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
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.