During a power outage at my apartment this year, I watched movies on my MacBook Pro instead of on my television. While I had no complaints about the screen size, I did have an issue with how low the audio coming from my speakers was. External speakers would help, but I don't want to buy them or lug them around every time I want to watch a movie.
When you buy a Mac, you accept that you're giving up the customization found on Windows or Linux systems for a more fluid and secure machine. This is great for most consumers, but for those of us who'd rather opt for a tailor-made experience, there are always developers that can combine functionality with stability.
Apple's keyboard has a set of media controls to navigate the music playing on iTunes, allowing you to play, pause, skip, and replay songs and videos. Unfortunately, these controls are exclusive to iTunes; if you're playing music from Spotify, Pandora, or the myriad of other online web-based services (Amazon, Rdio, SoundCloud, etc.), you're out of luck.
To contemporize a popular quote, "A cluttered desk(top) is a sign of a cluttered mind." Of course, it's difficult to maintain a tidy desktop... as you read this, mine is cluttered with screenshots, folders, Word documents, videos, pictures, and apps.
After utilizing Spotify's My Year in Music tool, I came to realize that I listened to over 30,000 minutes of music in 2014. Most of that was played while working from my Mac using the desktop version of the service.
Your Mac's clipboard is great when you are just copying and pasting a phone number or address, but sometimes you end up having to re-copy the same thing over and over every day. To make those phrases a lot more easily accessible, the people over at Tiny Robot Software have released Pasteomatic. With this app, you will be able to use a hotkey to bring up a collection of your most commonly used text snippets and paste them into any text field or document.
While Apple's Continuity feature has certainly impressed me, I can't help but feel like it could be used to create a better connection between my iPhone and Mac. Sure, Handoff allows me to pick up where I left off in certain applications between the two devices, and it lets me pick up calls and send text messages on my Mac, but I want even more functionality.
Yosemite is definitely an improvement over Mavericks, but there are still some painfully obvious and annoying bugs that occur within certain apps.
Earlier this year, Apple announced Continuity, a feature for Yosemite and iOS 8 that lets you connect your iOS devices to your Mac in order to access apps, receive phone calls, send text messages, and more while seamlessly switching between the two.
Apple scrubbed the floor clean of all existing text-bombing apps in the iOS App Store, and even though there were once a ton of these apps in Cydia, the go-to store for jailbroken devices, there few and far between these days. If they do exist, they either cost money or don't work as advertised.
iTunes Radio, Apple's answer to Pandora, provides endless hours of free music streaming, but like other so-called "free" services, every now and then you're going to hear some ads. While you may not be bombarded with them, they can definitely kill the vibe when you're jamming to your favorite stations.
I just about always have iTunes running in the background when using my Mac, but switching in and out of the app to change songs and albums can make focusing on my main task difficult. To help keep my mind on track, I have a few extensions enabled to take control of my music playback.
Apple has been one of the biggest trolls when it comes to adding new features to their software. Whether its adding a new boot screen and not letting all devices use it, or adding Dark Mode and making it a hassle to toggle on and off, there is always to be a caveat attached to each new addition.
Coffee shops are great places to unwind and get some free Wi-Fi, but all the bandwidth in the world can be ruined by someone being a noisy jerk. I usually start blasting music through my headphones whenever that happens, but that isn't always the most ideal situation, especially if I'm trying to study or work.
The dock has been a staple of Mac OS X since its creation and not much has been needed to improve its functionality, but when you add theming to the mix, you can run into some issues.
Yosemite brought a new, Alfred-like Spotlight search to our Macs, but at times I still find myself wanting more out of it. However, after stumbling upon Flashlight by developer Nate Parrot, I am now able to perform Google searches, look up weather, and even enter Terminal commands straight from Spotlight's search bar.
When Yosemite was released, a more detailed boot screen came to your Mac. So now, just like on Apple's mobile devices, you will see a loading bar telling you how far into the startup process you are. Apple also decided to add a black version of this boot screen to newer Macs, leaving those of us who purchased a computer before 2011 out of the loop.
Apple hasn't been the most avid supporter of widgets over the years. Yes, they added them to the Notification Center in Yosemite, but that requires a drawer to be opened and closed whenever you want to check them. In my search for a better solution, I came across Ubersicht by developer Felix Hageloh.
Most diehard Mac users have used TinkerTool at some time or another, and if you haven't, it's time to start. Whether it's to change your system's font or to disable UI animations, it seems like anything you could ever think about tweaking in Mac OS X is doable through TinkerTool. And now, developer Marcel Bresink has updated his app to work with Yosemite, so let's see what it can do now.
