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Tips, Tricks, Apps Hacks The independent guide to mastering your Apple Mac Take full control of your Mac today

Improve your Mac productivity

Digital Edition


Change the way you use your Mac

Tweak your Mac with easy hacks

Get creative with photos and film

Streamline your workflow

Contents 8


Become a macOS genius


38 Contacts 40 Calendar 20 System Preferences 42 Maps 24 Finder 44 iTunes 26 Siri 46 Apple Music 28 Safari 48 App Store 30 Apple Pay 50 Notes 32 Mail 51 Reminders 34 Messages 52 Photos 36 FaceTime 54 iCloud

6 Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks

58 Mount, unmount and eject drives 60 Use Hot Corners in macOS 62 Window management made easy 64 Use Mail to mark up images 66 Collaborate on Notes with others 68 How new real-time collaboration works 70 Become a Messages expert in macOS 72 Organize your iTunes music library 74 Master the Faces feature in Photos


“Whether you’re a newcomer or a longtime Apple fanatic, we’re sure there’s plenty about macOS that you simply didn’t know” 60

“Get smarter with your Mac”


78 Customize your Mac’s menu bar 80 Secure files on a USB flash drive 82 Sync files between devices for free 84 Turn any Mac into an AirPlay receiver 86 Reclaim your valuable disk space


88 Boost the Mac’s clipboard with iPaste 90 Browse more securely with Opera 92 Create a handy drop- down calendar 94 Find images quickly using Places 96 Search your Photos library with Siri


Find images with Places


Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks 7

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

System Preferences Get accustomed to the nerve centre of your Mac, where you can change and personalize virtually any aspect of your computer System Preferences is the place you can go to in order to change virtually any aspect of your Mac’s inner workings and personalize your computer to meet your needs. Arranged in a grid, your Mac’s System Preferences consists of various panes which you can click to reveal a wide range of options that

relate to that particular aspect of your computer, such as Spotlight, Dock and Displays. As well as letting you change your desktop, alter your Mac’s color scheme and change the size of the Dock, you can also go to System Preferences to configure and manage your accounts. For example, you can manage your iCloud, add new email

or social media accounts, connect to your Wi-Fi network and share your computer’s services with other Macs on the same network. We advise taking time to get accustomed to the various options on offer in System Preferences, as they will help you get to know your Mac better, and smooth over the user experience to get your full money’s worth.

Your System Preferences

Search for options

Return to main screen

Third-party preferences

Your System Preferences will be neatly arranged into rows. Simply click on a pane to reveal the various options relating to the pane in question

If you are looking for a particular option or category but aren’t sure which pane will take you there, enter keywords into the Search field

While exploring the various panes within System Preferences, you can click on this grid button at any time to return to the main screen

The bottom row in the System Preferences grid is reserved for thirdparty apps and programs, such as Flash Player and Java Script

“Get to know your Mac better, and smooth over the user experience to get your full money’s worth” Create text shortcuts

Save time when typing frequent words and phrases If you go to the Keyboard pane and then click on the Text tab, you will be able to create your own text shortcuts. This means that if you regularly type the same words or phrases, you could save yourself a great deal of time by setting up a shortcut. Simply click on the ‘+’ icon

20 Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks

to add a new shortcut, then type in the chosen shortcut (a much shorter version of what you intend to type) followed by the actual text you want to type. This is also a useful feature for saving time filling in application forms that require your name, title and address.

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

Change your default web browser Check out the General pane for some interesting options

The General pane in System Preferences presents a few interesting options that are available to tweak. First, you can change the appearance of your Mac by picking a color scheme for the buttons, menus and windows. This is also the pane you go to in order to change your default web browser. If you have a favorite browser installed, select it from the menu and that browser will be launched by default every time you click on a link.

“Pick a color scheme for the buttons, menus and windows” Change your desktop background picture

Set your Mac to sleep

Personalize your Mac’s appearance

Make your Mac sleep when you go to sleep

By clicking on the Desktop & Screen Saver System Preferences pane, you will be able to change the desktop image on your Mac, as well as the screen saver. Use the column on the left to choose a location for the image that you want to use as your desktop. Then click on the image in question to set it as your background. You can choose from Apple’s own desktop images or choose a picture from your photo collection.

Our Macs can use quite a lot of power on a daily basis, which is why it’s important to put it to sleep while not in use. However, if you are called away from your desk unexpectedly then you may not think to put your Mac to sleep before leaving, which is why the Energy Saver pane is worth checking out. Here you can determine when your computer and the display winds down and goes to sleep after a predetermined period of inactivity.

Manage notifications

Determine how your apps alert you to new activity You can access your Mac’s Notification Center by clicking on the List icon to the far right of your menu bar. You have the freedom to decide which apps are featured within this column and which apps ping up notifications on your screen when a new activity occurs. Click on the Notifications pane within System Preferences and then click on an app in the left-hand column. You can now choose the way all notifications for that app are presented.

