Get more from Mac apps

Mac Format - - 2016 -

1. Souped-up Notes

Notes has been rein­vented in El Cap­i­tan, en­abling you to in­cor­po­rate data from other apps into your notes, from se­lected text and pho­tos to maps and web page links. When you’ve found some­thing you want to note, look for a Share but­ton in its app; if it ex­ists, click it and choose Notes to trans­fer that con­tent to a note. If you want to add a spe­cific ob­ject or pas­sage of text to a note, se­lect it, then ≈- click and choose Share > Notes (again, not all apps have this). From the Share sheet that pops up, you can add the se­lec­tion to a new note, or you can tack it onto the end of an ex­ist­ing note (you can then change its po­si­tion by edit­ing the note). Notes can store PDFs, movies and au­dio record­ings, and its At­tach­ments Browser lets you view by type all ob­jects you’ve added: pho­tos & videos, sketches, maps, web­site links, au­dio, and doc­u­ments.

2. Grouped con­ver­sa­tions

In El Cap­i­tan, you may find that con­ver­sa­tions in Mail are no longer grouped. Many mail apps au­to­mat­i­cally ad ‘Re:’ to the be­gin­ning of the sub­ject line when re­ply­ing. If it’s miss­ing, Mail doesn’t recog­nise the con­nec­tion be­tween mes­sages, even if their sub­jects match.

3. Multi-edit in Pho­tos

The lat­est version of Pho­tos makes it eas­ier to work on mul­ti­ple pic­tures at the same time, al­low­ing you to per­form the same ed­its (such as adding a com­mon lo­ca­tion) on them. To do this, hold ç and click each photo in turn, then press ç+I to ac­cess the Info dia­log to ap­ply your changes.

4. Events from email

If Mail de­tects ref­er­ences to events and pre­vi­ously un­known con­tact de­tails in a mes­sage, it alerts you to them at the top of that mes­sage. So, if peo­ple in­clude enough per­ti­nent de­tail in in­vi­ta­tions, you can quickly add it to Cal­en­dar or Con­tacts.

5. Power up Pho­tos

El Cap­i­tan adds sup­port for third-party ex­ten­sions in Pho­tos – th­ese al­low you to ac­cess se­lected im­age-edit­ing tools from sup­ported ap­pli­ca­tions from within Pho­tos it­self. Early adopters in­clude Pix­el­ma­tor (var­i­ous Dis­tort tools), Tonal­ity (for black and white ef­fects), Noise­less (noise re­duc­tion), Snapheal (cloning and other heal­ing tools), and BeFunky Ex­press. The lat­ter is the cheap­est way to add ad­di­tional edit­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties to Pho­tos – it costs £3.99 and pro­vides you with six ex­tra tools for im­prov­ing your snaps, in­clud­ing a high­lights and shad­ows ad­just­ment tool and var­i­ous tweaks for bright­en­ing skin, teeth and eyes.

Once you’ve in­stalled an app that plugs in to Pho­tos, go to Sys­tem Pref­er­ences > Ex­ten­sions > Pho­tos and turn on its ex­ten­sion; then ac­cess its tools by click­ing the Ex­ten­sions but­ton when edit­ing an im­age in Pho­tos.

Dis­cover some neat tips and tricks that help you get more from Ap­ple’s free apps

6. Make iPhone ring­tones

Why pay for ring­tones when you can eas­ily con­vert any song in your iTunes li­brary into a ring­tone? One rule: ring­tones can be no longer than 30 sec­onds in length. Open iTunes, then lo­cate the track you want to use for your ring­tone. click it and choose Get Info. Switch to the Op­tions tab and set the Start and Stop times to en­com­pass the snip­pet you wish to use – re­mem­ber, no longer than 30 sec­onds. Click OK, right-click the song again and this time choose ‘Cre­ate AAC version’.

You’ll see a new version of the song ap­pear in iTunes, its length 30 sec­onds or shorter. click it and choose ‘Show in Finder’. Change its file ex­ten­sion to .m4r. Re­turn to iTunes, right-click the song again, but this time choose Delete (don’t send it to the Trash when prompted). Re­turn to Finder, and sim­ply drag the .m4r file back into the iTunes win­dow – it won’t be added to your mu­sic li­brary, but you’ll find it un­der Tones, ready to sync to your iPhone.

7. Ca­sual playlists

iTunes’ Up Next fea­ture lets you queue up tracks for one-off play­back. It’s easy to man­age too: put the pointer over the sta­tus area at the top of the app, then click the bul­leted list icon at its top-right cor­ner. Drag items up or down the list to tweak their or­der, or click the clock icon to re­veal re­cent tracks played; lis­ten again by putting the pointer over a track, click­ing the ‘…’ but­ton next to it, and then choos­ing ‘Add to Up Next’ or ‘Play Next’. To turn your set into a playlist, se­lect File > New Playlist. Name it, then open Up Next. Se­lect all of the tracks in it (or its history view) and drag them onto the new playlist.

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