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Things You Need to Know About Mac OS X Yosemite (OS 10.10)

Things You Need to Know About Mac OS X Yosemite (OS 10.10)

The newest operating system for Apple Mac computers, OS X Yosemite (OS 10.10), brings a slew of impressive new features. The free update boasts exciting steps forward for users, especially for those with other Apple devices in addition to their Mac desktop. Since this update makes the most of multiple Apple devices, it may seem intimidating. However, the newest features are designed to integrate seamlessly with the programs you already use, so moving forward should be a breeze. To make the transition effortless for you, here are the top 10 things you need to know about Mac OS X Yosemite.

1. Added Mail Functions

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    The new and improved mail client in OS X Yosemite includes an intelligent way to add text and shapes to images or PDFs. This eliminates the need for an extra program to mark up or annotate these types of files. Not only that, you can also sign PDF forms right in Mail. You can quickly use your trackpad to draw your signature with your finger, or even capture it using the camera on your Mac.

    2. Handoff

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      Perhaps the most talked about new feature in OS X Yosemite is the ability to “hand off” files between your devices. With Handoff, emails, documents, notes, reminders, and many other programs let you switch devices smoothly without needing to email yourself or remember a web address.

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      3. Screen Sharing and Airdrop

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        The new OS X Yosemite also integrates screen sharing using your Apple ID. With screen sharing you can share what is on any Apple device with any other Apple device. This means you can now pair your computer with your Apple TV, iPad, or iPhone wirelessly, just by entering your Apple ID. Additionally, Apple’s simple system of transferring files wirelessly between mobile devices now works with desktop too. Known as Airdrop, sending files between desktop and mobile is easy, even if an app or program doesn’t support Handoff.

        4. Access Maps Anywhere

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          On top of Handoff and Airdrop, one little-known tool that OS X Yosemite brings to the table is sure to be a real time saver. Maps, the desktop version of Apple Maps, now pairs effortlessly with your Apple mobile device. This means you can view directions you previously looked up on your computer using only your device on the go. This eliminates the need to save or email a copy of directions, plus you can view locations or directions you previously searched on any of your Apple devices connected to your Apple ID.

          5. Text

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            Another new exciting feature in OS X Yosemite is the ability to send and receive text messages. Similar to Handoff, you can read messages sent to your iPhone on your Mac (regardless of whether your friend uses Apple products). Impressively, you can click a number in Address Book, Calendar, Mail or Messages and your computer will automatically make a phone call using your iPhone.

            6. Phone

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              This powerful connectivity with your phone also works the other way around: if a friend calls your iPhone, you can answer it directly from your computer. Sure to maximize your productivity, OS X Yosemite also lets you start a call on one device and finish it on another. Plus, OS X Yosemite includes a way to merge two calls to start a conference call, and your computer rings with the same ring tones assigned to the contacts in your phone. Finally, clicking a contact on your computer from any program also brings up the option to FaceTime that friend instead of call. You can also answer phone calls from a friend with Apple devices with video, immediately converting any call to FaceTime.

              7. Spotlight

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                This OS update also brings impressive new features to Mac’s native search client called Spotlight. Now when you press that magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of your screen, you will not only be able to search your files, applications and emails, you will also be able to find nearby movie showtimes, unit conversions, books, news, and even Wikipedia entries.

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                8. Family Sharing

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                  One new feature designed with families in mind seeks to make many things easier around the house. Family Sharing lets you set up one account with up to five other family members. Members simply agree to an email that makes them part of the group. Immediately, everyone in the group is able to access each other’s purchased music, movies, TV shows, books and shared information from apps. In addition, a family calendar is automatically set up in Calendar so each member of the group sees the same thing. Each member can edit or add dates on the calendar. iPhoto also lets users create a shared family photo album, and parents can set up alerts to control kids’ App Store purchases. Finally, the reminders app automatically includes a shared list for your family group. Each person receives alerts for a reminder set, and can edit or add reminders themselves. Especially for busy families, this stands to make scheduling and day-to-day life much easier.

                  9. Night Mode

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                    Another lesser-known feature with OS X is a new way to display your desktop. Perhaps most helpful for those in photo and video environments, you can now set the dock and menu bar to a “Night Mode,” making viewing the screen in the dark easier. Now there’s finally a way to make long nights of studying, emailing, or editing less strenuous on your eyes.

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                    10. Safari History

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                      Last but not least, some major improvements come to Apple’s newest version of Safari. Safari now lets you access your web browsing history from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch via iCloud. You can also view the open tabs and history from all of your Apple devices. In addition, the browser now plays videos from most websites without needing additional plug-ins.

                      Learn more about OS X Yosemite with Apple’s complete list of features.

                      Featured photo credit: Mike Deerkoski via flickr.com

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                      Alicia Prince

                      A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on July 29, 2020

                      19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                      19 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:

                      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.

                            Download: Bear

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                            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!

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                                            Download: Flux

                                            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

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                                                  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.

                                                    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

                                                        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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