While it's much quicker in Yosemite, the Calendar app for Mac has never been as fast as I'd like. If my schedule is really full, it can sometimes hang when first opening the Calendar.
While change is good, it isn't always welcomed. All software updates with radical redesigns and brand-new features bring at least a few complaints from those accustomed to previous versions. iOS 7 got a lot of flak from iOS 6 users, as did iOS 8 from iOS 7 users.
This is a working solution for those using an external monitor on their MacBook Pro's running Yosemite. The previous terminal commands for Mavericks no longer works on Yosemite, so this how to do it.
On mobile devices, the Notification Center received a huge facelift when iOS 8 was released, but it wasn't until Yosemite that its Mac OS X counterpart received the same amount of love—especially the much needed ability to add custom widgets, like a FaceTime dialer.
It's pretty logical for your MacBook to sleep when you close its lid, but under certain circumstances, you may not necessarily want this feature to kick in.
Although sleep mode and screen savers contribute to the security and energy preservation of my MacBook, it can become a nuisance when they initiate unwelcomely. Yes, I could just change these settings in System Preferences, but to do this every time I momentarily leave my Mac unattended would be tedious, to say the least.
Getting things done isn't easy when you're bombarded with alert sounds and notifications all day long on your Mac. Here's how you can quickly remove those distractions with just a single click.
Coffee shops are a relaxing place to get work done on your laptop; there's free Wi-Fi, fresh coffee, and people generally leave you alone. Inevitably, those cups of coffee will go straight through you, resulting in a much-needed bathroom break. But while you're attending to your bodily functions, who's attending to your MacBook?
Automator takes the work out of common repetitive tasks. I don't enjoy compressing videos for quick sharing or uploading to the web, so I created an Automator action to handle the process for me.
Thanks to Apple's implementation of Continuity on Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, communication is truly a seamless thing. Without even looking at my iPhone, I can message or call friends comfortably from my computer or iPad.
By now, you've probably already installed 10.10 Yosemite, the newest version of Mac OS X, on your computer. While you most certainly noticed the visual changes, you might have missed some of the really cool additions.
One of the biggest improvements in Mac OS X Yosemite came to the Spotlight search feature, allowing users to not only search through their applications, but also their emails, text messages, iCloud, and the web.
Apple has a built-in way to protect you from opening up potentially malicious apps on your computer in Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and macOS Sierra. This setting, named Gatekeeper, will never stop you from installing apps from the Mac App Store, but it could from anywhere else. If it's an app you're sure you want to install on your system, here's how to do it.
Automator takes the work out of common repetitive tasks in Mac OS X. One of my least favorites is resizing images for the web, so I created a drag and drop action to quickly do it for me.
Nostalgia sometimes gets the best of us—hence the reason we geek-out when we see emulators for SNES on Apple devices or N64 on Android.
For the most part, Finder has had the same basic functionality through the various releases of OS X. But Apple's lack of interest in adding new bells and whistles to the backbone of their operating system simply means that 3rd-party developers get to shine, and Tran Ky Nam is one such developer. He created his own extension for Finder that adds tabbed browsing, dual pane mode, cut & paste functionality, and much, much more.
Mac OS X has finally added a way to use two apps side by side in full screen mode, à la Microsoft's Windows Snap. But since it's only available in 10.11 El Capitan right now, those of us with older systems will have to wait until the El Capitan Public Preview or final build is released later this year.
Who said you need a smartphone to use Snapchat? A new application in the Mac App Store, appropriately dubbed Snappy, allows you to send and receive Snapchats directly on your computer. Check out the guide below to learn how to go through all of your Snapchat stories, take and send photos with filters, and text just like you would on your mobile device.
I love my MacBook Air, but the fact that it runs on only 128 GB of flash storage causes me to move most of my files to the cloud. I don't mind having to be connected to the internet in order to access my files, but it's definitely a hassle trying to figure out which files I should move in order to save the most space. Usually, I don't even bother even trying until I see the dreaded "Your startup disk if almost full" warning. Currently, the only real way to find your biggest files in Mac OS X ...
Heartbleed, move over. There's a new bug in town, and this time it's also affecting Mac and Linux computers. It's called Shellshock (its original official title is CVE-2014-6271), and it's currently got a 10 out of 10 severity rating over at the National Cyber Awareness System. While some updates have been issued to fix this bug, they were incomplete, and your system is probably still vulnerable, as it has been for the last probably 20 years.
Like a car, your Mac needs to be monitored and cared for to keep it running as smoothly as possible. While your vehicle comes with a ton of gauges to keep track of your oil, temperature, and in some cases, even tire pressure, your Mac has no easy way to watch for low memory or high disk usage. Normally you would have to open up Activity Monitor to take a look at your usage stats, but now there is something better.