Among third-party options like Chrome and Firefox, Apple's Safari browser for OS X offers a well-integrated and easy option for viewing Web content on a Mac. However, there are some default settings in Safari that, with a few tweaks, can offer some enhancements to your browsing experience.Set homepage options The first options are those you will see whenever you create a new Safari window or tab, and these are located in the General section of the Safari preferences. In here, you can choose to open new windows and tabs with an empty page, Safari's Top Sites view, … Read more
When you first attach a new external hard drive to your Mac, it should mount and be ready to use; however, before relying on it, consider first taking a couple of precautionary steps to ensure that the drive continues to work as expected.
One of the first things to take into account is that the drive is likely preformatted to FAT32 instead of a more OS-specific format. Since FAT32 is readable and writable on both Windows and OS X systems, this is quickest way for a drive to work on each platform; however, it does have some limitations, including the … Read more
The main preferences and settings-storage system in OS X is the "defaults," which saves values in binary- or ascii-encoded XML property lists. These are commonly seen in the user account's "Preferences" folder, but they exist in other locations and for other purposes in the OS.
The defaults for programs and system services are usually modified from within the program or OS settings panel, but common practice is to modify them by hand and then reload the relevant service or program to invoke the change. This can be done for standard settings, but is also useful … Read more
Spotlight is the indexed search routine Apple includes with OS X, which allows you to quickly locate documents, folders, and other items on your system both by name and by relevant content. While convenient for finding items on your computer, sometimes the search results may be a bit large.
To manage search results better, you can enable or disable categories in the Spotlight System Preferences, or rearrange them so that those you more commonly use are in a more accessible location. For example, if you use Spotlight as an application launcher, then moving the Applications category to the top of … Read more
Starting with OS X 10.7, Apple changed its method for resizing windows. In the Classic Mac OS and through the first six releases of OS X, you had to resize windows using the tab at the bottom-right of the window; however, with OS X Lion Apple changed this behavior to give resizing controls along all edges of application and document windows.
What this means is in most cases, instead of having to move the left and top sides of a window to a desired location and then resize the rest accordingly, you can simply resize from the left, from … Read more
If you need to quickly launch a program or two in OS X, you can use the Launchpad interface, or, perhaps more quickly, find it in Spotlight, or use a link in the Dock. However, a third option that might be particularly useful for some utilities is to bind them to a hot key shortcut.
For instance, common utilities you may access when troubleshooting problems in OS X include Activity Monitor, Disk Utility, Console, and perhaps Terminal. If you regularly access these or other programs, then you might wish to have them available at your fingertips, so binding each to … Read more
When you install OS X, you may see a new folder at the root of your boot drive called "Incompatible Software," which may contain a program file or perhaps a folder of program components. Granted the folder name itself is pretty self-explanatory about its contents, but if you see it after installing a new version of OS X on your system, then you might wonder what is going on.
While there always will be small bugs and other incompatibilities with various software packages when run on a newly released version of an operating system, there are some instances … Read more
Starting with OS X Mountain Lion, Apple introduced a data execution prevention routine called Gatekeeper, which will block the automatic execution of programs that are either unsigned by an Apple Developer, or not issued through the App Store.
This routine prevents potentially malicious programs from running and harming the system or your data. However, while beneficial, it can also prevent legitimate programs from running, where it issues a warning that the program is not signed and will not allow it to run.
If you regularly use third-party programs that give this warning, then one option is to turn off Gatekeeper … Read more
One of Apple's goals with its latest version of OS X is to preserve battery life for portable systems by implementing a number of features which automatically reduce energy usage. These features include App Nap, which tracks the programs and processes you have in the foreground, and "pauses" any which are hidden from view.
For example, if you enable the iTunes visualizer, but then move another window over iTunes so the visualizer is completely covered, then the visualizer will be paused so processing power is not unnecessarily dedicated to keeping it playing while not in view.
While … Read more
Apple has issued an update for its Mail e-mail client program in OS X Mavericks. The update addresses a number of outstanding bugs that have been affecting users who have installed the new OS, specifically involving managing messages in Gmail accounts. In addition, the update fixes problems with inaccurate unread message counts.
This update is likely a welcome one for those experiencing these problems, but Apple does issue a few words of caution for those who are eager to install the update.
First, as with any software update, Apple recommends you make a full backup of your system, preferably using … Read more