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28 keyboard shortcuts Mac users need to know

I’m sure most Mac users know Command-C means copy and Command-V means paste, but there’s a host of other useful shortcuts that make a Mac user’s life much easier. I’ve assembled this short collection to illustrate this truth:

Esc

Never underestimate the power of the Esc key to get you out of trouble. Say you’re taking a screen shot and managed to select part of your screen for that shot, only to discover it’s the wrong part – tap Esc and you won’t need to worry about it. That’s basically the principle of Esc. Use it to cancel a previous command. Another example: Web page won’t load and is sucking up your system resources?

Tap Esc….

Command-W

Closes the active window you are currently in. Use Option-Command-W to close all currently active app windows.

Command-Y

A lot of people use QuickLook to preview items they’re looking for. To use QuickLook, select an item in Finder, press the Space bar and a preview will appear. There’s also a keyboard shortcut — select an item (you can even use the Up and Down arrows to navigate to it in Finder view) and then press Command-Y.

Command – Comma (,)

This is one of the least-known keyboard commands on a Mac, but it’s super useful. It works like this: You are working in an app, and you want to open the application’s Preferences. You can navigate to the Menu bar if you like and scroll through to access the Preferences. Or you can simply press Command-, (comma) to get to them in the fastest possible time.

Command-G

I’m sure you use Command-F to find items, such as words in a document or on a webpage. Command-G is its lesser-known relative. Use it to navigate through each instance of the item you want to find. This means that if you use Command-F to find all the mentions of ‘Command’ on this page, and then tap Command-G, you’ll be able to navigate through each one. Oh, and you can also press Shift-Command-G to move back to the previous mention.

Command-M

Press this combination to minimize the front app window to Dock, or press Command-Option-M to minimize all the windows belonging to the front app.

Command and Option

If you can’t see your desktop for all the open applications, just hold Command and Option down and click anywhere on your desktop. You may just want to get to all the open windows for a specific app, in which case hold down the same keys and click on any available window for that app.

Command-Shift-A

Select this combination when in Finder/Desktop view to get to your Applications folder, or replace the A with U to open your Utilities folder in a new Finder window (or D for Desktop, H for Home or I to access iCloud Drive).

Command-Space

The combination that can change your life, Command-Space invokes Spotlight, just depress these keys and start typing your query. (I guess you know about Command-tab already?)

Command-L

The fastest way to make a search or navigate to a Website in Safari, Command-L instantly selects the address bar: start typing your query, and select the appropriate choice using the up/down arrows on the keyboard.

Command-Tab

Open application switcher, keeping Command pressed, use Tab to navigate to the app you hope to use.

Command-Option-D

Show or hide the Dock from within most apps.

Fn-left arrow (or right arrow)

Jump directly to the top or bottom of a web page using the Function key and the right (to the bottom of the page) or left (to the top of the page) arrows on the keyboard. You can achieve a similar result using Command-Up or Command-Down. A third way is to use Control-Tab and Control-Shift-Tab.

Command-left/right arrows

Hit Command and the left arrow to go back a page in the browser window. Hit Command right to go forward again.

Tab nav

Navigate between multiple tabs using the Command-Shift-] or Command-Shift-[ characters.

Command-Shift-

The easiest way to see all your open tabs in one Safari window.

Option-Shift-Volume

Press Option-Shift and volume up/down to increase or decrease the volume on your Mac in small increments. You can also use Option-Shift to change display brightness in small amounts. Read even more Option secrets here.

Fn twice

Press the function (fn) key twice to launch Dictation on your Mac, start speaking, and press fn once you’ve finished. Here are some other ideas on controlling your Mac with your voice. NB: macOS Catalina now offers the far more powerful Voice Control, which lets you manage everything on your Mac using only your voice. Find out more about this here.

Option-File

In Safari, pressing the Option key while selecting the File menu lets you access the ‘Close Other Tabs’ command. Try the other Safari menu items with Option depressed to find other commands you probably weren’t aware of.

Option-Brightness Up (or down)

Use this command to quickly launch Displays preferences. Or press Option with the Mission Control or Volume (up/down) buttons to access preferences for Mission Control and Sounds.

Command – Backtick `

This is one of the least well-known keyboard commands on a Mac, but it’s super useful. Use this combination to move between open windows in your currently active app. It’s so useful you’ll wonder why you hadn’t used it before.

Control – Command – Space

Want to insert emoji or other symbols into what you write? Use Control-Command-Space to open the Character Viewer where you can select and use such symbols.

Touch Bar tip No. 1

If you use a MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar, you can press Shift-Command-6 to grab an image of what is on your Touch Bar. Want to grab an image to place into the document you’re typing in? Just tap Control-Shift-Command-6 and the picture will be saved to your Clipboard for pasting it in.

Touch Bar tip No. 2

This MacBook Pro Touch Bar tip is particularly useful if you find that you often  accidentally tap the Siri button: You can change where that button is located so you’re less likely to tap it by accident. Open Keyboard Preferences and choose Customize Control Strip. Look at the Touch Bar, and you’ll see the icons are slightly agitated. Move your cursor to the bottom of your screen and keep moving (as if you’re moving it off the screen); you should see one of the items in your Touch bar highlighted. Now move your cursor to highlight the Siri button and then drag and drop that button a space or two to the left.

(This is also an excellent way to become familiar with how you can edit other items in your Touch Bar.)

Touch Bar tip No. 3

Do you use the function keys regularly in some apps? You can get to them, of course,  by pressing the ‘fn’ character. But it’s also possible to set up the Touch Bar so it always shows the function keys in those apps. To do this, open Keyboard System Preferences, select Function Keys, and tap +. You can then select the app(s). Don’t worry if you want to use a regular Control Strip command when you’re using one of the apps — just press Fn to get back to that view.

Safari tips

There are lots of keyboard tips for the Safari browser:

  • Command + I: Open new email message with content of a page.
  • Command + Shift + I: Open new email message containing only the URL of a page.
  • Spacebar: To move your window down one screen.
  • Shift+Spacebar: To move your window up one screen.
  • Command + Y: Open/close the History window.

Command + Shift + T

This web browser tip can sometimes be a lifesaver. Command + Shift + T will open your last closed tab, which helps a lot if you are researching something and close a window without saving the URL.

Command + Control + Q

Walking away from your Mac? Tap this shortcut to immediately lock your machine.

You can also take a look at Apple’s own extensive collection of keyboard shortcuts for more great ideas.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic’s Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I’d like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when fresh items are published here first on Computerworld.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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12 Mac tips for Thanksgiving

Adobe Analytics tells us AirPods and Apple notebooks are two of the top three electronics gifts this holiday season, so I thought a few Mac tips might come in useful as we get into holiday season.

Command-Space

I always mention Command-Space in all my hint collections. It’s the keyboard combination I use most on Macs (and iPads) to open search, where I can quickly find apps, content or even do quick sums.

Command-Tab

Use this to quickly move through your active applications.

5 Siri shortcuts

There are many ways to make use of Siri; here are five to save you time. 

  • Open [App name].
  • Turn up/down brightness or volume.
  • Find any named file.
  • Open System Preferences [name of preference]
  • What’s my Mac’s serial number?

Use those icons

Almost every document/file you work with will show a small icon at the top of the window beside the file name.

This tiny icon acts as a form of alias – you can drag-and-drop that alias (and hence the docment/file) into different folders on your Mac, the Dock, or even drop it into other apps – use it to place an image in a document, for example.

Text clippings

Got some text you use frequently? Select it and then drag it to the Desktop. You’ve created a text clipping. You’ll be able to place that text in other documents by dragging the snippet into the document.

How to save screengrabs in a different format

Your Mac saves screengrabs as PNG files by default – but I bet you use these to illustrate blog stories, send to people in messages and more and would prefer to save them as JPGs.

