Mary’s X Files, November 2015

How to Use the Slideshow Feature in Photos
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
There’s a little know feature of Photos called Slideshow. You can visit any album in Photos and play the Slideshow. There are different picture display options, you can assign your own music, and change Slideshow speed. You can even Airplay your slideshow to a device such as Apple TV.

  1. To use the Slideshow feature, open Photos.
  2. I recommend selecting the individual Photos when using Slideshow, but it will also work with any album.
  3. Select a photo to begin. Tap the Share button and select Slideshow.
  4. It will immediately begin to play. If you’d like to change the display of pictures, music accompaniment, or speed tap Options. Tap Done once you’ve made your choice.

If you’d like to Airplay the slideshow on your Apple TV, tap the Airplay icon in the upper right corner and select Apple TV.

Quickly Locate Pointer in El Capitan
You can quickly locate the pointer just by shaking it. This enlarges it temporarily to help you spot it on a busy or large desktop. If you find it annoying, perhaps because you fidget with your mouse or trackpad, the behaviour can be disabled by turning off ‘Shake mouse pointer to locate’ in System Preferences > Accessibility > Display.

Set Up contextual Reminders with Siri in iOS 9
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
Setting reminders for yourself on your iPhone has never been easier. With iOS 9, Siri has received a major intelligence boost and is capable of understanding terms such as “it” or “this,” which means you can now ask Siri to set a contextual reminder based on what you are looking at on your iPhone screen.

For example, If a friend invites you to dinner via text message and you want to make sure you don’t forget to reply when you get home from work, while viewing the message, ask Siri to “create a reminder for this.”

Text Insertion on iPad in iOS 9 Just Got Easier
Hold two fingers on the on-screen keyboard and the keys become greyed out. A blue vertical bar appears at the insertion point’s current location, and you can move it like you would with a mouse or trackpad on a computer by sliding both fingers around the screen; the insertion point will follow. Lift your fingers to finish.

Hide the Menu Bar in El Capitan
In El Capitan, you can hide and unhide the menu bar, just like you can with the Dock. Go to System Preferences>General and tick ‘Automatically hide and show the menu bar’. Now, hover over it to see it.

Perform Calculations in iOS 9 Search Bar
You needn’t dig around for the iPhone’s Calculator app to perform basic arithmetic because you can run numbers in Spotlight Search, just like in OS X. An added bonus is that it works on iPad too, even though that device lacks the Calculator app. Type a calculation into the search bar, using * for multiply and / for divide. Try using common functions too – for example, sqrt(144).

How to enable the three-finger drag gesture in OS X El Capitan
One of the first things that I do on a new OS X install is adjust the trackpad and mouse settings to my liking. I absolutely love using things like tap to click and the three finger drag gesture.

Imagine my horror when I could no longer find the three finger drag gesture as an option in System Preferences. It’s simply no longer in the place where it usually is: System Preferences > Trackpad. Well as it turns out, things aren’t so grim as they at first seemed.

Apple moved the three finger drag gesture option to another location, although the move doesn’t make a lot of sense if you ask me. In this post, I’ll show you how to enable the three finger drag gesture on OS X El Capitan.

How to enable the three finger drag on OS X 10.11
Step 1: Open System Preferences
Step 2: Click Accessibility
Step 3: Click Mouse & Trackpad
Step 4: Click Trackpad Options…
Step 5: Click Enable dragging
Step 6: Select “three finger drag” in the drop down box

Not only does the three finger drag gesture allow you to move around windows and other desktop items, it also allows you to select text. It’s an absolutely instrumental gesture for trackpad users and I honestly have no idea why Apple would have buried the option so deep in its settings.

Mary’s X Files, October 2015

Compare with the Original in Photos on Mac
When you’re making complex edits, it’s always good to refer back to the original file. Hold down M on your keyboard to move back and forward between versions.

Don’t be Afraid to Experiment when Editing in Photos on Mac
Editing in Photos on the Mac is non-destructive, which means you can undo anything you don’t like the look of. The Revert to Original and Reset Adjustments options are always there to fall back on.

