Mary’s X Files, February 2019

Is There a Way to Block Certain Incoming Texts in iOS?
~Macworld Magazine
A Macworld reader wants to know if there’s a way in iOS to block texts from everyone who isn’t in the Contacts list. Her elderly mother is receiving harassing texts from someone who obtains a new number and continues the attack every time they are stymied using iOS’s option to block texts (along with FaceTime requests and calls).

There isn’t such a feature, although you’d think this would be a much-desired one. Apple has continued to add anti-spam and contact- blocking features across the latest releases of iOS, and allows third-party app makers to tap into calls and texts to help, too.

Apple does offer a feature to sort iMessages – texts sent from people with registered iCloud accounts – into a separate area. Visit Settings/ Messages/Unknown & Spam, and enable Filter Unknown Senders. (On a Mac, using Messages/Preferences, and uncheck the Notify me about Messages from Unknown Contact box.)

This doesn’t act on text messages (SMS), which are always delivered and is more likely the problem faced.

The only option at present is to change one’s phone number and keep it private.

Essential monthly maintenance tasks
1. Check the drives- Sometimes the file system has minor errors, so repair them before they become major. Open Disk Utility, select each internal and external drive and click ‘First Aid’.

2. Update everything – If automatic updates are disabled, check by opening Software Update in System Preferences. Select ‘Updates’ in the App Store. Check non-store apps for updates too.

3. Make backups – Time Machine is simple and convenient, but tools like SuperDuper ( clone the Mac’s drive to a USB drive and makes it bootable.

4. Tidy up Mail – Open the Mail app and cancel subscriptions to newsletters you never read with the link. Search for emails with attachments and delete any you don’t need.

5. Uninstall unused apps- Are there apps you never use? Show the Applications folder in List view, Ctrl+click a header and select ‘Date Last Opened’. Delete apps you have not used for a long time.

6. Run system scripts- Open Terminal. Enter ‘ls -al /var/log/*. out’ to see when macOS last ran cleanup and maintenance scripts. Run them now by entering ‘sudo periodic daily weekly monthly’.

Applying lists and sub-lists
Lists of items are easy to create in TextEdit, and there is a toolbar button to turn a line of text into a bullet point using several different symbols or a numbered or alphabetical list. Just type something and then click the last button in the TextEdit toolbar. How do you create a sub-list within a list or a sub-list of a sub-list? There is no obvious way to do it – no menu or toolbar, but it can be done.

1. Create a sub-list – Create lists by entering text. Click the last button in the toolbar to select the list design. To turn a list item into a sub-list place the cursor at the start and press Option/Alt+Tab.

2. Customise sub-lists – While in the sub-list, click the list button. Select ‘Show More’, select Bullet>Number style and insert prefix and suffix text. Use Prepend to add the parent list marker.

Always show Scrollbars on MacOS
Scrollbars in windows and apps should be easy to use, but somehow macOS has turned them into a game of hide-and-seek. If you find them awkward to use then head to System Preferences>General and select the ‘Always’ option under ‘Show Scrollbars’.

Reduce motion/transparency on MacOS
Some elements of the macOS interface are semi-transparent – the menu bar is one example. Some people like it, others don’t. The effect can be turned on and off in System Preferences>Accessibility>Display. You might also want to enable ‘Reduce motion’, which stops some animation effects.

Mary’s X Files, January 2019

New Ways to Navigate your iPad
The iPhone X revamped the way you get around Apple’s smartphone, and iOS 12 brings its more fluid navigational gestures to the iPad too. This is great news if you have an iPad and one of Apple’s newer iPhones, because you don’t have to adapt your thinking as you move between devices. Additionally, the clock has beween moved to the top-left corner of the screen, which matches iPhone X. There’s no setting to move it back to the middle, though.

How to Navigate:

1. Review Notifications: Like in iOS 11, notifications can be reviewed by swiping down from the screen’s top edge – but avoid the right end, because…

2. Relocated controls: The top-right corner is now reserved for Control Center. Like on the iPhone X, swipe downwards from the icons there to reveal it.

3. A cleaner app switcher: As in iOS 11, you still swipe upwards from the bottom edge to around the middle of the screen to enter the app switcher. Notice, though, that the switcher now displays nothing more than other tasks you can switch to – there are no controls or shortcuts on its right side.