The great news is you can:

  • Ask Siri to open Terminal
  • Exactly as written, type: defaults writeapple.screencapture type JPG

Now you will save JPGs, not PNGs. Smaller files, easier to use.

Print in one swipe

Here’s how to print any document in one swipe, though first you need to set it up:

  • Open System Preferences>Printers & Scanners.
  • Look to the Printers list and select the printer you want to use.
  • Drag-&-drop the printer icon from the list to your Dock

The printer icon will now be in your Dock.

In future, all you need do to print any document you are in (or find in Spotlight) is drag-and-drop the document icon to the printer icon in the Dock.

Find those accents

If you need to type an accented character, such as è, just tap and hold the letter you want to add the accent to. After a short delay a menu that shows all available accented characters will appear, tap the one you want or type the corresponding number below the character to type it.

Use text clippings

As I wrote here, I make lots of use of text clippings. I think they are even better than keyboard shortcuts for pasting regularly used text into any app.

It’s very easy to make them – select the text you want to use and re-use, drag-&-drop the text to the Desktop and a text clipping will appear there containing the copy you want to use.

In future all you need to do is drag-&-drop that item from the Desktop into any app and your text will automatically be entered.

Where am I?

If you’ve used Spotlight to find a document it is possible you don’t know in which enclosing folder that document is situated. It’s easy to get this info – just Control-click the file name in the app title bar and you should see it there.

What the ¿

  • Shift + Option + ? = ¿
  • Option + Shift + k to type an Apple logo: 

Make forms great (?) again

Do you get annoyed because your Mac won’t accurately move between sections when you try to fill in forms? Go to System Preferences>Keyboard, and click the All controls radio button for Full Keyboard Access.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers – here’s some more tips for persual.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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3 Ways to Run Windows on Your Mac

Looking to run Windows on your Mac? There are a few different ways you can do it, each with its own pros and cons.

The best solution depends on what you want to use Windows for. Do you want to play video games? Need to use a specific Windows-based app? Or do you want a portable Windows system you can boot from any Mac?

We’ve explained all the ways you can run Windows on Mac below. Take a look to find out which method is best for you.

1. Dual Boot macOS and Windows Using Boot Camp

Boot Camp installation window setting partition size for Windows and Mac

Boot Camp is a built-in Mac utility you can use to install Windows. It partitions your hard drive into two sections, with Windows on one side and macOS on the other.

We call this a dual boot system, because you can boot into either macOS or Windows. But you can’t use both operating systems at once, which means you need to reboot your Mac whenever you want to switch.

The upside is you get great performance on both operating systems because it only needs to run one at a time. In some cases, a Mac running Windows through Boot Camp is faster than a dedicated Windows computer.

A dual boot system is the best option if you want to play computer games, edit videos, render graphics, or perform any other resource-intensive tasks.

How to Get Windows on Your Mac Using Boot Camp

With a Mac and an internet connection, you already have everything you need to install and run Windows using Boot Camp. Although, if your Mac came out before 2015, you also need to create a USB Boot Camp installer


How to Install Windows 10 on Your Mac With Boot Camp




How to Install Windows 10 on Your Mac With Boot Camp

Want to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp? Here’s a complete guide to installing Windows 10 on macOS that’ll walk you through it.
Read More

.

Before getting started, make sure you have at least 64GB free on your startup disk. You need this much space for the Windows operating system and any content you want to use with it.

When you’re ready, download the latest version of Windows as an ISO disk image from Microsoft’s Download Windows 10 page.

Next, open Boot Camp Assistant. You’ll find it inside Utilities in the Applications folder on your Mac, but it’s faster to search with Spotlight (Cmd + Space) to open it. Follow the on-screen prompts to partition your hard drive, download Windows support drivers, and install your dual boot system.

When the Boot Camp installation finishes, restart your Mac and hold Option while it powers up. It should give you the choice to boot into macOS or Windows.

Boot Camp Windows or macOS option screen

2. Run Windows in a Virtual Machine on Your Mac

Parallels running Windows on a MacA virtual machine (VM) runs Windows inside macOS. There’s no need to partition your hard drive and no need to reboot your Mac whenever you want to switch operating systems.

Using a VM means both Windows and macOS are running on your Mac at the same time, so the performance isn’t as good as a dual boot system. However, the added convenience of using Windows apps alongside macOS apps is usually enough to make up for that loss.

You’ve got a few different VM options if you want to install Windows on your Mac:

Parallels and VMware Fusion are premium services that make it easy to install and run Windows with a bunch of Mac-friendly features. VirtualBox is more complicated to set up and has fewer features, but it’s free.

How to Install a Windows Virtual Machine on Your Mac

Setting up VirtualBox takes a little bit of time and effort, but you can use our comprehensive VirtualBox guide


How to Use VirtualBox: User’s Guide




How to Use VirtualBox: User’s Guide

With VirtualBox you can easily install and test multiple operating systems. We’ll show you how to set up Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux as a virtual machine.
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to walk you through it.

Otherwise, Parallels and VMware Fusion are quick and easy to set up. Parallels is generally considered the best option for running Windows on a Mac, but both apps offer a range of attractive features. Take a look at our overview of Parallels


Run Windows on Your Mac With Parallels Desktop 15




Run Windows on Your Mac With Parallels Desktop 15

Need to run Windows apps on a Mac? Here’s our look at Parallels Desktop, one of the best software solutions for the job.
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to see what you get.

Buy a license or download a free trial for the software of your choice. Then follow the on-screen instructions to install and set up your Windows VM.Parallels installation on a Mac downloading Windows 10

3. Run Windows To Go From an External Drive Using WinToUSB

Windows To Go booted from USB external drive on a Mac

Windows To Go is a feature that lets you install a Windows system on an external hard drive, which you can then boot into from any Mac. The immediate benefits are that it doesn’t take up any space on your internal hard drive and it offers a huge amount of portability.

Using Windows To Go is similar to a dual boot system, except Windows runs from an entirely different drive instead of a separate partition. That means you still need to reboot your Mac whenever you want to switch operating systems.

Unfortunately, Windows To Go systems are limited by the data transfer and read/write speed of your external drive and the port they’re connected to. They also take a bit of setting up.

Ideally, you should use a USB 3.0 drive with a write speed of at least 50MB/s. You also need to make sure you connect it to a USB 3.0 port on your Mac for the fastest connection.

USB 3.0 micro cable

How to Install Windows To Go for Mac on an External Drive

While Microsoft deprecated the official Windows To Go feature in 2019, you can still use an equivalent setup thanks to third-party software. Nowadays, the easiest way to install Windows To Go on your external drive is with WinToUSB.

This free app is Windows-based, so you need to use a Windows computer or a VM to temporarily install it on your Mac. If you don’t have a Windows machine handy, we suggest you use the free trial of Parallels or VMware Fusion for this.

You also need to download support files from Boot Camp to ensure your Mac hardware works with Windows. Open Boot Camp Assistant in macOS and select Action > Download Windows Support Software from the menu bar.

Download Windows Support Software option from Boot Camp menu bar

When the support files finish downloading, copy and paste them into your VM.

Now connect your external drive and open Disk Utility on your Mac. Erase and reformat the drive as macOS Extended (Journaled) with a GUID Partition Map scheme. Once that’s done, eject and reconnect it to your VM.

Windows To Go external drive format settings in Disk Utility

In your VM, download the Windows ISO disk image and install WinToUSB.

Right-click the Start button to open Disk Management and select your external drive. Here, right-click the primary partition of the drive and click Delete volume, then right-click again and create a New simple volume. Set the file system to NFTS.

Open WinToUSB and select your external drive as the destination for Windows. Choose your boot and system partitions and select Legacy mode for the installation.

