OS X Mavericks
~TUAW
The keyboard viewer in OS X has been serving as a useful tool for a long time, allowing users to view keyboard characters with a few clicks of their mouse. Though Apple continues to include the utility in OS X, it has changed its location in the system preferences, moving it from “Language & Text” in Mountain Lion and earlier to the “Keyboard” preference pane.

To add the keyboard viewer to the menu bar in OS X Mavericks, you must enable this option in the system preferences as follows:

1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click the Keyboard preference pane.
2. Click on the Keyboard tab and then select “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar” as shown above.

Once the Input menu appears in your menu bar as a flag-like character, click on this icon and then click “Show Keyboard Viewer” to display a virtual keyboard on your screen.

By default, you see the default keyboard characters, but you can easily view alternative characters by holding down the Option key, the Shift key or the Option-Shift key. When you see the alternative character you want to enter into a document, just click on it in the virtual keyboard or tap on the appropriate keys on your Mac keyboard, such as Option-Shift-K for the Apple “” icon.

Quickly close all tabs in iOS 7
~MacWorld
As satisfying as the swipe to close feature in mobile Safari is, it becomes a bit of a chore to close more than a few tabs.

To close all tabs at once, tap the new tab icon (two overlapping squares), tap Private, and then Close All. Repeat the first two steps and tap ‘+’ (or the screen) to get back to an empty Safari in your preferred browsing state.