4. Return to Home: A quick flick upwards from the screen’s bottom edge will take you back to the Home screen – faster and less involved than pinching four or five fingers together, and great news if you iPad’s Home button is on its last legs.

5. Reveal the Dock: The slight drawback to the Home screen gesture is you need to be more deliberate when revealing the Dock within an app. Drag your finger upwards from the bottom edge a little more slowly, as if you’re literally pulling the Dock into view.

Measure up your World
There’s a brand-new app in iOS 12, Measure, and it’s available on iPhone and iPad. The app uses Apple’s augmented reality (AF) tech, ARKit 2, to measure the distance between points on flat surfaces.

Third-party apps beat Apple to this task when ARKit was first introduced, but the point is Apple now bundles an AR app with iOS.
Note that while the app can measure distances between points on flat surfaces, it can’t be used to measure the length of an arc on a curved surface, say.

1. Find a surface: You’ll be asked to move your device around, so the app can find flat surfaces in the view. A circular overlay will align with the detected plan and follow your aim.

2. Measure things: Tap the + to mark a point in space, point the camera elsewhere on the surface – distance is shown as you do – and tap + again to record the measurement.

3. Take note: The app will snap to an existing point if you aim it nearby. The arrow undoes a step, Clear starts over, and the other white circle takes a photo of the current view.

How do I turn my iOS keyboard into a trackpad?
Now for all!

This feature used to be reserved for owners of 3D Touch-enabled iPhones, but with the release of iOS 12 the feature has been extended to all devices.

1. Hold spacebar
To access the trackpad feature, simply press and hold on the spacebar and the rest of the iOS keyboard will fade out to the background…

2. Move cursor
Still pressing and holding on the screen, you can swipe your finger around to manually position the onscreen cursor anywhere within your text.

Create custom message responses on my Apple Watch
It’s all done through the Watch app on your iPhone. Launch the app and then tap ‘My Watch’, then scroll down to the list of apps and then tap on ‘Messages’. Now select ‘Default Replies’ and you will be presented with a list of default replies. Simply tap on any one of them and replace the text with whatever you want. You can also tap on ‘Add Reply’ to create a new response that will be added to the list. Tap ‘Done’ when you have finished to save your new messages and they will be synced to your Watch.

Increase the size of the text in Safari websites on the Mac
This is surprisingly easy to do within the Safari app itself. Simply go to the website that you want to read, right-click on the URL bar and then choose the ‘Settings For This Website’ option. You will now be able to adjust the zoom for individual sites. If you want to zoom in on every site you visit then go to Safari>Preferences> Page Zoom and then increase the zoom percentage next to the ‘When visiting other websites’ option in the lower-right corner of the window. This will then be applied to all sites going forward.

Mary’s X Files, December 2018

Which iPhone or iPad do I have?
~Essential iPhone & iPad Magazine
To identify which model of iPhone or iPad you have, go to Settings > General > About and look for the Model listing. Tap this listing and you’re shown a reference starting with ‘A’, followed by a four figure number. Write it down. In Safari, go to (iPads) or (iPhones). These pages, from Apple’s support site, list every model and their identifier numbers. Look for your own identifier number here.

Can My Phone or Pad run OS 12?
~Essential iPhone & iPad Magazine
iOS 12 is compatible with the following models of iPhone and iPad. System requirements are the same as for the previous version of iOS, so if you’re running iOS 11, you can run iOS 12.

iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 5s

12.9-inch iPad Pro, 2nd gen. 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 1st gen. 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro,
iPad 6th gen., iPad 5th gen., iPad Air 2, iPad Air,
iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2

iPod touch 6th generation

Translate More
~MacFormat Magazine
Siri in iOS12 is able to translate between more than 40 language pairs. Not sure if one you need is available? Just say “Translate” to Siri and it’ll return a list of the languages it works with.

HOW TO Search more precisely using Spotlight
~Mac|Life Magazine
1. Search by kind
Typing a single word is unlikely to pinpoint the exact file you want; adding the file’s kind can help. If you include extensions in your filenames, searching for things like ‘dog jpg’ may work; if not, try: ‘dog kind:image’.

2. Include the date
If you know the date you made a file, use the format ‘created:dd/mm/ yy’. To widen the search, type a range – say, ‘created:1/5/18-31/5/18’. You can search modification date, and before or after a date, too.

3. Edit and combine
You can combine criteria to be more specific – separate them with spaces. You can also use logical operators – AND, OR and NOT – to refine searches. For example, ‘kind:image NOT PSD’.