WinToUSB installing Windows To Go on an external hard drive

After WinToUSB installs Windows on your external drive, use File Explorer to copy across the Windows Support folder from Boot Camp Assistant.

Finally, restart your Mac and hold Option while it powers on to boot Windows To Go from your external drive. Open the Windows Support folder and go to Boot Camp > Setup.

This installs the necessary drivers for Windows to work with your Mac.

Use Windows Apps on Mac Without Installing Windows

Dual boot systems, virtual machines, and a Windows To Go setup are the best ways to run Windows on your Mac. But these are all a lot of work if you only need to use a single Windows app.

If this is the case for you, take a look at compatibility layers, like Wine or Crossover, instead. They let you run Windows apps from your Mac


The Easiest Way to Run Windows Programs on Mac




The Easiest Way to Run Windows Programs on Mac

Running Windows software on your Mac isn’t as tough as you’d think. Here are the most popular ways to run Windows programs on macOS, including the best method for most people.
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without installing the entire operating system.



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Sound Not Working on Your Mac? Easy Fixes for Audio Problems

Audio glitches, internal components making strange sounds, problems with connecting an external audio device, or sound not working at all are some of the common Mac sound issues you may encounter.

At times, misconfigured apps or settings can result in static in your audio output, inability to change the volume, lack of stereo output, or even no output at all. Here’s a list of fixes to resolve sound problems on your Mac.

No Sound on Mac? Check the Volume First

Mac volume control through menu bar

Before you spend all day resolving a non-existent issue, check the volume and make sure it’s not muted. Press and hold the F12 button to increase the volume, or use the slider in the menu bar to adjust it.

Additionally, check your computer’s audio port to ensure that you haven’t forgotten about any connected headphones or other external devices.

Choose the Right Audio Device

If your Mac’s sound is still not working after the basic troubleshooting above, we’ll next find whether the sound problem is system-wide or only in a particular app.

When you can’t hear anything after plugging in your headphones, microphone, or any other external device, you must check the input/output audio device settings. Sometimes your Mac might select the wrong device due to incorrect configuration, driver incompatibility, conflicts, or other reasons.

From the Apple menu, launch System Preferences and select Sound. Jump to the Input tab to check the input audio device settings. Make sure you have the correct input device for your audio selected.

Mac choose the right input audio device

Repeat the same procedure for the output audio device settings. A common mistake is unknowingly having a Bluetooth device connected, so audio plays to that instead of through your Mac’s speakers.

Mac choose the right output audio device

Sometimes simply switching from one output to another can also fix the problem. Also, try unplugging and reconnecting your audio devices. Remember to uncheck the Mute option and adjust the output again.

You’ll get a better view of all output devices through the Audio MIDI Setup utility. Open the app (search for it using Spotlight with Cmd + Space) and choose Built-in Output. In here, you can configure the audio channel, bit-depth, format, and rate.

If your sound is acting funny, tweak the audio settings. After you’ve made changes, quit the app and try playing your audio again.

configure settings in Audio MIDI Setup utility

Reset Core Audio

Apple’s documentation defines Core Audio as a set of software frameworks designed to handle the audio needs in apps. This includes recording, editing, playback, signal processing, compression and decompression, and more.

On Mac, coreaudiod is the launchdaemon that powers Core Audio. Daemons typically run as root in the background, whether you’re logged in or not. Their process names end with the letter “d”. We’ve covered more about launchdaemons and their implications on macOS


How to Catch and Remove Hidden LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents on Mac




How to Catch and Remove Hidden LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents on Mac

LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents, which launch software automatically at login, can have a dark side. Here’s how to monitor them and keep yourself safe.
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if you’re interested.

If the sound stops working or becomes distorted (crackling or noisy), then restarting the coreaudiod process should solve your problem. This effectively resets the sound on your Mac, and you can quit the processes in two ways.

One is to open Activity Monitor, type coreaudiod in the search box at the top-right, and click the Force Quit button to manually kill the process.

quit coreaudiod process in Activity Monitor

The other method is to launch Terminal and type the following command:

sudo killall coreaudiod

Press Return, input your administrator password, and check your sound again.

quit coreaudiod process in Terminal

The coreaudiod process should restart via either method. In rare cases, if it does not restart, you may not hear any sound at all. In this case, shut down and restart your Mac.

If rebooting isn’t an option at the moment, use this Terminal command instead:

sudo launchctl start com.apple.audio.coreaudiod

The launchctl command starts the daemon and reinitializes the coreaudiod process.

Sound Not Working Due to Third-Party App Issues

Third-party plugins that integrate with your system can cause the sound on your Mac to not work correctly. Music producers and audio engineers are cautious of this, because there are often hardware and software incompatibilities with a new release of macOS. While developers are usually quick and responsive to issue app updates, the operating system itself can be a major headache.

With the release of macOS Catalina, every audio unit plugin must be “notarized” by Apple’s security systems. Non-notarized apps are not allowed to run on Catalina, meaning that any older audio plugin will not work at all.

Also, macOS Mojave was the last release to support 32-bit apps. We’ve covered how to check for 32-bit apps


How to See Which 32-Bit Apps May Stop Working on Your Mac Soon




How to See Which 32-Bit Apps May Stop Working on Your Mac Soon

If you use a Mac, you should know which apps on your system are 32-bit and likely to run into compatibility issues soon.
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on your Mac before you upgrade.

Points to Consider With Third-Party Apps

With so many creative audio apps available for Mac, it’s not possible to describe exact solutions for each app. Here are some general points to consider for fixing Mac sound problems with specific apps:

  1. Check the desired output device in Audio MIDI Setup utility as mentioned above. Launch the app and right-click the Built-in Output option to see the list of devices. Toggle the output device selection to correct configuration problems, if any.
  2. Every audio app stores a profile in the Audio MIDI Setup utility. If you see any errors like “Error in the sound driver of Core Audio,” delete the profile and restart the app.
  3. Mix multiple audio interfaces by creating an Aggregate Device. This increases the number of audio inputs and outputs and reduces the chance of any configuration-related errors. See Apple’s help page on Aggregate Devices for help.

Update macOS

Updating macOS using Mojave

Every macOS release comes with new features and improvements. Under the hood, you’ll notice many changes in kernel frameworks, audio drivers, Unix tools, and more. But often, people complain about new bugs aswell. USB-related audio issues in 2018 Macs were quite common in Apple’s discussion forums.

The macOS Mojave release notes highlighted some improvements. In macOS 10.14.4, Apple improved the reliability of USB audio issues used with the MacBook Air, Pro, and Mac Mini. And in macOS 10.14.5, Apple fixed the audio latency on MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018.

So if you’re having sound problems, updating your OS is a good solution. However, if you work with a dedicated audio workstation, it makes sense to install updates on other Macs before applying them to your production machine. You should also keep a backup of audio files in case something goes wrong.

Reset NVRAM

NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) is a small amount of memory that your Mac uses to store various types of settings, including sound volume, display resolution, start-up disk selection, the time zone, and more. Resetting the NVRAM can help clear up glitches with these and other attributes.

Follow our guide to resetting NVRAM and the SMC on your Mac


How to Do an SMC and PRAM/NVRAM Reset on Your Mac




How to Do an SMC and PRAM/NVRAM Reset on Your Mac

A reset of the SMC and PRAM/NVRAM can help any Mac, including MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, run smoothly again.
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to try this.

Problems With External Devices

Sometimes when you connect an external device (like an HDMI TV), the sound will continue to come from your internal speakers. Bizarrely, the connection still results in a perfect picture. And the connected HDMI device won’t show up in Preferences > Sound > Output.

First, check the cable’s connection and inspect the HDMI cable for any physical defects. Even tiny flaws can cause problems, so you should try an alternate cable.

Ensure that your equipment is compatible. Some older components might be unable to receive audio via an HDMI connection, even though your Mac and other devices can play sound through it. Note that older MacBook models (around mid-2010) do not support passing audio through Mini DisplayPort.

