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15 Secretly Hidden Features of Mac You Probably Won’t Know If You Miss This

15 Secretly Hidden Features of Mac You Probably Won’t Know If You Miss This

Mac OS X has several amazing features that are hidden from the user. If you have been using Mac for a couple of years then, we are sure you would have stumbled across a few Mac hidden features. Many users are unaware of these secret Mac functions even after several years of using the Mac OS X. In this article, we have gathered 15 useful, lesser known Mac features that are sure to surprise you.

Merge Folders

You can easily merge the contents of two identically named folders but dragging one folder onto another prompts a Replace dialog message. So, the trick to merge two folders is to use Option – Dragging the folder which prompts an additional choice to merge folders. One folder containing contents of both source and destination folders will be created.

Merge

    Create a Signature in Preview

    It is easy to add a signature to your document in Mac. Open the document in preview and open the Annotations toolbar. Click on the Signature button and choose the Create Signature from Built-in iSight option. Follow the on-screen instructions to add a signature to your document. You can save your signature for future use as well.

    Signature

      Quick Dictionary Access

      You can quickly access the dictionary in Mac systems with these shortcut options. In older version of Mac OS, use ⌘⌃D to bring up the definition of the world while hovering over the word. You can find the definition of a word by double tapping with three fingers in Lion version. Quick access to dictionary helps users find meanings to obscure words immediately.

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      Dictionary

        Restoring Scroll Bars

        Scroll bars by default are hidden in Lion version and are visible only when a user begins to scroll the page. This could be confusing at times and hence many users prefer to have the scroll bars on. You can have the scroll bars visible always by changing the default setting. Go to System Preferences, under General Category; select Always under Show Scroll Bars option.

        scroll

          Built-in emoji Support

          It is extremely easy to insert emoticons in Mac OS X. It comes with a built-in emoji which allows users to insert special characters. Press ctrl ++ space to open the window. This window contains an exhaustive list of special characters. You can choose the special characters and emoticons that you need from this window.

          macemoji

            Speech-to-Text Conversion

            Dictation-typing in Mac OS works amazing well. You can convert your speech-to-text by pressing the function (fn) key twice and begin speaking. Your voice gets converted to text when you press function (fn) key one more time. The OS X types out as you speak.

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            voice-typing

               Easy Volume and Brightness Control

              With this shortcut, volume and brightness control can be achieved quite easily. Hold ⇧ + ⌥ together to change the brightness in small increments. You can change your volume control without affecting the brightness control by just holding the ⇧ key.

              change-sound-and-bringtness-in-quarters

                Auto Complete of Words

                Do you have trouble with spellings? This hidden feature will help you spell difficult words correctly as you type in iChat or TextEdit. Press F5 or Option + Escape to bring up an auto complete menu that provides a list of possible spellings to the word that you have started typing. This feature is extremely useful when you are typing official documents.

                AutoComplete

                  Quick Duplicate Open File

                  Many of the apps on Mac lack the option of “Save As” to duplicate an open file. There is a way to achieve duplication of an open file without opening the File menu. Click on the filename at the top. This drops down a menu of options. Click on the option Duplicate which allows you to replicate the file.

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                  DuplicateFiles

                    Hot Corners

                    This feature allows you to trigger certain events by touching the corner of your screen. You can enable hot corner setting by navigating to System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Savers ->Screen Saver Tab -> Hot Corners. It is a very useful feature which allows you to disable screensaver, launch notification center and open applications.

                    hotcorners

                      Close Running Apps

                      Running apps take up a lot of RAM space and slow down your system. Here is a quick solution to close your running apps on Mac. Simply hold + tab and continue holding and tab through all open apps. When you reach the app that you want to quit, press Q. If you want to hide the app, press H.

                      CloseApps

                        Turn Off Notifications

                        Open your Notification Center and scroll down the side-loading bar until you find Do Not Disturb toggle feature. Turn it on and you will not receive any notifications for a day. It is a convenient way to focus on your work without being disturbed by notifications that pop-up quite often. You can also schedule Do Not Disturb feature to be turned on for a specific period of time or for a particular event. For example, you can have it turned off when display is mirrored to a projector output.

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                        DND

                          Delete Apps in Launchpad

                          Deleting apps using Launchpad is an easy way to cleanup old apps. Open Launchpad interface and hold down Option to launch the iOS –style wiggle mode. This will activate the close icons on apps installed through Mac App Store. You can click on the cross icon to delete unused old apps from the system.

                          Delete Apps

                            Preview Files

                            Previewing files is really simple with this trick. Hold down the space bar when you select a file to preview the file. You can even preview image and video files with this option. You can switch between files while in preview by pressing the arrow keys.

                            preview-with-space
                                preview-with-space
                                  preview-with-space

                                      Create a New Desktop

                                      Mission Control is a cool new feature in Lion. In Mission Control, you can create a new desktop easily. A ‘+’ tab appears at the top right while you hover your mouse in Mission Control. If you want to move a window to a new desktop, you can drop them into the ‘+’ tab. You can have a dedicated desktop by simply dragging and dropping windows into this tab.

                                      New Desktop

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                                        Last Updated on November 3, 2020

                                        20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                                        20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                                        Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

                                        There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

                                        This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

                                        What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

                                        Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

                                        • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
                                        • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
                                        • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

                                        1. Todoist

                                          Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                                          Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                                          If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                                          Download: Todoist

                                          2. 1Password

                                            You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                                            1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                                            You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                                            Download: 1Password

                                            3. Bear

                                              Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                                              It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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                                              Download: Bear

                                              4. Hazel

                                                Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                                                For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                                                Download: noodlesoft

                                                5. Alfred

                                                  Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                                                  For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                                                  It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                                                  Download: Alfred

                                                  6. TextExpander

                                                    TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                                                    For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                                                    An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                                                    Download: TextExpander

                                                    7. Backblaze

                                                      If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                                                      Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                                                      Download: Backblaze

                                                      8. Keyboard Maestro

                                                        Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                                                        Download: Keyboard Maestro

                                                        9. Snagit

                                                          There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                                          Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                                          10. Bartender

                                                            Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                                            If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                                            Download: Bartender

                                                            11. Otter

                                                            Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                                            Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                                            Download: Otter

                                                            12. Flux

                                                              Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                                              Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                                                              Download: Flux

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                                                              13. PDFpen

                                                              If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                                              PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                                              Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                                              14. OmniFocus

                                                                OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                                                It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                                                A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                                                Download: OmniFocus

                                                                15. Franz

                                                                  It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                                                  Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                                                  Download: Franz

                                                                  16. MindNode

                                                                    If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                                                    The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                                                    Download: MindNode

                                                                    17. Focus

                                                                      The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                                                      This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                                                      Download: Focus

                                                                      18. CleanMyMac

                                                                        Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                                                        Download: CleanMyMac

                                                                        19. Grammarly

                                                                          A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                                          This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                                          A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                                          Download: Grammarly

                                                                          Focus To Do

                                                                            Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                                                            There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                                                            Download: Focus To Do

                                                                            The Bottom Line

                                                                            These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                                            Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                                            More to Boost Productivity

                                                                            Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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