How to scan QR codes with your iPhone or iPad
~MacWorld Magazine
QR codes can be really handy. A grid of seemingly random black-and-white squares can hold enough information to store website URLs, contact information, email addresses, pre-defined SMS text messages, and even your Wi-Fi SSID and password.

Put a QR code on your business card, and people can copy all your contact info into their phone in a heartbeat. Post a QR code somewhere in your house, and guests can use it to instantly sign on to your Wi-Fi network. You used to need a third-party app to scan QR codes, but, with iOS 11, Apple built it right into the camera app. It couldn’t be easier to use.

How to Scan a QR Code:

1. First, open the Camera app.
2. Then, point the camera at a QR code so it can see it clearly.

That’s it! A notification should pop up with an action based on the QR code scanned. If it contains a Wi-Fi SSID and passcode, you can join the network with just a tap without the need for typing or tinkering with the Settings menu. If it contains contact info, you’ll be prompted to add the person to your iPhone’s Contacts.

QR codes won’t scan? Make sure it’s enabled in your Camera settings.
If you’re not seeing a notification well-lit and clearly in view, check to make sure the feature is enabled. Head to Settings, then Camera. Make sure Scan QR Codes is enabled (and it should be on by default).

Sign and Share Documents Digitally
~iCreate Magazine
If you need to sign a document, scan and send it digitally, then this is made easy with Preview’s built-in toolset. But in order to sign documents digitally, you must first create a signature. Go to View>Show Markup Toolbar and you should see a signature icon — click on this and then choose the ‘Create Signature’ option that appears. You should then be able to add a new signature by either using a trackpad or signing a piece of paper and then holding it up to you Mac’s camera.

1. Apply a Signature
When you have a saved signature, open the PDF and click on the Sign icon in the Markup Toolbar and choose your signature. It will be automatically placed in the document.

2. Position and Resize
Click and hold on the signature to move it into the desired location, and then click and drag one of the corners to resize it, scaling it down to fit if need be.

Mary’s X Files, November 2018

Mark up your screenshots on iOS
When iOS 11 was released this time last year, it introduced a system where you could start annotating screenshots taken on your iOS device as soon as the image is taken. This certainly saved the time of having to open them in your Photos app.

1. Take a screenshot Press the side/lock button and the Home button together and you will see a thumbnail of the image in the Dock – tap it. 2. Mark it up The screenshot that you took will now be opened in Markup mode. Use the tools available to add annotations.
3. Save image When you have finished, tap ‘Done’ and you will be able to share or save the modified screenshot to your Photos app.

Markup photos on Mac
Marking up photos on your Mac follows a similar method to iOS, but you have far more tools at your disposal, such as the option to draw freehand shapes that are auto-corrected into more professional-looking versions. There is much to try.

1. Select Edit In the Photos app on your Mac, double-click on an image to open it and then click the ‘Edit’ option in the toolbar.

2. Click Extensions Now click on the ‘…’ Extensions icon in the top-right corner and select ‘Markup’ from the menu of options.
3. Get creative The Mac Markup tools allow you to draw freehand shapes that then snap into more professional versions and much more…

Arrange your desktop automatically in Mac OS Mojave
If you use the Desktop as a quick way to manage often-used files, the new Stacks feature will save you lots of time and make your virtual filing cabinet more organized 1. Locate the option Open Finder and then minimize the main window. Now click ‘View’ to see new options appear for the desktop.

2. Enable Stacks Click ‘Use Stacks’ and you will see the desktop icons immediately move to the right in a uniform and logical order.
3. Cleaning up Your desktop just took on a new order that literally took you no time at all to create. It’s magic.

4. Choose how to view Back in the View menu, click ‘Group Stacks By’ and then choose your preference from Date Modified, Taps, etc. 5. Extra personalization You can still select View>Show View Options to customize icon size and grid spacing to your preferred view.
6. Expand Stacks When you click on a Stack it will open and display the files within it. Click again to immediately close the Stack.

How do I set up Apple Pay on my iPhone?
Open your Wallet app and then tap on the blue ‘+’ icon in the top-right corner. You can now add a card by framing it in your camera or by entering the details manually. When this is done you will receive a verification code from your bank. Once set up, go to Settings>Touch ID & Passcode to enable this.