Navigate to Sound > Sound Effects. In the Play sound effects through section, click the dropdown menu and choose your connected device.

adjust the sound effects setting

Restart your Mac. Afterward, open Sound > Output in System Preferences and select your TV from the Select a device for sound output section.

select HDMI tv from the output tab

Finally, launch the Audio MIDI Setup app once again. Select the HDMI option from the left panel and choose your TV from the Output tab. If you cannot see the speaker icon next to HDMI, click the cog button and select Use this device for sound output.

choose the correct output device for HDMI tv

Check Hardware and Ports

If after checking all these software aspects, you’re still facing sound problems on your Mac, then you should examine all ports. This includes Thunderbolt, HDMI, USB, and headphone (or microphone) sockets.

Detach all wired accessories connected to your system. While doing this, check the integrity of the cables to make sure nothing is frayed or split. Then shut down your Mac and plug in one peripheral at a time after each restart. Try playing your audio each time.

With this thorough check, you’ll figure out if there are any problems with your hardware, cables, or ports. If you use headphones and hear crackling noise, examine the socket. Modern Macs display a red light inside to warn of blocked sockets. Clean the jack, then connect your headphones and adjust the volume level to address the problem.

Reset Your Mac’s Sound and Move On

Troubleshooting sound issues on your Mac is not always easy. macOS lacks a comprehensive set of tools to diagnose and fix the problem. Thus, you’re left with trial and error and your judgment on finding the source of the problem. Hopefully, these tips will start to guide you through all the steps.

Sound issues aren’t the only problem you can have on macOS. You should know other warning signs of Mac problems


5 Warning Signs Your Mac Has a Problem (And What to Do About Them)




5 Warning Signs Your Mac Has a Problem (And What to Do About Them)

Your Mac often gives warning signs that it’s about to run into a problem. Here ‘s what to do for several common Mac red flags.
Read More

so you can spot them early.



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5 Easy Ways to Infect Your Mac With Malware

Most Mac users don’t worry about security too much. Since the majority of malware targets Windows and macOS does a good job of keeping you safe out of the box, it’s easy to get complacent.

However, there are Mac security threats in the wild, and many of them come from user behaviors. Here are some dangerous practices than can infect your Mac with malicious software.

1. Download Dangerous or Pirated Software

Mac Gatekeeper Warning

The easiest way to mess up your system is to install sketchy Mac apps from random corners of the web.

In many cases, distributors of pirated software are only interested in making paid tools available for free. However, you can never fully trust cracked software, as there’s no telling what someone could have added into the package along the way. Indeed, many historical examples of macOS malware have arrived in pirated software downloads.

The safest places to install Mac apps are the Mac App Store and directly from trusted developers. By default, macOS’s Gatekeeper feature will only let you run apps from authorized developers, and displays a warning if you try to run an untrusted app.

Often, a legitimate developer might not have the money to register with Apple. You can step around this warning when that happens, but it’s important to make sure you trust the app when you do this.

2. Neglect App and macOS Updates

Mac-Up to Date

Everyone gets tired of seeing prompts to update their Mac or its software. But leaving your system unpatched makes you much more susceptible to attack.

Often, macOS system updates fix known vulnerabilities to keep you safe. If you continue to run an outdated version for months, you could fall victim to an attack that Apple has long since patched. Keeping yourself on the latest OS version means you’re one step ahead of malicious actors.

This is also the case for apps on your computer, especially your browser. There have been historical cases where popular Mac apps became infected with malware, such as the BitTorrent client Transmission in 2016. People who had the app on their system but never bothered to update it were open to attack for some time.

Thankfully, macOS makes it easy to update your apps and system. On macOS Mojave and newer, open the App Store and check the Updates tab to download new versions of App Store apps. You’ll find macOS software updates under System Preferences > Software Update.

For apps downloaded from other sources, you’ll need to open them and check for updates manually. You’ll usually find a Check for updates under the Help or app menu. At other times, you’ll find it in the app menu on the About [app] page.

3. Run Flash Player and Java

Once upon a time, browser plugins like Flash Player and Java were essential parts of the web, as they enabled you to enjoy multimedia content on all sorts of sites. However, with today’s web, these runtimes have fallen out of favor and barely anyone needs to use them.

Very few websites require Java or Flash now. Adobe plans to retire Flash at the end of 2020, and nearly all browsers have blocked Java for years. So you likely haven’t opened yourself up to attack in this way, but it’s still wise to check if you’re using these plugins and remove them if so.

To check, open System Preferences under the Apple menu. If you see an entry for Flash Player or Java, you have it installed.

Uninstalling Flash Player on Mac

Get rid of Flash Player by visiting Adobe’s Mac Flash Player uninstall page. Under the Download the Adobe Flash Player uninstaller header, click the download text next to Mac OS X, version 10.6 and later. Run the tool and it will remove Flash Player.

To complete uninstallation, you should also remove the following files from your user directory:

[USER]/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player
[USER]/Library/Caches/Adobe/Flash Player

How to Remove Java From Your Mac

Removing Java from macOS is a bit more complicated than installing it. First, press Cmd + Space to launch Spotlight search and open Terminal. Once the Terminal window is open, paste each of the below commands one at a time and press Enter to run them:

sudo rm -fr /Library/internet Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin
sudo rm -fr /Library/PreferencePanes/JavaControlPanel.prefPane
sudo rm -fr ~/Library/Application Support/Oracle/Java

We’ve looked further at why Java isn’t as big of a security risk nowadays


Why Java Is Less of a Security Risk Now on Windows, Mac, and Linux




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if you’re interested.

4. Disable Your Mac’s Built-in Protections

SIP Protection in Terminal

As we mentioned earlier, macOS has several built-in layers of protection. One of these, System Integrity Protection (SIP), was introduced with OS X El Capitan. Essentially, SIP prevents users and programs from making changes


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What Is SIP? macOS System Integrity Protection Explained

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to core parts of the OS.

The addition of SIP stopped a lot of Mac deep system tweaks from working. As a result, you might look to disable SIP so you can use these old tools again. While it is possible to disable, doing so is a bad idea, as turning off SIP drastically reduces your security.

With no barrier to your protected OS files, malware could get in and wreak havoc. There are certain troubleshooting circumstances where you do need to turn off SIP for a short time, but you should always turn it back on right away to reduce risk to your system.

This is also the case for Gatekeeper, the feature that prevents unauthorized apps from running on your system. As mentioned, macOS allows you to allow apps only from the App Store, or from the App Store and identified developers. You can enable an Anywhere option using the Terminal, but this isn’t a good idea.

It’s smarter to run potentially untrusted apps on an as-needed basis so you don’t accidentally let something slip through.

5. Ignore Basic Signs of Danger

Just because you use a Mac doesn’t mean you should neglect to follow basic security practices. While it’s not as easy to accidentally pick up something nasty on a Mac, you should still keep an eye out for common forms of online attack


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.

Don’t click links or attachments in emails unless you’re sure you trust them. And avoid clicking fake links or popups that prompt you to install updates.

You should also know how to find malware on your Mac. If you think you might have done something that opened up your Mac to attack, run an anti-malware scan with a tool like Malwarebytes for Mac.

It’s also smart to be aware of widespread security vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre, or the KRACK Wi-Fi exploit. While these don’t solely affect macOS, they still open Mac users up to attack in other ways.

It’s Up to You to Avoid macOS Malware

As we’ve seen, most Mac users will hopefully never run into a malware attack. The biggest threats to your system come from third-party software, so it’s vital to vet what you allow on your computer. A bit of proactive thought will help keep your system safe in the long run.