Configure your mouse

Ensure that your mouse works in exactly the way you want it to To control your Mac, you will either use a trackpad or a mouse. However, everyone likes their mouse to perform differently, with varying tracking speeds, scrolling speeds and more. This pane allows you to not only personalize how your mouse performs, but also assign key tasks to the buttons. For example, you can use the secondary button to bring up Mission Control, Spotlight or your Dashboard. You can also set up a Bluetooth mouse here.

“You can assign key tasks to the buttons on your mouse”

Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks 21

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

iTunes Navigate the latest version of iTunes and learn how you can get your hands on thousands of tracks and movies iTunes has changed a great deal in the last few years – in fact, it’s one of the most regularly updated apps on the Mac, with each update tweaking the user interface to make it more useable. Guaranteeing the best possible experience, the latest version makes it easier to navigate through huge music libraries to find the

tracks you want – great for those with tens of thousands of tracks on their Macs. Of course, if you’re more interested in Apple Music and the associated bonuses of the subscription service, iTunes is the place to be. Here you can check out the latest music, get recommendations based on your current


listening habits, and peek behind the scenes with all your favorite artists. Thanks to iTunes Store, this app is also your one-stop shop for TV, Movies and Audiobooks. And with iCloud, all of your purchases are made available on each of your devices, meaning you can transfer a movie to your iPad easily.

Up Next

You can open up the Miniplayer by clicking the album artwork in the top toolbar. Scroll over it to view Control Options, and click to collapse it to just a bar

Click on the list icon to bring up your ‘Up Next’ list – a kind of on-the-fly playlist. You can also view your recent history and display lyrics by clicking on the respective tabs

The sidebar has returned

Album info

The sidebar is back in the latest version of iTunes – although you can always hide it again by using an option within the View menu if you wish to

Click on this icon to add a song to your ‘Up Next’ list, like it, dislike it, delete it from your library and source the album artwork, among various other things

“With iCloud, all of your purchases are made available on each of your devices, so you can transfer a movie to your iPad easily” Behind the scenes

Get to know your favorite artists iTunes Connect is a relatively new concept, but it’s fantastic for those who want to get that little bit closer to their favorite bands and musicians. The system allows you to follow favorite artists, and get regular updates from them when there are new tracks or just behind-

44 Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks

the-scenes video clips, photos or posts. Under the ‘For You’ section, simply click on the ‘Connect’ tab followed by ‘Find More Artists and Curators’. You can then decide which artists to follow in order to get news updates beamed to this very section of the iTunes app.

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

Resize album artwork

Change your view in List mode When you’re viewing your own music library, you can now choose to view your Albums or Artists in List View. This puts album artwork on the left, and the tracks list on the right. Click View>Show View Options in the menubar and pick your preference. Or, if you’d prefer, you could opt to change the size of the icons using the newly added menu. Adjust the slider until you’re happy with the size of the artwork – and even select how you want your albums to be ordered using the same menu.

“You can change the size of the icons using the newly added menu” Train iTunes

Music everywhere

Apple Music works by learning which tracks you love and tailoring its suggestions based on these selections. You can manually Like tracks by clicking the heart button next to them in the Apple Music pages, but you can also easily Like a song by clicking the heart in the top toolbar. Every selection you make will be analyzed by Apple Music, and the recommendations in the For You section will change if the tracks are radically different to your current selections.

If you’re having a party and want the same track to play through Airplay speakers in every room of your house, you simply can’t do it using your iPhone. On a Mac, however, it can be set up in just a few clicks. In iTunes, click the AirPlay icon in the top toolbar and choose the Multiple tab. You can then check the boxes for all your connected speakers, hit Play, and voila! You can even control the volume for each individual speaker to craft the perfect party environment.

Tell iTunes what you like in order to discover new artists

Use multiple AirPlay speakers and control the volume

Edit the sidebar

Customize the iTunes sidebar to suit you If you’re happy about the return of the iTunes sidebar, but want to make your experience a little more personalized, you’ll be glad to hear that you can customize the interface to suit your needs. Hover your cursor over the Word Library and click the Edit button, then check and uncheck the boxes to suit your preferences. When you’re happy with your options, click Done in the top-right corner. This makes it really easy to tailor each Mac so it’s individually suited to its user.

Queue it up

Create a short-term playlist Apple’s ‘Up Next’ menu is sort of like a playlist that isn’t saved and can be edited on the fly. It’s great if you want to hear the end of an album before playing the next tracks on your wish list. Select some music to play, then click the ‘…’ button next to any other album or track. Choose ‘Add To Up Next’ to play it after the current selection has finished. You can view the ‘Up Next’ list from the top toolbar. This is a great feature for parties, allowing guests to add their favorite songs to the mix without interrupting the host’s tracks.