Increase the size of the text in Safari websites
This is surprisingly easy to do within the Safari app itself. Simply go to the website that you want to read, right-click on the URL bar and then choose the ‘Settings For This Website’ option. You will now be able to adjust the zoom for individual sites. If you want to zoom in on every site you visit then go to Safari>Preferences> Page Zoom and then increase the zoom percentage next to the ‘When visiting other websites’ option in the lower-right corner of the window. This will then be applied to all sites going forward.

Mary’s X Files, October 2018

Listen to your music on a countdown timer on iPhone
If you enjoy listening to music as you try to fall asleep then you don’t have to worry about it blaring unattended when you nod off because you can set it to end on a timer. To do this, open the Clock app, select timer and then, under ‘When Time Ends’, choose the ‘Stop Playing’ option. Now, if you set a timer for, say, 20 minutes, any music will stop playing when it expires.

Charge quicker on iPhone
This tip seems to work across every iOS device, regardless of what iOS it is running. If you want to reduce the amount of time your device spends connected to a power source then simply swipe up to Control Centre and turn on Airplane mode (make sure all connections are off). With no power-hungry services on, it will charge noticeably quicker. Handy to know if your time at a plug socket is limited.

Flash to notify on iOS
If you want a more visual alert from your iPhone when a new notifications comes through then go to Settings>General>Accessibility and then activate ‘LED Flash for Alerts’. Your iPhone’s flash will now illuminate to herald a new notification, making it even harder to miss. This will drain your iPhone battery faster, though.

Sign and share documents digitally using Preview
If you need to sign a document, scan and send it digitally then this is made easy with Preview’s built-in toolset. But in order to sign documents digitally you must first create a signature. Go to View>Show Markup Toolbar and you should see a signature icon – click on this and then choose the ‘Create Signature’ option that appears. You should then be able to add a new signature by either using a trackpad or signing a piece of paper and then holding it up to your Mac’s camera.

1. Apply a signature
When you have a saved signature, open the PDF and click on the Sign icon in the Markup Toolbar and choose your signature. It will be automatically placed in the document.

2. Position and resize
Click and hold on the signature to move it into the desired location, and then click and drag one of the corners to resize it, scaling it down to fit if need be.

Share Wi-Fi passwords in iOS
To ensure that only one member of your party has to go through the hassle of typing in a password to access a wireless network, Wi-Fi passwords can be shared with nearby devices. As long as both devices are running iOS 11, go to Settings>Wi-Fi and tap on the wireless network that you want to join – the ‘Enter Password’ screen should now be displayed. Now move your device closer to the connected one and a prompt should appear on their screen to ‘Share Password’.

Delete digits in Calculator on iPhone
If you accidentally enter the wrong digit while inputting figures into the iOS Calculator app then you don’t have to press ‘C’ to start again. Simply swipe one finger either left or right across the display and the last entered digit will be instantly deleted.

Swipe pages in iOS
In Safari, in iOS, while viewing web pages you can swipe left or right to go backwards or forwards a screen respectively. This is certainly quicker than using the onscreen arrows.

Mary’s X Files, September 2018

How to edit your Today view on iPad
We all lead such busy lives that it is easy to forget things, miss appointments and lose track of what we’re supposed to be doing, which is why your Notification Centre is so important. It relays all the important information for the day ahead and you can tailor it to meet your needs, as we’ll demonstrate.

You can swipe down and then right to see what’s happening on your Today view and you can also determine what is displayed and the order. The process is much like the Mac version and only takes a minute to edit.

1. Tap Edit – Swipe down and then right and then scroll to the bottom of your Today view where you will see the ‘Edit’ button – tap it.

2. Edit items – You can add or remove items by tapping the green ‘+’ icons and the red ‘–’ icons. Only add ones you need.

3. Arrange items – Press and hold on the list icons next to an item and drag it up or down to change the running order.

Customize Notification Center on Mac
Your Mac Notification Centre, accessible by clicking on the list icon in the top-right corner, displays new notifications and what’s going on for the current day. You can edit the info displayed and arrange it to meet your needs.

1. Click Edit – Click on the icon in the top- right corner of the menu bar to access your Notification Centre and click ‘Edit’ at the bottom.

2. Add/remove – Click on the red ‘–’ icons to remove existing items and the green ‘+’ icons to add new content to your feed.

3. Re-arrange – You can change the order in which items are displayed by clicking, holding and dragging on the list icons next to each item.