Think your Mac is already infected? Find out how to check if your Mac has a virus


3 Signs Your Mac Is Infected With a Virus (And How to Check)




3 Signs Your Mac Is Infected With a Virus (And How to Check)

If your Mac is acting weird, it could be infected with a virus. How can you check for a virus on your Mac? We’ll show you.
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.



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The Ulysses Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet for Mac

Ulysses is without doubt one of the best distraction-free Markdown editors for your Mac. You can use it to manage all kinds of writing projects in a streamlined manner.

As you’d expect from a powerful, versatile app like Ulysses, there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts to speed up navigation and other app-related actions. And while you can discover the shortcuts as you go about using the app, it’s much easier to have them ready to go in a single location.

That’s why we’ve come up with this cheat sheet, which you can save to your desktop for quick access. It contains all the keyboard shortcuts you need to manage various views, panels, and modes in Ulysses and switch between them effortlessly. You’ll also find several shortcuts for text editing.

With all these shortcuts at your fingertips, you probably won’t need to take your hands off the keyboard at all when you write in Ulysses!

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Ulysses Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet for Mac.

The Ulysses Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet for Mac

Shortcut Action
Sheets, Groups, and Views
Cmd + N Create new sheet
Shift + Cmd + N Create new group
Control + Cmd + N Create new filter
Option + Cmd + N Open new window
Cmd + T Open new tab
Cmd + O Show Quick Open panel to open from Library
Shift + Cmd + O Show Quick Open panel to open from current group
Option + Cmd + O Show Quick Open panel to open from current selection
¹Cmd + Return (Enter) Reveal selected sheet in group
Control + Tab Switch to next tab
Shift + Control + Tab Switch to previous tab
Cmd + D Add sheet to Favorites OR
Remove sheet from Favorites
Cmd + S Save current version of sheet and create new version
Cmd + J Glue selected sheets
Shift + Cmd + B Split sheet at selection
²Shift + Cmd + P Open Export preview for selected sheet/group
³Cmd + R Refresh preview window
Space OR
Right Arrow
Jump to next page in preview
Shift + Space OR
Left Arrow
Jump to previous page in preview
Down Arrow Scroll down in preview
Up Arrow Scroll up in preview
Cmd + P Print current sheet
Cmd + Delete Move sheet to Trash
⁴Option + Cmd + Delete Erase sheet
Cmd + W Close current tab
Shift + Cmd + W Close current window
⁵Shift + Cmd + K Open panel to attach keyword(s) to selected sheet
Cmd + , (Comma) Open Ulysses Preferences
⁶Cmd + 1 Switch focus to Library OR
Toggle Library view
⁶Cmd + 2 Switch focus to Sheets OR
Toggle Sheet List view
⁶Cmd + 3 Switch focus to Editor OR
Switch to Editor Only view
Cmd + 4 Toggle Attachments view
⁷Cmd + 5 Switch to Favorites group
Cmd + 6 Show Quick Export panel
Cmd + 7 Show Statistics panel
Cmd + 8 Show Navigation panel
Cmd + 9 Show Markup panel
Cmd + F Show Find panel
Option + Cmd + F Show Find and Replace panel
⁸Cmd + E Search for selection
Cmd + G Find next match in search results
Shift + Cmd + G Find previous match in search results
⁹Shift + Cmd + F Show Sheet List search box
¹⁰Esc Hide Find panel OR
Hide Find and Replace panel OR
Hide Sheet List search panel
Control + Cmd + Space Open Emoji & Symbols panel or Character Viewer
Option + Cmd + X Toggle Dark Theme
Option + Cmd + L Toggle Dark Mode
Option + Cmd + T Toggle Typewriter Mode
Control + Cmd + F Toggle Full Screen Mode
Cmd + M Minimize Window
Control + Cmd + Z Zoom Window
Option + Cmd + 3 ¹¹Toggle second editor in Split View
Option + Scroll Scroll simultaneously in both editors in Split View
Cmd + Left Arrow Switch focus from Sheet List to Library
Cmd + Right Arrow Switch focus from Library to Sheet List OR
Switch focus from Sheet List to Editor
Right Arrow Open selected group in Library
Option + Cmd + Up Arrow Select previous sheet
Option + Cmd + Down Arrow Select next sheet
Option + Cmd + Right Arrow Move through panes from left to right
Option + Cmd + Left Arrow Move through panes from right to left
Cmd + Drag Force copy sheet/group
Option + Drag Force move sheet/group
Text Editing
Cmd + (Back Slash) Increase heading level
Shift + Cmd + (Back Slash) Decrease heading level
Cmd + Left Arrow Jump to start of line
Cmd + Right Arrow Jump to end of line
Cmd + Up Arrow Jump to start of sheet
Cmd + Down Arrow Jump to end of sheet
Option + Left Arrow Jump to previous word
Option + Right Arrow Jump to next word
Option + Up Arrow Jump to start of paragraph
Option + Down Arrow Jump to end of paragraph
Control + Cmd + Up Arrow Move current/selected line up
Control + Cmd + Down Arrow Move current/selected line down
Option + Delete Delete current word
Cmd + Delete Delete current line
Cmd + B Emphasize following/selected text
Cmd + I Italicize following/selected text
Cmd + K Create link
Cmd + L Remove markup for current line or for selected text
Tab Increase indentation
Shift + Tab Decrease indentation
(Back Slash) [text] Don’t apply markup to following text
Cmd + Z Undo typing
Shift + Cmd + Z Redo typing
Cmd + X Cut selected text
Cmd + C Copy selected text
Cmd + V Paste selected text
Cmd + A Select all text in Editor
Option + Cmd + C Copy selected text as Markdown
Option + Cmd + V Paste from Markdown
Option + Shift + Cmd + V Paste as Plain Text
(img) Open panel to insert image
(fn) Open panel to insert footnote
Cmd + + (Plus) Increase zoom
Cmd + – (Minus) Decrease zoom
Cmd + 0 Revert to default zoom
Cmd + ; (Semicolon) Spellcheck document
Shift + Cmd + ; (Semicolon) Show Spelling and Grammar panel

¹Use in Quick Open panel.

²Preview window shows PDF by default. Select relevant export format from dropdown menu in title bar for corresponding preview.

³Shortcut is available only when preview window is open.

⁴Shortcut deletes sheet immediately without sending it to Trash.

⁵If focus is in Sheet List, popover panel appears and if focus is in Editor, sidebar panel appears.


⁶Shortcut cycles through available actions when used multiple times.

⁷Favorites group appears in Library only when there are one or more favorited sheets.

⁸Use shortcut after opening Find panel or Find and Replace panel.

⁹Search looks for keywords in Sheet List and Editor.

¹⁰Shortcut works only when panel is in focus.

¹¹Refers to Split View in Ulysses and not system-wide Split View option on macOS. However, shortcut works with both options.

Shortcuts for Ulysses on iPad and iPhone

Ulysses is a pleasure to use, and more so once you transition to a smoother workflow using our shortcuts cheat sheet.

You can even use some of these shortcuts in the Ulysses app on iPhone and iPad. To discover the best of them, hold down the Cmd key on the keyboard connected to your mobile device.

And remember, Ulysses is one of the premium Mac apps that make a Setapp subscription worthwhile


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. So if you already have a Setapp subscription, you don’t need to pay for a standalone Ulysses subscription.

Image Credit: Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash



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The 5 Best Mac File Comparison Tools for Writers and Developers

Writers, web developers, and programmers often need to compare different versions of the same code or text to keep track of changes. But figuring out the changes in a file manually is not a simple task. As a document gets longer and complex, you’re more likely to make comparison errors and waste time.

A file comparison tool helps you compare and merge the differences between two (or more) versions of the same file. There are different types of utilities, each tailored for specific types of data and file formats. We’ll look at some best file comparison apps for macOS.

