6 useful Mac tips everybody needs (but not everybody knows)

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 17.09.18

Learning new Mac tips is the new party at sunset.

I have a handful of lesser-known Mac tips to share today. Check them out and please feel free to share your favorite little known Mac tip in comments below.


This is the keyboard shortcut of all keyboard shortcuts. Use it and you’ll instantly be in Spotlight, where you can use your Mac’s built-in search facility to answer questions, find files, search for data, launch apps and more. (Command-L is also neat when you are in Safari as it instantly selects the address/search bar). More keyboard shortcuts here.

Get a (slightly) bigger display

You’ve probably already got rid of the Dock if you are working on a project that needs more display space, but if you don’t want to use Full Screen Mode you can always try getting rid of the Menu bar. Just open System Preferences>General and choose ‘Automatically hide and show the menu bar’. The Menu hasn’t gone anywhere, but will only appear when you place your cursor in the area at the top of the screen where you usually expect it to be.

Get around fast

Everyone should use F3, it’s the fast way to reach Expose mode in Mission Control. What does this mean? Tap F3 and you will see a minimized view of all your open documents, making it much easier to slip between them all.

Secret Safari

When you download items in Safari they show up in Safari’s downloads list view and are automatically downloaded to your default destination, usually the Downloads folder. Did you know that you can move those downloaded items into new locations, or open them using apps in your Dock simply by selecting the item in Safari’s downloads list view and dragging and dropping them to your desired destination? You do now.

Find large files

Stay in control of storage on your Mac by setting up a Smart Folder to monitor larger files on your computer. Not only will this folder be a quick and easy place to check those files, but you’ll also be able to easily work out which of them you can live without.

  • Tap File>New Smart Folder (Or Command-Option-N);
  • In the New Smart Folder window that appears you’ll see a grey horizontal band that likely says ‘This Mac” and “Your User Name”. Choose “This Mac” and click the + button to the right of that band.
  • In the dialog box that appears choose Other and then select File Size from the list that appears. In the next box set this to ‘Is Greater Than’, then select a size (2GB, for example).
  • Save the search, give it a name, choose where you want to store the search and you’re done.
  • You may want to tick the checkbox that places this smart folder in your Finder window for ease of access.

Learn more about Smart Folders here.

Shutdown fast

Press Option down while selecting the Apple Menu item and look closely at the drop down list that appears. Look at the Restart, Shut Down and Log out items and you’ll see the three small dots that usually follow their names in the menu have gone. This signifies that if you choose any of these items while holding down your Option key the usual confirmation dialog will not appear and you can shut down, restart or log out immediately. More Option key ideas here.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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