Tips and Tricks for Your Mac OS Mavericks

You’ve just installed OS X Mavericks on your shiny MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, or even Mac Pro (you lucky thing) and now wondering what new tricks you get, what tips are best to get the most out of the new operating system, and how you can become the font of all knowledge when your mum or mates asks you what’s what.

We’ve compiled a list of dozens of tips for you to get the most out of the new features Apple has added to OS X Mavericks. In some instances, the changes can be tricky to find, but once you find them, your workflow can quickly change for the better. Some are new, some you might know already, but we can promise this: all will help you get more out of your laptop or desktop.

Apps

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Automatically check for updates

You can now turn automatic app update checks on rather than having to manually go and check to see if your favourite app has been updated.

Download and install app updates

Once you’ve checked them you can also have Mavericks download the update in the background and if you want to go one step further you can have it install the update for you too.

Automatically download apps purchased on other Macs

Got more than one Mac in your house? Of course you have. Now just like iOS 7 you can have any Mac purchases you make automatically download on all your Macs rather than just the one you are buying it on. Go to System Preferences > App store and tick the relevant box.

Disable app updates

If all this automatic downloading and updating sounds a bit to heavy handed for your liking you can turn it off. System Preferences > App Store and tick what you don’t want.

Allow apps downloaded from anywhere

By default Apple stops you downloading every app available to help protect your computer from nefarious sources. To throw caution to the wind go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and tick whether you want apps only from the Mac App Store, identified developers or anywhere. It’s a feature that’s been available for sometime but with a new instal it’s worth noting where it is in case you want to change the settings with your new set-up.

Delaying updates

You now have the ability to delay updates if a restart is required for an update. You can now choose to either perform a Restart immediately, or choose an option like “Try in an Hour,” “Try Tonight,” or “Remind Me Tomorrow.”

Notifications

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Keep them off the Lock Screen

Just like iOS 7 you can see what notifications you’ve got while your computer is locked with the password. Mavericks gives you a summary of your notifications but this might let other people see how busy you’ve been or in the case of website push notifications what sites you read. To turn this feature off go to System Preferences > Notifications and select the apps in Notification Center that you don’t want to show on the lock screen. In each instance there will be a “Show notifications on lock screen” option. Untick the box.

Hide share buttons in Notification Center

Notification Center shows you all all the notifications you are getting on your computer and can be revealed by a two-finger swipe from the edge of your trackpad (right to left). Within the Notification Center you can now iMessage, tweet, or write a Facebook status update. If you don’t want to do this you can turn it off by going to System Preferences > Notifications and untick the Share Buttons option.

Sort Notifications by time

System Preferences > Notifications and then in the bottom left hand corner of the box select whether to “Sort Notification Center” by time or manually.

Do Not Disturb

If you’ve got work to do then the constant barrage of messages, alerts and other stuff can be annoying. Like before you can turn it off, either manually or a set time every day.

Do Not Disturb when mirroring to TVs and projectors

Tick this box and when you are doing a presentation you won’t get a message from your partner asking you to wear something sexy later (as if that ever happens anyway).

But allow FaceTime calls

Apple clearly thinks getting a FaceTime call is important, more so above and beyond anything else as you can override Do Not Disturb settings by allowing Everyone or just Favourites to interrupt you. You can also set it to Allow just repeated calls although by that point they are probably calling your mobile to tell you that your cat is dead.

Turn on Do Not Disturb without going to System Preferences

Open Notification Center on the desktop and scroll down. The Do Not Disturb option will appear.

Send iMessages in Notifications Center

Two-finger swipe on your trackpad or press the list icon in the top right of your screen in the menu bar and then press on the speech bubbles.

Replying to interactive bubbles

Every time you get a notification an interactive bubble appears at the top right hand side of your screen. You can automatically reply to any message you get by hovering over the bubble and then pressing the Reply button.

Deleting Mail via interactive bubbles

For Mail notifications you can also delete them without even looking at your inbox.

Privacy

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Prevent Spotlight from searching certain locations

Spotlight is the name of Apple’s search tool in OS X and now you can stop it searching certain locations like folders and the like. That’s handy if you don’t want others who use your computer coming across certain files you’ve got stored. The files still exist, but aren’t going to turn up in search results.

Enable Location Services

Websites and apps all want to know where you are these days and Apple lets you turn that feature off in Mavericks as default. Any app that wants to know where your location is has to be approved and you can managed this list at System Perferences > Security & Privacy > Location Services. It even lets you see which ones you have allowed have accessed that information in the last 24 hours.

Allowing apps to talk to other apps

You can set what access apps have to your core information in the same area: System Perferences > Security & Privacy. Look at the corresponding apps like Facebook or Calendars to see what apps are accessing what information on your computer.

Activating iCloud Keychain

Always encrypted and synced across all systems including your iPhone, iCloud Keychain is all about helping you store passwords. It remembers everything from passwords and credit card numbers. It stores your website usernames and passwords on the devices you’ve approved, protects them with AES 256-bit encryption and keeps them up to date on each device. iCloud Keychain works with credit card information too, all ready to autofill at the press of a button. To set it up go to System Preferences > iCloud and click on the Keychain box. You will be asked to set up a code, type in a phone number and away you go.