1. Meld

meld diff and merge tool

Meld is a simple diff and merge tool. The user interface is intuitive and neatly packs all its functions into a handy menu. It has many customizable settings to make file comparison easy and quick. On first launch, the app gives you an option to choose a comparison module.

To start a comparison, click the File module and select your files from Finder. Meld will display them side-by-side. Any differences between them appear highlighted to make individual changes easier to see.

On either side of panels, you’ll see two vertical bars with colored blocks. They give you a bird-eye view of all changes, such as inserted, deleted, changed, or in conflict. Click the arrows in a segment to copy or merge a block of one file with another.

Unique Features of Meld:

  • Three-way comparison of files. The changes update in real-time, no matter how big the file gets.
  • The app integrates with source control systems, such as Git, Bazaar, Mercurial, and SVN to perform version control tasks.
  • The text editor supports line numbers, whitespace, syntax highlighting, and text wrapping for a user-friendly experience.
  • With text filters, you can ignore text that matches a particular pattern or even use regular expressions to create complex filters. To try them, go to Preferences and turn on Text Filters.

Download: Meld (Free)

2. Helix P4 Diff and Merge Tool

Helix P4 diff and merge tool

Helix P4V is an enterprise version control software to manage source files, web pages, manuals, OS code, and more. P4V is the client for the Helix core server that hosts all your data and resides in a depot. You open the files and edit them in your workspace.

When done, submit the modified file back to the shared repository or depot, where it keeps track of all the file revisions. P4V integrates with the P4 diff and merge tool. The purple icon and its color scheme highlights the input file, while the green icon and its color scheme highlights the output file.

P4Merge display files side-by-side, with the center as a base file. This allows you to compare two files with a base file to find differences and select the text you want in the merged file. To navigate, choose the Previous or Next buttons.

Helix P4’s Unique Features:

  • P4Merge works with various image formats, including PNG, GIF, JPG, and others. It highlights identical areas in gray and differences in yellow in both images. You can also compare file resolution, depth, size, and more details.
  • The integration with P4V can reveal the entire file revision history, plus what changed during a particular time frame. This is useful for resolving bugs.
  • Visualize the differences and resolve conflicts that result from parallel or concurrent development via color-coding, syntax highlighting, line numbers, and patches.

Download: Helix P4 Diff and Merge (Free for up to five users and 20 workspaces)

3. Beyond Compare

beyond compare file comparison tool

Beyond Compare is another utility for comparing files and folders. With few buttons and a colorful interface, the app tries to maintain a balance between features and performance. On the first launch, choose the comparison module for a particular task from Text, RTF, Hex, MP3, Tables, and more.

The app will display your files side-by-side. It uses red text for highlighting important differences and blue for insignificant changes. You can adjust these colors to suit your preferences.

The overview thumbnail on the left pane displays a visual map of colors. To navigate, use the Next and Previous button to step through all your differences. Then, use the arrow buttons to merge your files. Click the Save button located at the right of the window to save your file.

What Beyond Compare offers:

  • Every comparison task begins with a session, which you can customize and save to open later on. These gives you great flexibility and save time.
  • The session settings that control these comparisons are called Rules. They put you in control of how each session works and helps you discover significant differences.
  • The Table Compare session compares text files with tabular data. You can sort and align the data on key fields and compare them cell-by-cell.
  • The app provides a scripting processing feature to automate routine tasks. For more details, visit the the scripting section of the Help page.
  • Compare files in remote storage through Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, OneDrive, and Source Control Managers.

Download: Beyond Compare ($30 Standard | $60 Pro | Free trial available)

4. DeltaWalker

Deltawalker visual diff and merge tool

DeltaWalker from Deltopia is a cross-platform visual diff and merge tool. The interface is intuitive, with just a couple of menu buttons. It relies more on visual parameters to help you find differences. Out of the box, it supports Office files, Java archives, ZIP, XML, PDF, and more. Speaking of which, we’ve covered how to compare two Excel files


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using other methods.

Click the Browse button in the entry field to bring up File Open dialog box. On the other side, you can either open a local or remote file via SFTP, HTTPS, WebDAV, Dropbox, or Google Drive. The app use colors to denote the changes in blocks as inserted, deleted, changed, and in conflict.

You’ll also see connecting lines that joins together related block to simplify the results. The vertical color strip located on the right panel shows a summary with a scaled-down visual map of all differences. Click the arrow button (it appears on mouse hover) to merge your files.

Unique Functions of DeltaWalker:

  • One-click integration with Git, Bazaar, Mercurial, and SVN. Go to Preferences > SCM Integration and toggle the SCM of your choice to use them.
  • Find and Replace feature helps you find specific characters and use regular expressions for advanced cases. Or use shortcuts to access them without opening the Find/Replace window.
  • Linked undo/redo feature keeps track of changes across editors. When you undo, the changes happen in reverse order spanning across the editors.
  • The app has the ability to export the file comparison report as HTML and Patch. The latter contains the differences between one or more pairs of different files, which is helpful for app developers.

Download: DeltaWalker ($40 Standard | $60 Pro | Free trial available)

5. Araxis Merge

Araxis merge advanced diff and merge tool

Merge is a complex diff and merge tool. It works with many file formats, including Office files, PDF, XML, HTML, Binary, and source code files. This makes the app suitable for various creative professionals and use cases.

Click the Browse button to open your file. Merge uses text extraction filters and formatting tools to help you see changes more clearly.

Go to Preferences > File Comparisons > File Types to configure the filters for various kinds of files. Thin overview strips next to the scroll bar show the position of changes. And the status bar shows you a summary of changes that are inserted, removed, changed, and deleted.

There are two layout options: vertical and horizontal. They both work with two and three-way file comparison mode. Use the Previous or Next buttons (or shortcuts) to navigate in the file. Additionally, click the small merging button on each block to copy, replace, or merge files.

Araxis Merge’s Unique Features:

  • A plugin file system gives you access to files located in Git, Perforce depot, SVN, and Time Machine Volume.
  • Drag and drop blocks of text in either panel to edit files. Merge analyzes the changes in the background and saves them. At any time, you can undo the result.
  • Create markers to indicate the lines you have modified. Add a bookmark to remind yourself, or place a comment to note important information.
  • The synchronization link feature can help you identify points of similarity between files to simplify the comparison results. This works best with complex files.
  • Export the file comparison report as HTML, XML, and Unix Diff. This feature is helpful for future audits, storage, and sharing.

Download: Araxis Merge ($129 Standard | $269 Pro | Free trial available)

Use Notepad++ to Compare Files

There are many reasons to use a file comparison tool. A software developer might need syntax highlighting and export features, while a writer may prefer a more visual diff tool to compare text. The apps discussed here cover every use case. Give them proper trial and see which one fits your needs.

If you’re using the excellent text editor Notepad++, then you can compare files easily with a plugin. It’s feature-rich and fits both casual users and programmers. See how to compare two files with Notepad++


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for instructions.



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10 Cool Gift Ideas for Mac Users This Holiday Season

Looking to snag the perfect gift for a Mac fan this holiday season? We’re here to help! Here are some great accessories that will make perfect gifts for any Mac owner.



Jabra Elite 85h


Jabra Elite 85h

Buy Now On Amazon
$290.00

A good pair of headphones is a must-have for any Mac owner. They can help drown out distractions and help you focus on the task at hand. A combination of active noise cancellation technology and a comfortable fit make the Jabra Elite 85h hard to beat. The wireless over-ear headphones can provide up to 36 hours of music playback on a single charge.

In a pinch, you can add five hours of playback with just a 15-minute charge with the included USB-C cable. There’s no need to worry about an on/off button on the headphones; the headphones will automatically turn on when worn and will and pause playback when removed. Jabra offers four different color options, too.

You can find out more about the headphones in our Jabra Elite 85h review.



