Fix­ing an­noy­ances Even a high-spec Mac won’t have enough mem­ory to hold all the data you’re throw­ing at it at any one time. It there­fore uses its stor­age as a tem­po­rary stag­ing post, briefly swap­ping out data from its fast mem­ory to the slower stor­age med

As much as we love our Macs, there are some things that nig­gle, but a so­lu­tion is usu­ally close to hand

Mac Format - - 2016 -

1. Dual-screen life’s a drag

If you’re lucky enough to reg­u­larly work with two dis­plays at once, but are hav­ing trou­ble drag­ging win­dows from one to the other, open the Dis­plays pane in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences and click the Ar­range­ment tab. Your pri­mary dis­play is shown with a menu bar, which you can drag to the other one if you want to de­mote the cur­rent dis­play. Drag­ging ei­ther dis­play here lets you move it to which­ever side of its neigh­bour matches their phys­i­cal ar­range­ment, while drag­ging one higher or lower than the other makes it so that when the pointer leaves one dis­play and ar­rives on the other, it does so at the same ver­ti­cal po­si­tion.

2. Stream­line Spot­light

If Spot­light is giv­ing you too many re­sults, go to Sys­tem Pref­er­ences > Spot­light > Search Re­sults and clear the check­boxes next to the cat­e­gories that do not in­ter­est you to ex­clude them from re­sults.

4. Work­ing with a Win­dows key­board

If you’ve switched from Win­dows to a Mac mini, you might have been tempted to bring your old PC pe­riph­er­als with you, in which case the Win­dows key­board might not be­have in quite the same way as its Mac equiv­a­lent. You can set the mod­i­fier keys, such as Ctrl, Alt, and the Win­dows key, to be­have how­ever you pre­fer in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences > Key­board > Key­board and click­ing Mod­i­fier Keys.

3. Skip an­noy­ing con­fir­ma­tions

Where an ac­tion or a menu com­mand in­vokes a con­fir­ma­tion dia­log, hold­ing å while per­form­ing or choos­ing it of­ten skips the con­fir­ma­tion. So, if you want to shut down with­out be­ing asked if that’s what you really wanted, hold å while pick­ing Shut Down from the Ap­ple menu. Like­wise with the Trash, hold å while pick­ing Empty Trash af­ter ≈- click­ing it in the Dock to empty it right away.

5. Faulty de­faults

Want to open .docx files in Pages but find they’re al­ways snaf­fled by Word? To change the de­fault app for any file type, ≈- click on an ex­am­ple of the file you want to re­as­sign and choose Get Info (or just click on it and then press ç+I). Ex­pand the ‘Open with’ sec­tion and se­lect the ap­pli­ca­tion you want to use in­stead, then click the Change All but­ton to set this app as the de­fault for all files of that type on your Mac.

6. Ap­pli­ca­tion er­rors

If an app isn’t work­ing and you haven’t found a so­lu­tion on­line, try re­pair­ing file per­mis­sions (on Yosemite or ear­lier; El Cap­i­tan does this au­to­mat­i­cally dur­ing soft­ware up­dates). Per­mis­sions tell OS X which ac­counts can ac­cess what. Open Disk Util­ity, se­lect a par­ti­tion on a disk and click First Aid, then Run to check ev­ery­thing is set as it needs to be. It’s also worth se­lect­ing the drive on which the par­ti­tion is lo­cated (even on El Cap­i­tan) and run­ning First Aid to ver­ify the way the disk is con­fig­ured has not be­come dam­aged.

7. Clean your clutter

Di­ag­nose iCloud prob­lems through the iCloud pane in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences. Check that each ap­pli­ca­tion you want to syn­chro­nise is ticked in the list of ser­vices and click the ‘Man­age’ but­ton to see which of them is us­ing the most stor­age space when things start to get a bit tight on your ac­count.

A lit­tle spring clean­ing here can save you shelling out for a monthly, paid plan, but many of the erase op­tions are heavy-handed and delete all of the data for a par­tic­u­lar app en masse – for ex­am­ple, re­mov­ing all of your Notes in one fell swoop. For more fine-grained con­trol, open the ac­tual ap­pli­ca­tions them­selves and delete un­wanted files from their built-in file man­ager – or archive spe­cific doc­u­ments to an ex­ter­nal drive.

In Pages, Num­bers and Key­note, you can also open files to in­spect them and then use the Move To com­mand in the File menu to shift them from your on­line cloud stor­age to a lo­ca­tion on your Mac.

A third op­tion, which lets you skip a lot of th­ese steps, is to show iCloud Drive in the Finder side­bar, or choose Go > iCloud Drive when Finder is the fore­ground app – and then drag files from iCloud to lo­cal stor­age in the Finder win­dow that opens.

8. Dock over­load

An over­loaded Dock can ac­tu­ally make apps harder to find. The rule we live by is to keep only those apps onto which we might want to drag a file, such as Pho­to­shop or Pre­view, in the Dock, and open oth­ers us­ing Spot­light (or by press­ing ç+a when the Finder is ac­tive to open the Ap­pli­ca­tions folder and find the one we want). To re­move an app from the Dock, sim­ply drag it up­wards, and let go

when the word ‘Re­move’ ap­pears.

9. Finder’s de­fault lo­ca­tion

By de­fault, Finder win­dows open with a view of all of your files, but if you rou­tinely work in one folder this isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the best start point. Set Finder to open new win­dows on your favourite folder by open­ing the Finder menu, pick­ing Pref­er­ences and se­lect­ing your folder from the ‘New Finder win­dows show’ menu, un­der Gen­eral.

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