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OS X Yosemite: Six AWESOME Tricks You Have To Try

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OS X 10.10 Yosemite is perhaps the best OS X Apple has put out yet. And that’s truly saying something considering the previous “best” was way back with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. In between, 10.7, 10.8, and even 10.9 were each a bit disappointing with unnecessary features being added, UI elements taking a step back by being tweaked for tweaking’s sake, and just sheer bugginess.

But OS X 10.10 has, for the most part, fixed all that. It’s also added a bunch of cool new features including a completely new, refined iOS-inspired look; features like Continuity so your Mac interacts and swaps tasks with your iOS devices like never before; and, coming soon in the next update, a brand new streamlined Photos app for managing your pictures.

OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 is HERE

The latest build brings a whole host of stability, compatibility, and security improvements to your Mac. It also adds in Apple’s new Photos application, whcih is detailed in full below:

With Photos you can:

  • Browse your photos by time and location in Moments, Collections, and Years views
  • Navigate your library using convenient Photos, Shared, Albums, and Projects tabs
  • Store all of your photos and videos in iCloud Photo Library in their original format and in full resolution
  • Access your photos and videos stored in iCloud Photo Library from your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iCloud.com with your web browser
  • Perfect your photos with powerful and easy-to-use editing tools that optimize with a single click or slider, or allow precise adjustments with detailed controls
  • Create professional-quality photo books with simplified bookmaking tools, new Apple-designed themes, and new square book formats
  • Purchase prints in new square and panoramic sizes

This update also includes the following improvements:

  • Adds over 300 new Emoji characters
  • Adds Spotlight suggestions to Look Up
  • Prevents Safari from saving website favicon URLs used in Private Browsing
  • Improves stability and security in Safari
  • Improves Wi-Fi performance and connectivity in various usage scenarios
  • Improves compatibility with captive Wi-Fi network environments
  • Fixes an issue that might cause Bluetooth devices to disconnect
  • Improves screen sharing reliability

“Yosemite is the future of OS X with its incredible new design and amazing new apps, all engineered to work beautifully with iOS,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We engineer our platforms, services and devices together, so we are able to create a seamless experience for our users across all our products that is unparalleled in the industry. It’s something only Apple can deliver.”

With Yosemite, OS X has been redesigned and refined with a fresh modern look where controls are clearer, smarter and easier to understand, and streamlined toolbars put the focus on your content without compromising functionality. Translucent elements reveal additional content in your app window, provide a hint at what’s hidden behind and take on the look of your desktop. App icons have a clean, consistent design and an updated system font improves readability.

Yet despite all the cool new major things OS X 10.10 Yosemite offers, it’s all the new little things I keep finding every day that makes this OS X the best one yet. Here I’ve compiled a list of my top six hidden features of OS X. Be sure to drop me a note about yours in the comments.

Use Spotlight as a Currency Converter and Calculator

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I must do calculations on my Mac twenty times a day. Sometimes I’m just adding up various numbers, but other times I’m checking foreign exchange rate currency conversions. I used to always use OS X’s Calculator app for simple calculations and the Unit converter Dashboard widget for currency conversions, but now in Yosemite I find myself just using the new Spotlight search tool to do both.

To bring up Spotlight just hold down the Command key and press the spacebar. The Spotlight search bar will appear. Enter any calculation to get an instantaneous answer. Or enter in a currency query such as “$100 in GBP” to see how much $100 equals in British pounds.

Get Quick Type Predictive Text Suggestions

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With iOS 8 Apple introduced Quick Type predictive search. Quick Type gives you word suggestions based on what it thinks you are going to type next. Apple hasn’t fully implemented Quick Type in Yosemite, but I was happy to discover its beginning. When writing a word simply press the escape key to bring up a Quick Type list of predictive word suggestions. It doesn’t work in all apps, but does in some standard ones like Pages and Text Edit. Quick Type has helped me write faster on my Mac so I’m hoping Apple is working to implement it system-wide in the future.

Use the Shift Key to Move the Dock

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Since the early days of OS X you could position the Dock on the bottom, left, or right side of your display, but you always had to go into the Dock settings in System Preferences to do that. Sometimes depending on what’s on your screen you want to quickly move the Dock without going through all those steps. With Yosemite you now can. Simply move the cursor over the line split in the Dock and press the Shift key then drag the Dock to the bottom or sides of your screen.

Use the TrackPad to Sign Documents

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Apple has allowed you to create a digital signature by using the camera to scan a paper with your signature on it that you could then insert into documents for a while now. But with Yosemite you can skip the paper signature step all together and just scrawl your digital signature on a PDF by using the trackpad.

To do this open up a PDF in the Preview app and click the Sign button in the annotation toolbar. A drop down window will appear with a representation of a trackpad on it. Follow the steps to use your finger to sign your name. This digital signature that is created can then be saved for future use to insert into documents at will.

Record Your iPhone and iPad’s Screen

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This is a killer feature for anyone who wants to make iOS tutorial or app demo videos to post online. Simply plug in your iOS device (it must be running iOS 8) into your Mac running Yosemite using the Lightning cable. Open up QuickTime Player and from the File menu select “New Movie Recording”. By default your Mac’s FaceTime camera will activate, but if you click the little triangle button by the red record button a drop down menu will appear allowing you to select your iOS device as the input. Your iOS device’s screen will appear on your desktop. When you’re ready just click the record button to begin making your demo video.

Get Tons of Info About Your Wi-Fi Network In Just a Click

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I found this last one out by accident. If you hold down the ALT key on your Mac and click the Wi-Fi menu bar button Yosemite gives you a ton of info and some new options about your wi-fi network. For starters it displays a massive amount of technical information including your IP, BSSID, PHY Mode, Country Code, and Router Security. It also allows you to enable Wi-Fi Logging, and disconnect from you current Wi-Fi network without needing to turn off your wi-fi entirely. This last feature is particularly useful if you’re in an area with multiple wi-fi hotspots and you want to leave your wi-fi on, but want to ditch the current network you’re connected to.

READ Next: OS X Yosemite Review

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