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Power Up Your Mac With These Simple Hacks

Power Up Your Mac With These Simple Hacks

These simple Mac hacks will help you be more productive in OSX. By learning keyboard shortcuts, built in applications, and the Terminal, you will change the way you work, for the better. I’ve rounded up some of the simple hacks that I’ve found most useful over the years, and a few of the more obscure ones that are not as scary as they look.

Keyboard shortcuts

There a lots of keyboard shortcuts that make navigating your Mac easier, quicker and more productive. Here are the most useful:

The basics

  • ⌃CTRL + C for copying to the clipboard
  • ⌃CTRL + X for cutting to the clipboard
  • ⌃CTRL + V for pasting form the clipboard
  • ⌘CMD + ARROW LEFT for jumping to the beginning of a line
  • ⌘CMD + ARROW RIGHT for jumping to the end of a line
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + ARROW LEFT for highlighting everything to the left of the cursor
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + ARROW RIGHT for highlighting everything to the right of the cursor
  • ⌘CMD + A to select everything
  • ⌘CMD + Z to undo the last operation
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + Z to redo the last undo
  • CMD + SHIFT + 3 to save the screen as a PNG image file
  • CMD + SHIFT + 4 to save a portion of the screen as a PNG image file

Pasting without style

When you copy and past text, usually the style is retained as well. Sometimes, you only want to copy the text, and match the style of the sentence that you are pasting into. Instead of pasting into a text editor first and then copying again from there, use this shortcut. Hold down ⌘CMD + ⌥OPTION + ⇧SHIFT + V

Fine tune volume

To adjust the volume in smaller (than normal) increments hold down ⇧SHIFT and ⌥OPTION + F11 (or F12).

Silently adjust the volume

To adjust the volume without making that annoying clicking sound hold down ⇧SHIFT + F11 (or F12)

Quickly delete a file

This is probably my most used shortcut (after copy and paste). Hold down ⌘CMD + DELETE to quickly put files in the Trash.

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Use the delete button (like a PC)

If you’ve come to the Mac from a PC you might find it more than a little odd that you can only delete “backwards.” If you want to delete the characters to the right of the cursor hold down Fn + DELETE

Silently booting your Mac

Avoid the start-up sound when booting up your Mac by hold down the mute button (F10).

More audio options from the Volume icon

I make music on my Mac and this little hack is invaluable to me. Hold down ⌥OPTION and click the Volume icon to get all of the input and output options available.

Instant access to a dictionary and thesaurus

This is a newer mac hack that everybody should know about. Hold down ⌃CTRL + ⌘CMD + D while your cursor is over some text and a lovely little popup appears with a definition, a Wikipedia entry and alternative words via a thesaurus.

Terminal

The terminal in your Mac is one of the those scary places that feels like only the advanced users should tread. A few simple terminal hacks can save you a lot of time in the long run, so we’ll be careful and keep it simple.

You can find the Terminal app in your Utilities folder in Applications. Generally, with Terminal based hacks you will need to log out and then back in again.

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Free up your memory

If you feel that your Mac is running a little slow it could be that you need to free up some memory. Type “purge” into the Terminal and press return. If you want to see what is what is going on you can have open Activity Monitor at the same time. You might find it easier to use a small application like Memory Clean which makes this process even simpler and more visual.

Change default screen shot image format

Being able to grab the screen as an image is great and for most people saving in the PNG image format is fine. However some people have a preference for JPG or even PDF. With this quick hack you can change which format you want to default to.

Type:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type file-extension

Where “file-extension” is, either jpg or png or pdf.

Where are my screen shots saved?

I find it really useful to have a folder called “screenshots” in my “Pictures” folder. Whenever I take a screen shot images get nicely organised into this folder instead of mixed in with my Desktop.

First make sure that you create a folder called “screenshots” in your Pictures folder and then type:

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defaults write com.apple.screencapture location /Users/myname/Pictures/screenshots

Application hacks

Display the date in the menu bar

How many times have you clicked the day and time to get today’s date? It’s such a simple hack. Open up Preferences, click the Date & Time icon and then click the Clock tab. Check the “Show date” box. It will instantly update the menu bar.

Date in the menu bar

    Date in the menu bar

    Instant access to foreign characters

    If you hold down a key (such as “a”) you will get a pop up with alternative versions of that character for different languages. Simply choose the one that you require by pressing the right number.

     

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    Instant access to special characters

      Instant access to special characters

      Tweet selected text instantly

      On Macs running Mountain Lion and later, you can tweet almost any text on your Mac easily. Select the text, right click it, and select Tweet (sometimes you may find it in the “services” sub menu). That’s it. Try it now on one of these hacks!

      Tweeting by right clicking

        Tweeting by right clicking

        Repair disk permissions

        When your Mac shuts down unexpectedly or a third party installer has been run, your Mac’s folder and file permissions can get a little screwed up. Generally, you won’t notice but it can affect the performance of your system. Launch the “Disk Utility” application, found in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder.

        Repair disk permissions

          Repair disk permissions

          Summary

          I really hope that you find these useful. I know I certainly do. Of course there’s hundreds more hacks, if you have any more that you think I’ve missed, are more importnant, or that we should know about please share them in the comments.

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          Last Updated on June 17, 2019

          40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

          40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

          Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

          There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

          Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

          It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

          For Getting Things Done

          1. OmniFocus

          This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

          Download it here.

            2. Forest

            Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

            Download it here.

              3. Things

              Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

              Download it here.

                4. 30/30

                Recently covered here at Lifehack

                , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                Download it here.

                  5. Any.Do

                  A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                  Download it here.

                    6. PocketLife Calendar

                    This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                    Download it here.

                      7. Asana

                      We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                      , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                      Download it here.

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                        8. ToDoist

                        This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                        Download it here.

                          9. FlowTasks

                          From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                          Download it here.

                            10. Calendars 5

                            This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                            Download it here.

                              11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                              A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                              Download it here.

                                12. Due

                                A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                Download it here.

                                  13. Checkmark 2

                                  I use this app

                                  for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                  Download it here.

                                    14. TeuxDeux

                                    Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                    Download it here.

                                      15. Wunderlist 

                                      Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                      Download it here.

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                                        16. Nirvana

                                        For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                        Download it here.

                                          17. Priorities

                                          An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                          Download it here.

                                            For Building Habits

                                            18. Productive

                                            With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                            Download it here.

                                              19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                              You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                              Download it here.

                                                20. Streaks

                                                This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  21. Remember The Milk

                                                  Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    22. Day One Journal

                                                    When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      For Files Organization

                                                      23. Evernote

                                                      Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        24. Pocket

                                                        You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                        Download it here.

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                                                          25. Sync.Me

                                                          This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            26. Droplr

                                                            One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              27. Dropbox

                                                              Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                28. iDolly 

                                                                In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  29. Soulver

                                                                  It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    For Working Smarter

                                                                    30. Captio

                                                                    A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      31. Drafts

                                                                      A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                        This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                        Download it here.

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                                                                          33. Doodle

                                                                          This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                            I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                              A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                36. GoodReader

                                                                                This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  37. LogMeIn

                                                                                  Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    For Improving Security

                                                                                    38. 1Password

                                                                                    There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                      You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                      All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        40. Truecallers

                                                                                        Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                          More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                          Reference

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