Share your Mac Screen Easily
Got a family member struggling to grasp some technical issues on their Mac? Well, you can use Messages to quickly initiate Screen Sharing mode with anyone using OS X 10.10 and above. Once activated, you can use your mouse to control their Mac’s screen and highlight the necessary areas. Messages also automatically loads up audio chat to help the proceedings, too.

Easily Start Screen Sharing in OS X Using Messages
- Open the Messages app in OS X if you haven’t done so yet
- From any conversation window in messages, click on the “Details” button in the upper right corner
- Click on the two overlapping boxes to see the screen sharing options – if it’s dark blue, you can start a screen sharing session, if it’s light blue, the option will not be clickable because the user does not have a proper version of Messages setup on their Mac
- Choose “Invite to share my screen” to share your own Mac screen with the message recipient, or “Ask to share screen” to request access to the other users display through screen sharing

When the screen sharing session begins, their desktop will open in a new window over your current desktop, it will resize to fit if your screen or their resolution are different:

Additionally, a screen sharing icon will appear in the Mac menu bar indicating a session is open.

If you’re sharing your own desktop this way, no additional window will open, but the menu baricon will demonstrate that screen sharing is active.

You can terminate the screen sharing session at any time through the menu bar item, by closing the screen sharing window, or by closing the active Messages window.

As already mentioned, screen sharing is possible in all versions of Mac OS X that are even somewhat modern, it’s just this specific means of initiating a screen share through the Messages app that is new and limited to Macs with OS X 10.10 and newer.

Recalibrate Your Watch
If you’re using your Apple Watch as a fitness companion, you’ll want accurate readings. In Location Services>System Services on your iPhone, check the Motion Calibration option.

Jump into Editing in Photos on Mac
To access the editing view, normally you click the Edit button when viewing an image, but there’s a better way: simply press the Return key. This shortcut also works in the Moments view when a photo is selected.

Keep Siri from Mixing Up Events and Reminders
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
It can be really handy to use Siri to create events and reminders — so much faster than opening the app and doing it manually. However, you need to be careful how you word your request, because Siri will sometimes mix things up: creating an event when you wanted a reminder, and vice versa.

To ensure that you get a Calendar event, begin your request by using the verb “schedule,” such as “Schedule my haircut for Monday at 11 a.m.” Siri will reply, “OK, I set up your event for Monday. Shall I schedule it?” And then you’re presented with your Calendar appointment and have the opportunity to confirm or cancel.

To ensure that you get a Reminder, begin your request by using the verb “remind,” such as “Remind me at 10:30 on Monday to go to my haricut.” Siri will reply, “OK, I’ll remind you” and will show you your reminder.

Note that the Calendar app does allow you to set an alert prior to an event, but you can’t create Calendar alerts with Siri.

Mary’s X Files, September 2015

Diagnose Problems with Activity Monitor
Activity Monitor may look complicated at first glance, but it’s a utility app that is worth getting to know. The app shows the processes, often hidden in the background, that are running on your Mac, so you can see how they affect your Mac’s performance. Activity Monitor should therefore always be your first port of call when your Mac isn’t behaving the way it should. Open Activity Monitor and you’ll be able to see apps that are using the most CPU, memory or battery.

Make Recurring Events in Calendar
Instead of having to manually enter a new entry into your calendar for repeated events, let the app do the work for you. Create an entry, select the Repeat option and choose how often you want it to repeat.

Save an Attachment in Messages
When you receive an attachment that you’d like to save to your device, you’ll first need to long-press on it. A new Save option will now appear for you to finish the process.

How to Use iPad-Only Gestures
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
We’re all familiar with the one-finger swipe and the two-finger pinch, but if you have an iPad, you may want to consider using all five fingers. Since iOS 5, Apple has added new gestures that make multitasking and navigating between apps more seamless than ever before. These gestures make it easy to see which apps are active, swipe between them, and quickly return to the Home screen.

First, make sure the function Multitasking Gestures is enabled. Go to Settings.

Select General and find Multitasking Gestures; turn on.

Five-finger Pinch: As though to gather a sheet with an open hand, place all five fingers on the iPad screen and ‘”grab” away. Doing this at any point will immediately take you to the Home screen.

