10 MacOS Tips and Tricks

Bet you didn’t know you could do this with your MacBook.

MacBooks are amazing, although the hefty price tag. The Macbook is amazing as Apple has optimized the software and the hardware so well that it comes to a point where it almost doesn’t matter what you are running it on.

As a new owner of the Macbook pro, I have found many tips you’ll need in order to use your Mac more efficiently. Apple has sneaked features into upgrades you could have missed out on. Others have resorted to that classic lightbulb moment of “I’d totally forgotten you could do that!.” This is not a formal list; but simply tips and tricks which I have seen and found which have helped me throughout my time using macOS.

1. Do unit conversions in Spotlight

You can do simple conversions without even typing what you want to convert it to depending on where you are. Or specific ones like “10 stone in lbs,” but Spotlight is intelligent enough to give you the right suggestions.

Type ‘£1500’ and you’ll immediately be presented with the Sterling conversion rates, depending on your language and set country. The window folds down and you’ll also be presented with Euros, Yen etc..

2. Send and Receive SMSs/iMessages on your MAC

When someone sends an SMS – a text message in the original mobile phone sense – to your iPhone, it appears in a green bubble rather than a blue one.Before Yosemite, SMSs would only appear on your iPhone, but now you can have them come into your Mac or other iOS devices.

Your iPhone needs to be running iOS 8.1, but once it is, and once you’re signed into your Apple ID account you turn on the Text Message Forwarding option under Settings > Messages on your iPhone. Boom!

3. Transfer files seamlessly

Don’t forget that, if you have a modern Mac that has Bluetooth 4.0 and a recent iOS device (iPhone 5 or later, for example), then you can easily send files from your Mac to your iOS device using ‘AirDrop’.

The quickest way to do this is to right-click on the file you want to send then pick AirDrop from the Messages fly-out menu, then pick the device you want to send it to. (You’ll have to have AirDrop turned on from the Control Centre of the iOS device first.)

4. Setup links for clutter free desktop

When taking screenshots, they automatically get stored on the desktop. If you’re like me and take a lot of screenshots of information then this can make your desktop look cluttered real fast.

As a Dropbox account member, one thing I have down is that when I take a screenshot now, it gets stored in a folder in Dropbox. This makes it easier, as I have access to these files on my phone too as I have a Pixel.

5. Have things ready at log-in

Go to Users, make sure your user account is highlighted, then click Login Items.

Click the + and you can choose an application, file server or pretty much anything else that should open when you log in. Once you’ve added something, you can use the checkboxes to opt to hide it, though it will still be running in the background.

Having lots of these set up can make your Mac slower to start up, though, so if you need to speed things up and temporarily don’t need them running, hold Shift while OS X or macOS is logging you in to suppress them.

6. Share card details and passwords

If you have more than one Apple device – whether that’s a work and a home Mac, a Mac and an iPhone, or a couple of iOS devices – then it’s worth turning on iCloud Keychain. This lets you keep your Safari website usernames and passwords, credit card information, and Wi-Fi network information in sync across all your devices.

This is so that, for example, you can quickly log into a website on your Mac having saved a password on your iPad, or enter your secure credit card details automatically on an iPhone having saved them on your Mac. It’s a slightly complex setup, but worth a bit of pain up-front to make your life easier later on; start at this page on Apple’s website to find out how.

7. Edit photos, right in the Photos app

Preview is one one of the most under-appreciated apps on a Mac; especially in later versions of OS X. For example, you can crop your image. Draw a selection with the regular Rectangular Selection tool then either hit Command+K or choose Crop from the Tools menu. Alternatively, show the Edit Toolbar and make a more complex selection either with the Instant Alpha tool (like in iWork) or use the Smart Lasso.

With this tool, you draw as carefully as you can around the outline of the object and then Preview works out as closely as it can where the edges are. In either case, cropping will, if the image isn’t already a PNG, convert it so that you can have the thing you’re cutting out on a transparent background. (You might need the Invert Selection command, too!)

You can also resize images, and even do some tweaks to the colours with the Adjust Color pop-up. Select Adjust Color… from the Tools menu, and you get some handy sliders and a histogram to help you tweak things. Plus, hit the backtick symbol (to the left of Z on a UK Mac keyboard, and to the left of 1 on a US Mac keyboard) to bring up a loupe so you can see what’s happening at 100% as you make changes.

8. Sign documents with your digital signature

I didn’t think this feature was useful, but boy was I mistake (not that I sign a lot of documents). Having the newer bigger trackpads makes it a lot easier than other trackpads. but you can create signature (you have unlimited tries to get it just right).

To add a signature, open cup the document which you need to sign and then click ‘Create Signature’, ensure the Trackpad tab is selected, and then click to begin as directed. When you’ve finished you can select the signature from the menu, then drag it to wherever you want it to appear.

9. Talk to siri to change system settings

If you have accepted AI and talk to your devices a lot, good! This one os for you. If you don’t want to touch your device or you can’t see where the controls are. Then you can talk to Siri to change some system settings.

launch Siri through the status bar or the command and say “increase brightness” and Siri will brighten your day :). You can also say “turn on bluetooth” or “how much space is left”. You can even say “change the song” and Siri will change the song on Spotify for you!

10. See all the things

If you have multiple Safari Windows or Chrome windows open at once, and you want to quickly switch between them. But it is at the bottom of the numerous apps you have open, then ‘Expose’ is for you.

By swiping up with 4 fingers on the Magic Trackpad, or new MacBook Trackpads it will present all open apps.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post and sincerely hope it was found helpful and enjoyable! Please feel free to leave thoughts down below in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to Bane Tech on YouTubeGoogle+Facebook, Twitter Instagram!


Sachin Mistry
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Sachin Mistry

Sachin is an Editor at Bane Tech, where he loves exploring the latest in the Android/Google universe. When he's not buried in words, Sachin is a student at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK studying his first passion which is training to become a culinary arts Chef.