“Hear the end of an album before playing the next tracks on your wish list”

Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks 45

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

Use Mail to mark up images

Annotate images that you send in the Mail app using the built-in mark-up features If you send images to people using the Mail app, you might want to annotate them first. And the good news is that you don’t need a separate image-editing app for this purpose as everything you need is in the Mail app. You can use the Markup extension in macOS to annotate images. It is a brilliant feature, but we will take this a step further and show you how to use the Markup tool to annotate maps and send them by email. You might want to point out the location of your home, your work, landmarks or meeting places for example. It is a great way to combine Maps’ sharing features with Mail’s Markup tool. Have fun exploring these two features!

Mail’s image mark-up tools Get to know the mark-up tools in Mail Shapes and arrows Click the toolbar buttons to access the mark-up tools. This one displays a palette of lines and arrows, rectangles, circles, speech bubbles and polygons. The line thickness and color is set using the other buttons

Add a signature A signature can be added to the image by clicking this button. The signature must be created in the Preview app before it can be used by these mark-up tools though. Go to Tools>Annotate>Signature

Freehand drawing The Sketch tool enables you to draw freehand on the image. Click the mouse or tap and draw with a finger on the trackpad. Set the color and line thickness using the corresponding icons in the toolbar

macOS Extensions

Where do these mark-up tools come from? They are not actually specific to the Mail app and they are macOS extensions. To see all the extensions installed on your Mac, open System Preferences and click ‘Extensions’. Markup is in the Actions and Photos categories. Apps you install may add extra extensions to the list and they can be very useful

64 Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks

Format the text Click this button to open the text formatting palette. From here you can set the font and size of the text, select the color and bold, italic or underline. Left, center and right alignment is available

Tips | Tricks | Hacks


Mark up maps in Mail

1 Share a map

2 Address the email

3 Set the size

4 Show the menu

5 Use Markup tools

6 Add arrows/shapes

7 Add text

8 Edit the text

9 Send the email

Open the Maps app and find a location you want to share. It can be a standard map, a satellite view or a 3D view like this one here. Click the Share button and select ‘Mail’.

Move the mouse over the image and a small arrow appears in the top-right corner. Click it to show the menu and then click ‘Markup’. Other macOS extensions may appear here.

Click the ‘T’ icon to add titles and captions to the image. It places the word ‘TEXT’ in the middle of the image. Click the color chip in the toolbar to choose a color.

The Mail app opens and a new message is created automatically. The Maps view is inserted into the email as an image. Enter the email recipients in the ‘To’ box at the top.

The image, a map in this case, opens in a new window and along the top is the Markup toolbar. If it looks familiar to you, it is. The tools are the mark-up functions in Preview.

Click the word ‘TEXT’ and then type in the text to be added to the image. We lined it up with the arrow to show a meeting point and this is just one example of its use.

When an image is inserted into an email, the Image Size menu can be used to choose the dimensions. Select the one you want. Look at the Message Size to see the email size.

Click the shapes button in the toolbar and then click the arrow icon. Click and drag the arrow to position it on the map. You might want to point to or highlight something.

Click the ‘Done’ button and the annotated image is inserted back into the email and it is ready to send. The Markup menu can be used to edit it some more or you can send it.

Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks 65

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

Customize your Mac’s menu bar

Fill the menu bar with highly useful tools and information

BitBar is an interesting utility that enables you to put tools in the menu bar in macOS. It does nothing on its own, but plugins can be installed that then appear in the menu bar. Various plug-ins are available at the BitBar website ( and elsewhere, such as GitHub ( Some plug-ins perform useful tasks, like showing whether the macOS firewall is on or off and if Stealth mode is enabled. They can display the weather, network information like your IP address, conversion rates and much more. There are lots of plug-ins available to fulfil a range of different needs, so let’s explore how to use them.

BitBar’s best bits

Get geeky with BitBar and customize plug-ins

Menu bar items

Plug-ins may display a single icon, like Firewall shown here, but they can show more information like the weather on the left. Click items to access a menu with extra information

Edit plug-ins

Plug-ins are often created by people for their own personal use and have specific features the author wants. If a plug-in doesn’t look useful, load it into a text editor and look through the code for things that can be customized. The author often labels items that can be changed and the options that are available


Plug-ins are plain text files and they can be loaded into a text editor like TextWrangler. If you know what to look for, they can be customized. We replaced the Firewall plug-in icons with emojis

78 Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks

Terminal activities

All BitBar plug-ins can be run from Terminal; clicking this menu item opens a Terminal window and executes the script. The output is the same, but the presentation is different

Plug-ins folder

Before running BitBar you must create a folder for plug-ins. They are saved here when they are installed. Drag plug-ins to the Trash to remove them, or edit them in a text editor to customize them

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

BitBar Install BitBar and use plug-ins

1 Get BitBar

2 Choose a folder

3 Open BitBar

4 Select and install

5 Use the plug-in

6 Customize a plug-in

7 Add more

8 Edit a plug-in

9 Restart BitBar

Go to and click the Get BitBar button. Open Finder and double-click the zip file in the Downloads folder. Drag to the Applications folder.

