Mary’s X Files, August 2014

How to lock focus in the Camera app for iPhone and iPad
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
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
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
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
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.

Mary’s X Files, July 2014

How to create a shopping list in the Reminders app and add items with Siri
1. Launch the Reminders app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Tap the plus sign by New List at the top.
3. Title it Shopping.
4. Pick a different label color if you’d like and then tap Done in the upper right hand corner.
5. Now press and hold the Home but- ton on your iPhone or iPad to launch Siri.
6. Say something like “Add bread to my shopping list.” — you can obviously replace bread with whatever item you’d like.
7. Tap Confirm to add your item.

How to get Siri to add reminders to specific lists
1. Press and hold the Home button on your iPhone or iPad to launch Siri.
2. Say something like “”Add bread to my shopping list.”
3. Siri will show you a summary of the reminder and confirm the list it’ll be added to. If something looks wrong, tap the text to edit it, or start over.
4. Once everything looks right, tap Confirm and Siri will add the reminder to the list specified.

Remember too that if you have already created a reminder and confirmed it, just say “Move it to my shopping list.” or something similar and Siri can then move a confirmed reminder you just created to another list.

How to share your shopping list with iCloud
Sharing your shopping list with others in your house makes it incredibly easy to make sure nothing gets forgotten at the store. Just remind them to add anything they need before you head out to do your shopping. After you share your list, iCloud will sync all changes between both of your iPhones and iPads so you see what each other adds and ticks off in real time.

Unfortunately Reminders lists can’t yet be shared right from your iPhone or iPad, so for this step, you’ll need to open a web browser.

1. Go to from any web browser.
2. Log in to your iCloud account that contains the list you want to share.
3. Click on the Reminders icon once you’re logged in.
4. In the left hand navigation, click on the share icon next to the reminders list you’d like to share — in this case, the Shopping list.
5. Type in the iCloud email of the person you’d like to share the shopping list with and click Done.

That’s it! The person on the receiving end will receive a notification that you’ve shared a list with them and they’ll be able to accept it right on their iPhone or iPad. Once they do, both of you will have easy access to adding and checking off items in your shopping list! You can repeat this process any time you want to share a list with anyone.

Use Quick Look to create an instant slideshow from your photos
Did you know that OS X has a handy feature for easily previewing a bunch photos in a slideshow format? It’s a basic slideshow with no option to add music, but it is perfect if you want to quickly show a handful of your photos to your friends or family.

1. To use Quick Look to create a slideshow, you must first open Finder and select the photos you want to add to a slideshow.
2. Press the space bar on your keyboard to open all the photos in Quick Look with the first image displayed in the window.
3. Use the arrows in the Quick Look window or use your keyboard’s left and right arrow keys to navigate between the photos.
4. Switch between an index view of the photos and a slideshow view by clicking the button to the right of the arrows, or pressing Command-Return.

How to use Reader mode in Safari to simplify web pages for reading
It doesn’t take long to get annoyed by ads and images that clutter your reading space when you are trying to digest a long-form article on your iPhone or iPad. To clear your reading space and bring focus to the words on the page, you can activate Reader mode in mobile Safari in a single tap. When browsing a compatible web page, you can easily remove this distracting content by tapping the line- style icon in the left corner of the URL bar. This will enable Safari Reader, which removes all advertisements and extra images in the article’s content. You will be left with a single column of easy-to-read words. If you want to go back to the original webpage, just tap the icon again.

The biggest drawback to this Reader feature is that it is not available on all web pages.


Mary’s X Files, June 2014

Mac 101: How to scroll quickly through a web page or long document
When you are reading a long document that does not have a text entry field, you can use the space bar to scroll quickly down the document. The space bar will jump you down the page in large increments and is a much faster method of scrolling than the page-down arrow, which moves you in smaller increments. When you reach the bottom of a document, you can use the shift-space bar combination to move back up the document in an equally quick manner.

The only caveat is the space bar option does not work when the document has a text entry field as you need the space bar to add spaces between your words. As a result, you cannot use this trick when you are writing a long blog post in a web page editor or using a desktop text editor to modify a long document. It works perfectly, though, when you are reading a long webpage or browsing a PDF in Preview.

How to edit Siri questions and commands on iPhone and iPad
1. Launch Siri by on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Dictate a request.
3. Scroll up to view the text you’ve spoken if it isn’t on the screen already.
4. Tap on the text you spoke in order to edit it.
5. Change anything you’d like and then hit Done on the bottom right of the keyboard.

Siri will re-process your request and give you new answers or results. In some cases, certain names and places can be frustrating and it’s much easier to correct one word than manually search for something in Safari or through your device. Just simply correct what Siri doesn’t understand.

