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8 Mac Tricks You Didn’t Know About

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The Mac is amazing — one of the most beautiful and most powerful feats of modern engineering. At least, that’s likely your opinion on the tech as a Mac user. Mac fans are some of the most satisfied tech users because Apple is so effective at creating practical and attractive tech.

Yet, even if you are an ardent devotee of Apple products, there are likely to be some functions you aren’t aware of on your Mac. Some of those functions might include:

Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search is a versatile and practical tool for finding anything on your computer. You can tap command+space to open the search, and then you can type anything you want to find on your Mac to open it up directly. Once you get the hang of using Spotlight Search, you will find it dramatically faster to use Search than to manually navigate around your Mac. To make Search even more effective, you can run a free Mac cleaner to get rid of any redundant files and data.

Screenshot Tool

Usually, when you take a screenshot, you are only interested in capturing a specific portion of your screen. Instead of taking the extra step to crop your image around the parts of your screen you don’t want to save, you can press command+shift+4 to gain access to a crosshair tool, which allows you to drag around the area you want to keep.

Screen Recording

You don’t need to download any extra software to record your screen; Mac includes tools to make screen recording easy. In the QuickTime Player, you can select “New Movie Recording” from the File menu and choose your device from the drop-down menu next to the record button. You can also record sound along with your screen recording. You can trim your recording in QuickTime, but more serious edits might require more serious video software.

Personal Signature

Digital contracts are de rigueur, but the handwriting fonts used for signing such documents can be boring, and though electronic signatures are legally valid, some signers like the extra certainty of their own, unique signature on important files. Fortunately, Macs let users save their typical, handwritten signature to use on digital documents.

First, open Preview and use the Markup Toolbar with the marker icon in the upper right. You should see a signature drop-down toolbar that looks like a cursive J. If you select Create Signature, you can either use the trackpad to scrawl your signature or use the webcam to take a picture of your signature on a piece of paper. Once you are happy with your signature, you can save it and use it from the signature menu on any document in the future.

Caffeination

Just as a shot of espresso will keep you up and running for a few hours without a need for a break, your Mac can become caffeinated to prevent it from locking down during use. After launching the Terminal application, type “caffeinate” and hit enter. As long as the Terminal application is open, your computer shouldn’t go to sleep or require a user password. This can be helpful if you need to loan out your Mac for a few hours and don’t want to share your login credentials.

Hidden Menu

Macs are already pretty minimal with their menus, but if you need that extra few millimeters of workspace, you can hide the menu bar. From System Preferences, go to General and click Automatically Hide and Show the Menu Bar. It is a small change that could make all the difference in how your Mac looks and functions.

Emoji Keyboard

Emojis help demonstrate emotion in text-based communications, but inserting emojis can be a hassle. To make emojis easier to access, you can take advantage of a keyboard shortcut that brings up the emoji keyboard. Anytime your cursor is in a text field, you can press command+control+space to display your available emojis, and double-clicking on an emoji will insert it into your open text.

Encryption

Macs are inherently more secure than PCs — we’ve known that for decades. Still, Mac malware is on the rise, and many Mac users haven’t done anything to protect their devices. A small and easy way to protect your data is to take advantage of FileVault, which encrypts all the files located on your hard drive.

In System Preferences, you can navigate to the Security & Privacy window to find FileVault. If you click on the padlock icon in the lower left and enter your admin password, you should be able to turn on FileVault.

You might have thought it was impossible to love your Mac more, but that was before you learned these tricks. Any tool that makes your Mac safer, smarter and faster is an important tool to use.

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