Browse the plug-ins at the BitBar website and find one you like, such as Firewall. Click the Add to BitBar button and it will download and install in the plug-ins folder.

Open Finder, go to Documents and create a new folder called BitBar. Run BitBar and when it prompts you to select the plug-ins directory, select the folder you just created.

Plug-ins add icons to the menu bar. Click an icon for the menu, for example, Firewall reports that Stealth mode is enabled. The original BitBar menu is under Preferences.

Return to the BitBar website and install the Open the Currency Tracker plug-in in a text Currency Tracker plug-in. This shows the editor like TextWrangler. Set currFrom to GBP exchange rate from 1 euro to Canadian and US (pounds) and then change the currTo list to dollars. Let’s change the currencies. the currencies you want to convert to.

Click BitBar in the menu and select Get Plugins. This opens Safari and goes to the BitBar website. Also on this menu is an option to open BitBar when you log in.

Install the GeoIPWeather plug-in and open the plug-ins folder. Open a plug-ins file in a text editor like TextWrangler. Set the temperature units to C under USER VARIABLES.

After making the changes to the currency, restart BitBar and click the Currency Tracker menu bar item to see the new currencies. You can add more currencies in the same way.

Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks 79

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

Browse more securely with Opera This free browser can speed up the web and make browsing much more private Safari is a perfectly good web browser on the Mac, but it is not the only web browser available. Opera is an alternative, but why would you want to install another? One reason is that it has features built in that are not available in Safari. For example, Opera can block annoying adverts on web pages and when this feature is turned on, it can speed up the loading of web pages by up to 66 per cent in our tests. Another great feature in Opera is a VPN, which makes web browsing private and more secure. Normally you have to download and install extra software for a VPN and also pay for access, but Opera has it already integrated. Download Opera from

Opera Browse faster and safer with Opera

1 Get started

2 Add favorite sites

3 Customize the page

4 Save battery power

5 Enable the VPN

6 Where am I?

Opera’s Speed Dial screen appears when it is run. The tiles provide quick access to popular websites. Click the three dots to show the menu and trash any you don’t want.

When using a MacBook on battery power, look for the battery icon in the top-right corner. Click it and turn on Battery Saver. Go to Opera> Preferences if you don’t see it.

90 Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks

You can add your favorite websites as tiles by clicking the plus button. Enter the URL into the box and click Add It. Some of the suggestions are useful, such as the Apple tile.

A VPN creates a secure internet connection that increases your privacy, it is recommended for Wi-Fi hotspots. Go to Opera, Preferences, Privacy & security and turn it on.

Click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the Speed Dial page to customize it. There are many graphical themes and navigation buttons to add. Pick your favorites.

Google ‘Where am I’ or ‘What is my IP’ and it lists sites like this that try to discover your location. You can see the VPN is working because it thinks we’re in Amsterdam.

Tips | Tricks | Hacks

Opera speed and security

Optimize your browsing with these speed and security settings

Speed Dial Click this button when you want to go to one of your favorite websites. It displays the Speed Dial screen with tiles for speedy access to sites. Add the places you visit most for quick access

Block web ads Ad blockers are controversial and there are pros and cons. They enable you to browse the web faster, but deprive websites of the income they need to survive. Click the gear icon and then click Manage exceptions. Add responsible websites that have minimal, non-intrusive advertising and don’t just block everyone. Encourage the good sites, but block the bad ones

Ad blocker The number of ads blocked is displayed by clicking this button. Click the gear icon in the Block Ads panel to turn off ad blocking. You might need to do this if a website doesn’t work

Choose your location


If all you want is security and privacy, let Opera select the optimal location. If you want to appear to be in a different country, click this menu and select one of the places listed

7 Check VPN usage

When the VPN is enabled and you have a secure internet connection, click the VPN button in the address box. It shows the data usage and you can choose your location.

Enable the VPN in Preferences and click this button to open the panel below. Browsing is faster with the VPN off, but it is more secure and private when it is on. It’s your choice

8 Block web ads

Opera enables you to browse the web faster by blocking ads. Go to Opera>Preferences. Select Basic on the left and tick ‘Block ads and surf the web up to three times faster’.

9 Check the blocker

At the right side of the URL box is the number of ads blocked on this site and an ad blocker symbol. Click it for more information. Select the speed test link at the bottom.

Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks 91


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