Now when you go to a website that needs you to generate a password Apple will suggest one for you.

Here are the tips I want to share with you, you can get more tips about your Mac in this post on our site whenever you want.

PhoneView Gives You More Access to Your iOS Device

Apple has always provided a means to back up your iPhone so that, should anything disastrous happen, you’re safe in the knowledge that you can easily restore your backup to a new one. At first, this was simply through iTunes but along came iCloud and now backups are performed directly to Apple’s servers, saving the burden of iTunes syncing.

While this protects our iPhone’s data from something such as loss, theft or damage, what happens if we inadvertently delete some information such as some notes, a voice recording or document within an app?

PhoneView is an app that provides a level of interaction with an iPhone (and iPad) that goes far beyond anything iTunes lets us do. Even without jailbreaking, we’re able to delve deep into the iPhone’s filesystem and directly access app data, messages, call logs and more so they can be easily archived and backed up – as well as recovered if the worst has happened.

Beyond iTunes

iTunes is pretty dumb in that respect as it simply serves as a way of syncing the iPhone’s media files and backing it up, offering no control about what exactly is being backed up or how. While it will certainly save our proverbial bacon if we misplace our iPhone, it offers no protection in the event that a specific piece of data is accidentally erased.

PhoneView, by Ecamm Network, is to be used as a means of copying all sorts of data to and from the iPhone, with the ability to archive data in a growing history. As it functions more as a file browser than syncing platform, we can access information that would otherwise be unavailable to us.

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When it comes to the app’s look and feel, there really isn’t much to write home about. I don’t mean that in a negative manner, simply that there isn’t anything particularly exceptional about it. PhoneView’s interface closely mirrors that of the Finder, with each section listed within the sidebar, providing a familiar experience when accessing your iPhone. At the end of the day, PhoneView is a file browser and it doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Depending on the capacity and amount of space used on your iPhone, it can take a good 10-15 seconds whenever you’re first switching between categories. After that, the app maintains a history of information so it loads much quicker.

Your iPhone, Your Data

I was really surprised by how much data is available to PhoneView from a typical iPhone.

  • Notes taken with the built-in Notes app

  • Voice recordings saved with Voice Memos

  • Messages

  • Call logs

  • Contacts

  • Media files (Music, Photos, Videos, Voice Memos)

  • Safari history

  • App documents

PhoneView provides a drag-and-drop way of accessing this sort of data and files without ever having to go through iTunes. You can access movies and photos you’ve stored on your iPhone and even play music directly through the app. This is especially useful for troubleshooting potentially lost data as apps that have unexpectedly quit can, although rare, no longer recognise files that were present just moments earlier. Using this feature alone, I’ve recovered several voice recordings that Voice Memos, for one reason or another, decided were no longer present on my iPhone — all thanks to PhoneView.

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Additionally, this also applies to any apps you may have installed on your iPhone. Should those apps be capable of creating new files, such as text editors, you can access the files you’ve created with them through PhoneView. You can even copy compatible files into apps, similar to the function within iTunes, but without having to actually use Apple’s bloated media app.

Each category of data can be opened with the equivalent Mac app. Contacts can be sent to Contacts in Mac OS X and opening any Safari history items will do so within your default browser.

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But with great power comes great responsibility, and this additional level of access you gain to your iPhone means you’re one step closer to potentially wiping data permanently as you can delete data within PhoneView quite easily.

Hidden Storage

Should you find yourself without a USB memory stick and need a decent amount of storage space, PhoneView lets you use your iPhone as a data storage device, allowing for any files or folders to be copied to it. Any data you copy to your iPhone in this manner isn’t accessible by the iPhone and, for all intents and purposes, is completely hidden.

It’s a feature that I’m sure some people would find useful and works perfectly, but it isn’t terribly convenient since it requires PhoneView installed on any Mac you’re transferring data to or from.

Backing Up Messages

One of the most common questions I get asked is “how do I back up my text messages?” PhoneView offers a fully automatic way of backing up all of your iPhone’s messages, both SMS and iMessage, as soon as you plug it in. Messages are even displayed as they would appear on your iPhone, complete with appropriate speech bubbles and avatar images. You can select multiple messages and export them into various formats, with PDFs appearing in the same style.

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Call logs are also archived in this way, updated whenever the iPhone is connected. PhoneView even states whether the call was received, sent, missed or cancelled. The more you use PhoneView, the larger your call log will be.

Both call logs and messages are fully searchable and PhoneView can even access your iPhone Backups that have been made through iTunes so that, even if you have lost your iPhone, provided you made a recent backup then you can still view your messages and call logs.

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If you’re a heavy texter or just want to make sure you have a thorough backup of your messages, PhoneView might be the very app you’ve been looking for.

Wrapping Up

At just $29.95, PhoneView provides an unparalleled level of access to your iPhone’s filesystem that requires no modification to your Mac or iPhone. It’s as plug-and-play as you can get, and it does everything it sets out to do in a straightforward and simplistic manner.

Its feature set is something iTunes sorely lacks and, though I suspect the majority of users will be those just wanting to maintain an easily-accessible archive of text messages, if you have to use it once to recover some data then it will be money well spent.

Feel free to visit our site if you need more technical articles for your iOS device.