Edit your notifications on iPad
You have full freedom to determine exactly which apps send you notifications and how they are displayed. Every app that wants to send you alerts will be listed under Settings> Notifications and you can tap on them to tailor the alerts.

1. Open Settings – Go to Settings>Notifications and all of the apps and services that send you notifications will be listed. Tap on one.

2. Turn it on – Make sure that the app is enabled and then make sure the ‘Show in Notification Centre’ option is turned on.

3. Select style – Now select the style of notification (for example, ‘Banners’) and they will flash up in your Notification Centre.

Type to Siri in iOS
If you don’t like talking aloud to your iOS device then you can type instead. Go to Settings>General> Accessibility>Siri and then toggle on ‘Type to Siri’. Now, whenever you use Siri, type your commands into the text box provided and then tap ‘Done’ and the results will be pulled up. You can also adjust the voice settings to ‘Control with Ring Switch’ – which means that Siri will only show you query results and not speak them out loud.

Save parking locations in iOS
If your car is modern enough to have Bluetooth or CarPlay then go to Settings>Maps and ensure that the ‘Show Parked Location’ option is enabled. Now, if you forget where you have parked it will be clearly marked on a map for your reference.

Return to top of page in Safari in iOS
This is a little-known iOS classic, but if you want to quickly return to the top of a web page or any other scrollable content then simply tap on the time display at the top of the screen. You will be taken there instantly.

Mary’s X Files, August 2018

Improve Siri Functionality in iOS
Siri has its own dedicated section in Settings where you can enable functionality for individual apps. You can also educate Siri about yourself, including key locations and family members. Here’s how it’s done…

1. Open your Contacts app and then find your own personal contact card in your directory. Tap to open it,
2. Add More Details – Tap the ‘Edit’ option in the top-right corner and then add in as many details as possible, including family members.
3. Select Card – Go to Settings>Siri and tap on the ‘My Info’ option. Now simply locate and select your personal card for Siri to use.

Lauch Wireless Diagnostics on Mac
How to Locate and Launch your Mac’s Built-in Signal Scanner – If you suspect that the wireless connectivity issues you are suffering are the result of a poor signal then your Mac’s Wireless Diagnostics app can help. Strangely, this mythical app doesn’t reside in your Launch Pad by default and locating it is almost akin to summoning spirits! Once open, the app will scan your wireless network and highlight any issues that arise.

1. Access the app – The easiest way to launch the Wireless Diagnostics app is to hold the Alt (option) key before clicking on the Wi-Fi menu bar icon and choosing ‘Open Wireless Diagnostics’.

2. Check Performance – Before clicking on ‘Continue’, go to Window>Performance (or hit Alt+Cmd+5) and three graphs will be generated that gauge your Wi-Fi connection.

3. Monitor Graphs – Leave the app running so that your Wi-Fi connection can be monitored over time and the graphs should highlight possible dips and spikes.

Your Wi-Fi performance charts
While in the Wireless Diagnostics app, you can bring up the following Wi-Fi performance chart by going to Window>Performance. Here’s a guide to what the graphs mean…

1 This graph displays the data rate of your wireless network in Mbps. Monitor this graph over the course of a few hours and if you see noticeable dips or a complete drop of signal then it indicates that there is a problem somewhere.

2 The middle chart, labelled ‘Quality’, displays the ratio of signal to noise. All being well, this line should be relatively straight with slight spikes and dips. If it frequently dips then it indicates that something is interfering with your Wi-Fi signal.

3 The lower graph, marked ‘Signal’, highlights both the signal strength and measured noise, both of which are measured in Decibel- milliwatts (dBM). Ideally, you should be looking at a signal of between -60 to -10dBM and noise below -75dBM.

4 Monitor all three graphs over time to get a clearer picture of how your Wi-Fi is performing. In the lower graph, the two lines should be close together if all is good. If they’re not then try to eradicate the noise by repositioning
the router.

Change the navigation icon in Google Maps
Although Apple Maps has improved greatly since it made its debut six years ago (and let’s face it, it could hardly have got any worse), many still swear by Google Maps. We won’t go into the ins and outs of why that is but if you do make use of this wonderful app on your iPhone, then you’re in for a little treat.

Rather than follow a blue navigation arrow while you’re driving, you can now add some fun to even the dullest of journeys by swapping it out for a vehicle instead. While it’s admittedly cosmetic, there are currently three to choose from (a saloon, truck or 4×4), each of a cartoon-like nature. We reckon we’ll see more of them in the future as word gets around about their inclusion.