Four-finger Swipe Up: If you haven’t already discovered your multitasking bar (also accessible by two clicks of the home button), I highly recommend you do. Holding four fingers to the screen, swipe up to display the multitasking bar. From here you can swipe left and right to view currently active or recent applications (pro-tip: from the multitask bar, quickly swipe up to close an app.) Swipe four fingers down to hide the bar.

Four-finger swipe left/right: My favorite addition is the four-finger swipe left/right. This allows you to slide between active applications without opening the multitasking bar. Place four fingers on the screen and “turn the page.” I love this because it allows me to shuffle between email, writing documents, open browsers, and more.

Remove “Sent from my iPhone” from Your Email Signature
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
The default signature in iOS Mail is “Sent from my iPad” or “Sent from my iPhone.” But while some people may be happy to declare what device they are using at the bottom of every email they send, others prefer to provide other information, such as the name of the sender and additional contact information.

To edit your iPhone’s default email signature, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Signature. Tapping on All Accounts will allow you to set one signature for all your email accounts. Tapping on Per Accounts will allow you to set different signatures for each individual account—which is handy if you use your iDevice for work and personal emails.

Tap on the default signature to edit it, and then delete the default text and type in the information you want to appear at the bottom of your emails instead.

Extend Edit Ranges in Photos for Mac
A funny thing happened one day when I accidentally pressed the Option key while editing a photo: The tick marks on several of the adjustment controls moved.

Many of the controls use a scale that ranges from –1.00 to +1.00, with the image’s original value sitting in the middle at zero. The Exposure control, for example, darkens the image significantly at –1.00, but doesn’t turn it black. When you hold Option, that range changes to between –2.00 and +2.00, letting you darken the photo even more (or go the other direction and brighten a dark photo).

This feature is also useful when you’re looking for more pop or an extreme treatment for a drab photo. With the Option key held, however, one can push that higher and get a more dramatic effect.


Mary’s X Files, August 2015

Show full URL in Safari
~ Mac Tips, Tricks & Hacks
By default, Safari’s address bar, or Smart Search bar to give it its full title, only shows the first part of a URL (web address). This is fine most of the time, but not great if you like to use the URL as a reference in order to identify exactly where you are on a site. To change this setting, go to Preferences in Safari and then click on Advanced. Now click the check box next to ‘Show full website address’. The address bar will now display the full URL of each webpage.

Share your screen in Messages
~ Mac Tips, Tricks & Hacks
There are occasions when allowing other people to see your screen, or being able to see the screen of the person you’re chatting to, is very useful. If you’re training someone, for example, or providing technical support, seeing the same screen helps a great deal. When you’re in the application “Messages” on your Mac, click on “Details” and then click the leftmost icon next to your contact’s name. Choose whose screen to share: yours or theirs. They’ll get a notification request. If they accept, you will both see the screen until you end either the conversation or the screen-sharing session.

Take Vertical Panoramic Photos
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
Panoramic photos are great for capturing an expanded view of a beautiful landscape. Typically, this is done by moving your iPhone from left to right or right to left as you take the photo in Pano mode. But what about when you want to capture a shot of something really tall, like a tree, for example, or even the Eiffel Tower? Well, you’ll be excited to hear that you can take vertically oriented panoramic photos with your iPhone too!

Taking a vertical panoramic photo is simple. Just hold your phone horizontally and tap on the yellow line to choose whether you will move your phone up or down as you take the picture.

With any luck, you’ll now be able to get your entire subject into your shot.

See the Exact Battery Power Percentage Your iPhone Has Left
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
Do you always measure ingredients exactly when following a recipe? Do you say things like, “According to my pedometer app, I’ve walked 3.8 miles today.”? Do you use decimals when filling out your weight on medical forms?

If you do, you’ll be happy to know you can also quantify exactly how much battery power your iPhone has left.

Simply go to Settings > General > Usage and toggle Battery Percentage on. The battery percentage will now appear to the left of your battery icon.

And just like that, the nagging discomfort of not knowing exactly how much battery power your iPhone has will be eliminated.