Logitech MX Master 3


Logitech MX Master 3

Buy Now On Amazon
$99.99

Logitech has long been one of the best choices for anyone needing a mouse for the Mac. And the Logitech MX Master 3 offers great features to help you be even more productive during the workday. One of the best features of this model is an all-metal scroll wheel that’s quiet and can scroll through almost 1,000 lines in a second. There is also a thumbwheel to help you scroll horizontally.

You can customize the mouse for almost any app and take advantage of stock customization options for apps like Safari, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, and Google Chrome. A built-in battery can go for up to 70 days of use on a single charge. The mouse connects to a Mac via Bluetooth or a small USB receiver. You can select from a graphite or gray version of the mouse.



CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock


CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Buy Now On Amazon

Thunderbolt 3 technology has quickly become the standard on Mac laptops and desktop models. To make the most of the technology, a Thunderbolt 3 dock can solve the dongle dilemma and add other connections, including USB-A, HDMI, and others. One of the best on the market is CalDigit TS3 Plus.

The dock can provide up to 85W of power, which is good enough for even the largest 15-inch MacBook Pro. There are 15 ports on the dock, allowing you to connect up to two 4K monitors or a single 5K monitor. Other options include five USB-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, digital optical audio, and an SD card reader.



HP Tango X Printer


HP Tango X Printer

Buy Now On Amazon
$199.89

The HP Tango X Printer is a modern take on the ubiquitous accessory and designed to work with both a Mac and iOS devices. Getting started with the wireless printer is quick and easy, as there is no need to worry about drivers. The printer is AirPrint compatible, making it simple to print from any Apple device.

Along with a cover that doubles as an output tray, the small printer can fit almost anywhere in your home. An optional ink subscription service will always keep your printer ready to go. And as a nice plus, any subscriber can print photos from their iPhone for free.



Twelve South PlugBug Duo


Twelve South PlugBug Duo

Buy Now On Amazon
$59.99

Nearly every MacBook owner has the ubiquitous—and hefty—Apple charger in their bag. The TwelveSouth PlugBug Duo makes it much more useful. The device is compatible with Apple’s MagSafe and USB-C power chargers, and snaps on top of the adapter to add two additional USB plugs.

Both of these ports provide 2.1A to charge another device like an iPhone or iPad quickly. For the world traveler, Twelve South also includes five different AC prongs that will convert a MacBook charger to fit most electrical outlets around the globe.



Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL


Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL

Buy Now On Amazon
$99.95

The Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL is a powerhouse battery pack that can charge pretty much any Apple product imaginable. This even includes newer MacBook models that have a USB-C connection. The 19,500mAh battery can provide up to 14 hours of additional battery power for a USB-C laptop at 30W. That means you can charge a MacBook or a MacBook Air as quickly with the battery as with a normal power adapter.

It can also juice up the new iPad Pro devices quickly using the USB-C port. This model also includes a 2.4A USB-A port to charge other devices, like a smartphone. Its LED indicator will let you know how much power remains. As a nice plus, the exterior is covered with soft fabric that’s easy to hold and won’t scratch other devices in your bag.



Belkin USB-C to Lightning Cable


Belkin USB-C to Lightning Cable

Buy Now On Amazon
$29.99

These days, USB-C cables are essential, especially for any modern MacBook. If you have an iPhone, the Belkin USB-C to Lightning Cable is a great choice. This cable is MFi certified and made with special DuraTek fiber that is built to stand the test of time.

The cable is also one foot longer than Apple’s official option for more flexibility to charge your iPhone. A built-in leather strap helps keep your desk organized and free of cable clutter. Belkin also provides a 5-year warranty on the cable.



Incase ICON Backpack With Woolenex


Incase ICON Backpack With Woolenex

Buy Now On Amazon
$139.97

When it’s time to hit the road with your MacBook, a good backpack can help protect the expensive investment and give you space for everything else you need. The Incase ICON Backpack with Woolenex holds up to a 15-inch MacBook in a padded laptop compartment. The exterior of the backpack is made with Woolenex fiber that’s durable and resists stretching and shrinking.

Along with space to hold small and large items inside, the backpack sports an iPad pocket on the side for quick access and a small pocket on the bottom with an integrated cable port for power or audio. While wearing the backpack, airflow channels on the back panel and padded shoulder straps help keep you comfortable.



WD My Passport Portable SSD


WD My Passport Portable SSD

Buy Now On Amazon
$167.99

Additional external storage can go a long way, especially for Mac users who need to store large photo or video libraries .The WD My Passport Portable SSD is available in sizes up to 2TB.

It can transfer files at speeds of up to 540MB/s. The drive is ready to use with any USB-C port and is also compatible with a USB-A. It even offers password protection and hardware encryption for additional layers of security.



Rain Design mStand 360


Rain Design mStand 360

Buy Now On Amazon
$49.96

A stand is another great way to improve ergonomics while working with a MacBook. It can raise the screen to eye level and help reduce neck strain. A solid all-around choice is Rain Design’s mStand360. The aluminum stand is compatible with all MacBook models and cools your laptop by acting as a heat sink.

A swivel base allows you to quickly access ports and share your screen with others. As a nice touch, the built-in cable organizer can help reduce wire clutter on your desk. You have three colors of the stand to select from; space gray, gold, or rose gold.

The Best Gifts for Mac Users

Hopefully, one of these gift ideas will make your shopping even easier this holiday season. Whether you pick out a stand, power bank, or something else entirely, these accessories should bring a smile to any Mac owner.

Don’t have time to wait for these to arrive? Check out last-minute gifts that don’t need shipping


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3 Last-Minute Digital Gifts That Don’t Require Shipping

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instead.



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IBM: ‘Mac users are happier and more productive’

MINNEAPOLIS – IBM stole the show at the annual Jamf Nation User Conference this week when it announced that Mac users are more likely to stay with the company and will be more productive while they’re there.

IBM’s happy Apple orchestra

IBM CIO Fletcher Previn talked up fresh IBM findings that show those of its employees who use Macs are more likely to stay with IBM and exceed performance expectations compared to PC users.

The details of his claims are:

  • There are 22% more macOS users who exceeded expectations in performance reviews, compared to Windows users.
  • High-value sales deals tend to be 16% larger for macOS users, compared to Windows users.
  • macOS users are 17% less likely to leave IBM, compared to those who use Windows.
  • MacOS users are happier with the third-party software availability within IBM — just 5% of macOS users ask for additional software, compared to 11% of Windows users.

It’s possible these claims reflect some other difference between Mac and PC users, but with hundreds of thousands of IBM employees in the sample group it’s hard not to see some contribution from the choice of computing platform.

Tomorrow’s world today

“The state of IT is a daily reflection of what IBM thinks and feels about its employees,” said IBM CIO Fletcher Previn. “I’ve said it before – when did it become OK to live like the Jetsons at home, but the Flintstones at work? We aim to create a productive environment for IBM’ers and continuously improve their work experience, and that’s why we introduced our employee-choice program to IBM employees in 2015.”

When IBM began its widely-reported move to integrate Mac (and other Apple systems) across its business with the [email protected] scheme in 2015, the company discovered that tech support costs were much, much lower.

At that time, it was deploying 1,900 Mac devices per week. During this deployment, it found that  a single help desk person was able to support 5,400 Mac users — even though it took about 22 people to support the equivalent number of PC users.

The TCO argument is over

Today, IBM has just seven people supporting 200,000 macOS devices in contrast to the 20 needed to support the same number of Windows devices, IBM said at JNUC.

This means it costs IBM 186% more to support Windows than it does Macs.

This wasn’t the only big surprise. IBM also observed that users found it easier to migrate from a previous version of Windows to a Mac than to upgrade older Windows systems to the latest version of Windows. IBM claims 98% of its Mac users said migration from Windows to macOS was easy, compared to 86% of people shifting from Windows 7 to Windows 10 who felt the same way.