Mary’s X Files, July 2018

Review your Subscriptions on iOS
If you want to view and manage existing subscriptions, such as an Apple Music subscription, for example, then this is all done through the Settings app. Just tap on your Apple ID at the top of the page to access a wealth of options.

1. Go to Settings – Launch your Settings app and then tap on your Apple ID at the top of the Settings screen. Next, tap on ‘iTunes & App Store’. 2. Tap on Apple ID – Next, tap on your Apple ID again (which will be blue), select ‘View Apple ID’ and then sign into your account.
3. Review Subs – You will now be able to scroll down and tap on the ‘Subscriptions’ option to view and manage your subs.

View Alerts and Purchases on iOS
Once you are into your Apple ID account, there is much you can do. For example, you can set up Family Sharing, edit your payment information and manage all aspects of your account. Here are some of the extra options available.

1. Manage Alerts – Tap on the ‘Manage’ option under My Alerts and you will be able to manage alerts for artists you follow in Apple Music.
2. View Purchases – Tap on the ‘Purchase History’ option to view all of the apps you have downloaded in the last 90 days over al devices.
3. Apple Offers – Under iTunes Newsletters and Special Offers, tap ‘Manage’ and you will be asked to sign into a Safari page to manage these.

Manage your Accounts on a Mac
Things are slightly different when trying to manage your Apple ID on a Mac. There is nothing in System Preferences that covers this; instead you have to do it through the iTunes app itself. Here we’ll guide your through the process.

1. Find the Option – in iTunes, click on the ‘Store’ tab at the top of the interface and then you will see a ‘Music Quick Links’ option in the right column. 2. Choose Method – Click on ‘Account’ and sign into your Apple account then you will be taken to an extensive page of options to review.
3. Manage Subs – If you would like to cancel a subscription then, under ‘Settings’, click on the ‘Manage’ option next to Subscriptions.

Prepare for the Long Wait at the Airport when Traveling
The wait at the airport can feel like forever when you are looking forward to your trip or can’t wait to get back home, but your trusty iPhone can give you all of the entertainment and interest you need to make it feel much more bearable. Using the right apps wisely can help a lot.

1. Offline Films – Netflix and similar services now let you download selected films and TV shows so that you can watch them anywhere. You should do this before you leave for your trip.
2. Don’t Stream – If you subscribe to services like Apple Music, you can download tracks to play without an internet connection. This could also save data roaming fees when abroad.
3. Gaming on the Go – Don’t forget to install a few games for those moments when you are unexpectedly delayed. From two minutes to two hours, they can help the time pass very quickly. 4. Light Reading – A few eBooks will go a long way on the beach, in the airport or anywhere else when you need some downtime. Kindle and iBooks both work exceptionally well.

5. Offline Articles – Apps and services like Instapaper and Pocket let you download Longford articles to read anywhere. These work well on leisure trips because they tend to be quick reads.

Mary’s X Files, June 2018

Instantly Update on iOS
If you only have a modest number of apps installed on your iOS device, then you may want updates to be installed automatically as soon as they become available. This is done easily by going to your Settings app…

1. Go to Settings – Launch your Settings app and then scroll down through the various sections. You will see a category called ‘iTunes & App Store’ – tap it to adjust the options within.

2. Enable Updates – Under the ‘Automatic Downloads’ section, turn on ‘Updates’ and then they will download and install without you having to lift a finger as soon as they are released.

3. Don’t Use your Data – If you enable the Updates option, then make sure you also check that the ‘Use Mobile Data’ option is turned off so that auto downloads don’t eat into your data plan.

Updating All of your Mac Apps
The principles of updating apps remains the same on Mac, although the way to do so is slightly different. Here we show you how to manually update your apps or get it done behing the scenes automatically.

1. The Manual Way – Launch the App Store app and then click on the ‘Updates’ option at the top of the interface. Any app updates will be listed here, so click on the ‘Update’ button next to any app you want.

2. Do it Automatically – To automatically update your apps, go to System Preferences>App Store, click on the padlock in the lower- left corner and then enter your administrator’s password.

3. Tick the Right Boxes – You can now tick the boxes, as required, that relate to the updates. For example, ticking “install App Updates’ will ensure that updates will be installed as soon as they come out.