How to pan and zoom in the Quick Look app on your Mac
1. Click on the file you’d like to use Quick Look on to highlight it and hit the space bar to trigger Quick Look.
2. Once the Quick Look Window opens, hold down the alt – option key on your Mac’s keyboard.
3. While holding down the alt – option key scroll around or zoom in and out.

That’s all there is to it. It’s somewhat of a hidden feature in Quick Look and one that one of our writers stumbled upon a while back on accident.

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.

How to redeem a gift card with the App Store app on iPhone and iPad
1. Launch the App Store app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Tap on the Featured tab in the bottom navigation if you aren’t there already.
3. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Featured page.
4. Tap on the Redeem button.
5. You may be asked to sign into your iTunes ID, do that now.
6. Tap on Use Camera.
7. Align the code on the back of the card so the camera can see it. It should automatically grab it. 8. That’s it, your balance should now reflect the gift card.

How to redeem a gift card with the iTunes app on iPhone and iPad
1. Launch the iTunes app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Scroll down to the bottom of any page except the search page.
3. Tap on the Redeem button.
4. You may be asked to sign into your iTunes ID, do that now.
5. Tap on Use Camera.
6. Align the code on the back of the card so the camera can see it. It should automatically grab it.
7. That’s it, your balance should now reflect the gift card.

Get 53+ High Quality Mac & Apple Hardware Icons Right in OS X
Here’s the path to where these icons are located:


Mary’s X Files, May 2014

Low-power mode for
It’s possible to save power when using Maps to navigate in a car. It’s an obvious trick once you know about it, and easy too.

When you’re navigating with the Maps app, you’re probably used to it chewing through battery life. Even on a full charge my iPhone 5 doesn’t last more than 2-3 hours when navigating.

To eke out extra life, just press the Sleep button (top of the phone), once you’re on your way and are on a long stretch before the next turn/navigation point (i.e. on a freeway for 50 miles). The screen will blank, but the navigation will continue. The phone will briefly wake 10 miles from your next turn/navigation point, to tell you about it, and will wake 2 miles from it and stay awake until you get past it.

To switch back to non-power-saving mode, just swipe as usual to wake the phone. To be honest this doesn’t save a huge amount of battery life in my tests, but it’s better than nothing. For long journeys,you really need a USB power source such as those that fit into cigarette lighter sockets.

Adjust the volume or brightness in smaller increments
Recent MacBook Pro and Air models have a wonderful keyboard that allows you to quickly adjust the volume of the system and the brightness of either your display or backlit keyboard. When you tap these brightness buttons, the levels are adjusted in single increments between 0 and 16. This is useful, but what if you want finer control over your volume or brightness level?

Apple has provided a way on most recent versions of OS X to adjust the volume and the brightness levels in quarter increments using the Option+Shift keys. Just use the following combinations to make these finer changes:

  • Option+Shift+Volume Up/Down
  • Option+Shift+Display Brightness Up/Down
  • Option+Shift+Backlit Brightness Up/Down


The volume and display adjustments are easily heard and seen as you change them, while the backlit changes are much more subtle.

These keyboard tricks are available on OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion and earlier. It was disabled for a short time in OS X Lion between version OS X 10.7 and OS X 10.7.3, but you can use an AppleScript to achieve a similar effect. These keyboard combinations were restored in OS X 10.7.4.

For brightness levels, there also is an auto-brightness feature that automatically adjust levels based on your ambient light levels. You view the settings for the display by opening the Apple menu > System Preferences. Then click on the Displays pane, and then click on the tab for Display. Select the option to turn on/off ambient light sensing.

The keyboard backlit option is similar, just go to Apple menu > System Preferences. Then click on the Keyboard pane, and then click on the tab for Keyboard. elect the option to turn on/off ambient light sensing.

How to make exported iPhoto image titles “sticky”
Reader Ed Dorroh, like many people, is perplexed by what goes on when moving images out of iPhoto. He writes:

“When I add a title to a photo in iPhoto and then drag that photo to the desktop, the file name reverts back to its original name—“IMG_0697.jpg” for example. Is there any way to title a photo in iPhoto and make it “stick” when I export it?”

There is, and you’ve unwittingly uttered the key word—export. As you’ve observed, when you drag a file from iPhoto to the desktop it retains its original file name. In the case of images that were originally in the JPEG or PNG formats, it also retains those formats. Raw images are converted to JPEG images. Any metadata you’ve attached to an image—title and description, for example—are lost.

Use a properly configured Export command to copy images with their titles and other metadata.

However, if you instead use the Export command (File > Export) you can choose to export images with this information. Choose that command and in the resulting Export window make sure the File Export tab is selected and from the File Name pop-up menu choose Use title. If you’d additionally like to embed title, keyword, and location metadata in the image, enable the appropriate checkboxes. When everything’s configured to your liking, click on Export. Selected images will be exported and each will bear the title you’ve assigned to it.

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.