Admittedly, the latter is not too damning a statement on its own. But when it is easier to switch to Mac than it is to stick with Windows – and when such a migration is also cheaper to support and delivers better staff retention and better productivity – it’s hard to see why any enterprise would delay exploring Apple as a viable alternative to existing technologies, particularly as older Windows versions hit End Of Life.

What happens next?

Year by year, the Jamf JNUC event provides additional evidence that Apple’s platforms are – at the very least – peer players in enterprise IT. IBM’s latest revelations seem to suggest that, at least in some common use cases, Apple – and the Mac – are breaking out to become the best available platforms for enterprise technology.

Jamf sits at the breaking edge of the Apple ocean as it floods into the enterprise technology sector. The company continues to seek and resolve the challenges faced by those making large-scale Mac deployments. For example, it announced a new endpoint security system for Macs it calls Jamf Protect at JNUC 2019, which it claims will give enterprise security teams “unprecedented visibility into [their] Mac fleet,” along with the ability to identify and deal with threats.

Apple in the IT ecosystem 

This is, in my opinion, a major step toward the evolution of (private by design) edge-device based AI-supplemented protections that I believe will define future cybersecurity protection. Jamf is by no means the only company exploring such systems — Orange Cyberdefense has its own takes on situational awareness for systems, for example.

Josh Stein, director of product strategy for Jamf Protect, explained what the system does:

“[It] monitors for system-wide activity, enabling security teams to take action against Mac-based threats which may otherwise go unnoticed, all while allowing organizations to embrace new OS functionality from day one.”

The company also announced Jamf Connect for mobile, an important technology that allows for secure password-less authentication through most modern systems, replacing smart cards and FIDO security keys with iPhones. The idea is that it becomes possible to use the system and your iPhone in order to access a Mac, cloud services or even Windows computers.

I’m at the JNUC event this week, but it is becoming very difficult to avoid the sense that, at least in terms of making an edge-based business case for its systems, Apple is developing powerful argument to replace Windows as the base system for successful enterprise IT deployments.

What’s interesting about this is that as Apple develops its own models for ultra-private, on-device AI, at what point can server-based enterprise deployments be replaced by more effective — and yet more private — edge-based intelligence?

This certainly seems to be where the industry is going.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Run Windows on Your Mac With Parallels Desktop 15

Compared to the dark old days, we’re rich with options when it comes to running Windows programs on macOS. There was a time when even Mac diehards might have had to keep a Windows PC around in order to use a key piece of software. Now we have Boot Camp, but that might be overkill if you only need to run a few applications.

Parallels Desktop not only lets you run Windows programs in an environment they recognize, but blend them in with your Mac like they’ve been there all along.

Who Is Parallels 15 For?

Parallels can download Windows 10 for you

Parallels is for anyone who needs to run Windows apps on a Mac, from beginners to power users. For beginners, the software walks you all the way through installing Windows on your Mac. Parallels even automatically downloads Windows for you, so you don’t need to go through the trouble of downloading it yourself.

Power users will appreciate how much you can tweak the software. You can customize exactly how much of your system resources are available to Windows on your Mac. This can help you keep battery use in check, or conversely offer up as much power to hardware-intensive applications.

Parallels Desktop’s main competition comes in the form of VMWare Fusion. We’ve looked at VMWare Fusion before, and while it offers powerful functionality, Parallels is more flexible in some ways. We’ll get to exactly how in the next section.

Parallels Desktop Features

Parallels for Mac focuses heavily on making Windows apps blend in seamlessly with the underlying macOS system. This means you get copy and paste between macOS and Windows, as well as support for drag and drop. If you use an app like 1Password on your Mac and need to paste a password in Windows, for example, this is quite handy.

Coherence Mode

Coherence mode in Parallels 15

Parallels Desktop can take this even further with its Coherence mode. In this mode, you don’t get the standard full virtualized desktop. Instead, Windows runs in the background, while only the applications you run via Parallels are displayed. This is handy if you just need to run one key app that only works on Windows.

You can take this even further. If you need to open an app all the time, you can keep it in your Dock as you would with any macOS app. When you go to launch the Windows app, Parallels quietly runs the virtual machine in the background.

Full Screen Mode

On the other hand, if you need the full Windows desktop experience, Parallels for Mac can handle that as well. The software offers a full screen mode, which essentially lets you run Wondows on Mac just as you would if you had installed Windows via Boot Camp.

As we’ve looked at before, there are plenty of advantages to virtual machines instead of dual booting.

External Drive Support

Parallels supports mounting external hard drives. This is handy since macOS doesn’t support writing to NTFS drives by default, and even the existing options can be risky. Running a full-fledged instance of Windows 10 lets you access the files on these drives without worry.

Right after the first launch of Windows 10 in Parallels

All you need to do in order to access these drives is boot Windows 10 via Parallels, then open up File Explorer. From here you’ll be able to work with the files as normal. You can also move macOS files to and from the drive, using Parallels as a middleman of sorts.

What’s New in Parallels 15?

Parallels Desktop launching

As the version number hints at, Parallels 15 is optimized for macOS 10.15 Catalina. That said, you don’t need to have Catalina installed in order to run Parallels 15. This is great if you need to run an older version of macOS for compatibility purposes. You can run Parallels Desktop on macOS versions as old as 10.12 Sierra.

Parallels Desktop 15 adds support for DirectX 11, as well as DirectX 9 and 10, via Apple Metal. This means you can run software like Autodesk 3ds Max 2020 or games like Fallout 4, all while taking advantage of your Mac’s hardware. For this to work, you’ll need to be running macOS 10.14 Mojave or later.

It isn’t all about macOS-exclusive features, either. Parallels Desktop 15 allows you to use your iPad as well. The software can make full use of Sidecar (a feature that arrived in Catalina), which hooks up your iPad as a second monitor. It even supports using the Apple Pencil on your iPad in order to use Windows touchscreen and pen functionality.

Finally, Parallels Desktop 15 has improved performance in various areas. The Parallels website claims that Microsoft Office applications launch up to 80 percent faster. That’s not all: 3D graphics have also received improvements and can run up to 15 percent faster than previous versions of the Parallels Desktop software.

Parallels Desktop vs. Parallels Desktop Pro

WIndows Paint 3D running on a Mac

When you’re ready to buy, Parallels Desktop comes in two different varieties. First is the standard Parallels Desktop, which costs $79.99. Your other option is Parallels Desktop Pro Edition, which sells for $20 more at $99.99. It’s not much more, but do you need the Pro Edition?

The answer is probably no, unless you’re a developer. The vast majority of the extra features in the Pro Edition are aimed at developers creating Windows apps on Mac computers. These include a Visual Studio plugin, as well as an easy install of a Windows 10 development environment.

Other features include a Parallels Vagrant plugin and the ability to natively manage Docker virtual machines, and that’s just the beginning. If you’re just a regular Mac user or even a power user, chances are good that you’ll get along just fine with the standard Parallels Desktop license.

That said, not all of the features in the Pro Edition are aimed solely at developers. The Pro Edition adds Force Touch trackpad support to the virtual Windows environment, which can be handy. It also enables Cortana support. These aren’t features everyone will need, but they’re also not developer-only features.

Not Sure? Try Parallels for Free

Different people have various needs when it comes to virtual machines. Parallels Desktop can take some getting used to, especially if you’re coming from a similar service. The good news is that there’s a 14-day free trial that lets you try the app before you buy it. That should be plenty of time to know whether the app is right for you.

If you need another solution, take a look at the other ways to run Windows programs on Mac


The Easiest Way to Run Windows Programs on Mac




The Easiest Way to Run Windows Programs on Mac

Running Windows software on your Mac isn’t as tough as you’d think. Here are the most popular ways to run Windows programs on macOS, including the best method for most people.
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