Now you can go around saying things like, “My iPhone’s battery charge is down to 22 percent; time to plug it in.”

Customise your System Preferences
~Mac Tips, Tricks & Hacks
System Preferences is home to all of the inner workings of your Mac, but if you don’t use all of the panes on offer, why display them? By clicking on the View menu, you can choose the Customize option, which will place tick boxes next to all of the panes, so simply deselect the ones you don’t need. From the same menu, you can also choose to view your System Preferences panes alphabetically.

Access your System Preferences options quickly
~Mac Tips, Tricks & Hacks
If you know the pane you need, then this trick will save you time It takes a few seconds to launch System Preferences, plus a couple more to locate the pane you need, but you can save time simply by right-clicking on the System Preferences icon in your Dock. Doing so will make a pop-up menu appear, displaying all of your preferences as a list – so simply select the one you want and it will launch System Preferences and simultaneously open the pane that you need.

Mary’s X Files, July 2015

How to Use Mac Help from an Application

  1. Select Help from the Menu bar.
  2. Type the subject you’re trying to find help about in the Search field.
  3. The contents will change per application. Some apps provide complete user manuals and reference guides; others show you shortcut lists or provide links to helpful web resources.

Jump directly to your drafts
If you’ve ever saved an unfinished message as a draft in the iOS Mail app, you’ll know what a pain it is to dig it back up. You need to back out of the universal All Inboxes screen, select an account, then tap the Drafts folder—and if you choose the wrong account, you’ll have to back up and try again.

There’s an easier way of finding your Mail drafts than poking around the Drafts folders of your various email accounts.

Instead of poking around the folders of your various mail accounts, try this: tap and hold the Compose button (the square with the little pencil in the bottom corner of the screen).

When you do, a list of all your draft message across all your Mail accounts will appear.

How to force quit a stuck app on your Mac
Ordinarily, Mac apps are very well behaved, but everyone once in a while something can go wrong — horribly wrong — and the app will stop responding to any input. Sometimes if you give the Mac a few moments to recover, you’ll get back cursor or input control and you’ll be able to quit. But if you can’t, there’s a built-in feature in OS X to help — it’s called Force Quit, and it’s only a click away.

  1. Click on the  menu.
  2. Select Force Quit. (Alternately, you can press the command, option and escape keys on your keyboard.)
  3. The Force Quit Applications dialogue will appear and show all open applications. (Typically if one has stopped working, you’ll see “Not responding” appear next to the application name.)
  4. Select the name of the app you’d like to quit.
  5. Click the Force Quit button.
  6. The Mac will ask you to confirm that you want to quit the application, with a reminder that you may lose any unsaved changes in any open documents in that app. Click Force Quit to quit or Cancel to resume.

Turn Off Cellular Data to Avoid Charges when Traveling
~iPhone Tip of the Day
Say you’re taking a trip abroad or somewhere else outside your carrier’s service area. You can turn on your phone and use Wi-fi when you’re near a connection, but what if you leave your phone on when you leave the hotel? There’s a simple way to avoid roaming charges when you’re traveling, and it lives in your iPhone settings (this tip also applies to cellular models of iPads).

Go to Settings > Cellular.

In the Cellular menu, you can prevent your iPhone from using any cellular data at all by toggling Cellular Data off. This is ideal for international traveling. For domestic travel, you can also toggle Data Roaming off for those times when you go out of your service area without realizing it. It’s that simple.

Place Calls Directly from Call Reminder Notifications
~iPhone Tip of the Day
If you need to call someone, but it’s not convenient to place the call right now, you can use the Reminders app to help you remember to make the call later. If you use Siri to create the call reminder, you’ll be able to call the person directly from the reminder notification.

To create a call reminder, activate Siri by holding down the Home button and saying something like, “Remind me to call my husband at 11:45 a.m.”

When you receive the reminder to call your husband, slide the notification to the left and tap Call. Siri will dial his number without you having to open the phone app. It’s just like having a personal assistant to dial the phone for you.

Dictate your Mail message
If you’re behind the wheel or otherwise have your hands tied, you can still compose and send Mail messages from your iPhone or iPad. How? Just ask Siri.