Important Mac Shortcuts
1.Quit Applications (Cmd+Q) – It’s not good to have too many apps open at once as they may cause your Mac to run sluggishly as they compete for system resources. Simply clicking on the red dot in the top-left corner of an app window won’t work either as it won’t completely close down the app. The only way to be sure that an app is closed is by clicking on the app menu and choose ‘Quit’ – or by using this shortcut: “Cmd+Q”

2. Copy & Paste (Cmd+C, Cmd+V) – Probably the most-used duo of shortcuts on the Mac! These shortcuts work in any app and allow you to instantly copy content to your Mac’s clipboard and paste it into other apps. You can also toss in the ‘cut’ command too (Cmd+X) to give yourself the Holy Trinity of Apple shortcuts. We honestly don’t think that a day goes by without us using these ones – they will serve you well.
3. Force-quit (Cmd+Opt+Esc) – Occasionally your Mac apps may stop responding and attempting the ‘quit applications’ shortcut proves fruitless. If this is the case, then you can try force-quitting apps by using this shortcut. When pressed, a small window will appear listing all of the currently active apps – simply select the unresponsive one and then click on the ‘Force Quit’ button to close it down completely.

Get Instant Word Suggestions on Mac
Apps such as Text Edit and Notes have a clever built-in feature that is rather akin to iOS in that they can try to predict the next word that you want to write to save you the time of actually writing it. To implement this feature on your Mac, simply start writing a word and then press Opt+Esc. A list of possible words will now be presented and you can just click on the intended word to save you having to write out the rest of it.

Sure, in the time it takes to press the keyboard shortcut and pick the word, you could have probably finsihsed typing it yourself, but if you are unsure of the spelling, then this feature can be a big help.

Going Private on Mac
There may be times when you don’t want to leave footprints of your web activity, especially if other people use your Mac. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to cover your tracks.

You can open a new private window in Safari by going to File>New Private Window or using the Shift+Cmd+t keyboard shortcut. Any tabs that you open in this window will be private and leave no record in your history when closed.

Mary’s X Files, May 2018

Make Full Use of your Spotlight on Mac
1. Check Weather – If you want a quick weather report for your local area, then just type ‘weather’ intoSpotlight and you’ll get a ten-day forecast.

2. Check Flights – For holidays, if you want the latest flight information, then type in your flight number. It can also handle currency conversions.

3. Define Words – Rather than going to websites like, you can type in any word preceded by ‘define’ to get a definition.

Finding Local Businesses
What’s impressive about Spotlight on iOS is that it is linked with other apps, such as Maps, so that when you search for a specific place, like a local business, you can get essential info and even directions instantly.
1. Start Searching – Swipe to access Spotlight and then enter the name of a local business into the search field and press ‘Search’.

2. Tap Result – Results will appear as you type. Tap on the results under the ‘Maps’ category for a pop-up information box.

3. Get Directions – As well as opening hours and the address, you can also tap ‘Directions’ to be taken straight to the business.

Fix Bluetooth Connections on Mac
Bluetooth can be a fickle technology and from time to time, you may experience connection problems. With so many wireless technologies floating around near you Mac, it is understandable that problems may occur, but there is an easy fix that will cure almost all connectivity problems every single time and it only takes a few seconds of your time to complete, as we will not demonstrate.
1. Find the Offender – Go to System Preferences and click the ‘Bluetooth’ icon to see every previously connected device listed. Find the one that is failing to connect an click the ‘x’.

2. Forget the Device – Click “Forget Device’ and it will be removed from the list which should resolve whatever the software problem was that was causing the failed connections in the past.

3. Time to Pair – You can now go through the process of paing the device again and the problem should be resolved. If it isn’t, there may be a hardware problem in the device, itself.

Why Won’t My Mac Start Up?
There are few things more concerning than not being able to start your Mac properly. You may see a blue screen which is legendary in the fear it invokes or you may see error messages, but either way you will want to do what you can to bring back a smooth startup process in the future. The first thing to try is starting up in Safe Mode which will strip down the processes used to the bare minimum and which is more likely to put you in a position where you can begin to fix the problems.

With your Mac powered down, turn on your Mac as normal and then press and hold the Shift key. Release Shift when the Apple logo appears and wait for macOS to boot in the new Safe Mode. You may need to log in as normal, but when done you will now be in Safe Mode for the duration of the session. If you use the ‘Restart’ option you will return to normal mode when it restarts again which gives you the chance to fix the problem first.