Press and hold the Home key to launch Siri (or, if you’re using your headset, press and hold the center button on the in-line remote), then say something like “Compose an email to Michael Scott” (or just “to my boss,” if you’ve taught Siri your relationship to your contacts).

If you ask nicely, Siri will compose and send a mail message for you.

Siri will step you through the process of composing a Mail message, everything from verifying the right email address (if a contact has multiple addresses listed in their contact card) to writing a subject line and dictating the body of the message.

Once the message is all set, Siri can send it out herself once you give her the go-ahead.

Mary’s X Files, June 2015

How to view your purchased apps from the Mac App Store

  1. Open the Mac App Store.
  2. Click on the Purchases tab.
  3. All of the apps you’ve purchased or downloaded using the Apple ID you’re signed in with will appear in this list. The Mac App Store organizes that list by the date the app was purchased. The most recent apps you bought will appear at the top. All apps you currently have installed will show an Open button. If you’ve deleted apps you purchased, or if you are using a different Mac than the one you purchased the app from, the button will say Install instead.

How to Correct Siri With Typing Instead of Voice
~iPhone Tip of the Day
As anyone who has used to Siri to make calls, search the web, or send messages knows, Siri doesn’t always understand what you say. This can be followed by increasing frustration levels if Siri fails over and over to understand your voice corrections. But when Siri gets it wrong, you don’t have to repeat yourself. Instead, you can edit your query via typing.

Under the query text, tap on “tap to edit”.

This will bring up a keyboard and allow you to edit your request by typing instead of voice. When you are finished typing, tap “Done” and Siri will respond to the corrected request.

How To Make Speakerphone Calls Using Siri
~iPhone Life Tip of the Day
I have several hours of commute time every week and I don’t always have my phone’s Bluetooth headset with me. If I want to make a call that means one hand holding the phone and only one hand on the wheel while going 70 miles per hour down the highway. Um, I mean 65 miles per hour, which is the legal speed limit in Colorado.

That’s why I appreciate that with the new iOS 8.3 update you can now make speakerphone calls using Siri.

Simply tell Siri to call one of your contacts “using speakerphone” and Siri will initiate the call via speakerphone.

You can also use the “Hey, Siri” feature to wake Siri when your iPhone is plugged into a charger and start a phone call on speaker completely hands free. Just say “Hey, Siri, call (name of contact) using speakerphone.”

Extract an application icon in Preview
Preview can extract several sizes of an application’s icon as images. First, select the application wherever it lives in the Finder (say, in your Applications or Downloads folder) and then press Command-C to copy it to your clipboard. Next, press Command-N to create a new document in Preview and all the sizes of the application’s icon instantly appear as individual pages with transparency. To save a specific size as a new file, select the appropriate thumbnail and choose File > Export. To preserve the icon’s transparent background, choose PNG or TIFF for the file format in the resulting dialog box.

To extract an app’s icon, just select the app and press Command-C (top). When you create a new document in Preview, the icon instantly appears at multiple sizes with transparency (bottom).

How to Email More than 5 Photos at a Time
~iPhone Tip of the Day
You’re likely in the habit of sharing photos that you take with your iPhone or iPad. And you may have noticed that if you choose to share photos via email, you’re limited to selecting five photos at a time. However, you can use a clever trick to get around that limit.

To conveniently email more than five pictures at a time, open the Photos app, select All Photos or another album, and tap Select.

Then tap each photo you want to send.

Tap the Share icon.

Then choose Copy.

It will take a moment while your device prepares the photos for pasting.

Next, in the body of the email you’re composing, press and hold where you want to insert the photos to bring up the formatting menu and then tap Paste to insert the photos.

An optional approach is to simply insert each photo one at a time, though it’s a bit more tedious. Just press and hold in a blank space in the body of the email to bring up the formatting menu, tap the arrow, and then tap Insert Photo or Video to select the photos one at a time.

Keep in mind that some email service providers have a maximum attachment size that may limit the number of photos your recipient can receive. In this case, as you can see, the six photos I selected total 23.9 MB. My local Internet provider has a 20 MB limit.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

  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
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
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

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.