Tips and Tricks

Disable Saved Application States

OS X Lion offers a checkbox to disable saved application states. However, many applications do not seem to care about that checkbox (e.g. Terminal). The easiest way to prevent applications from writing away saved states is exactly that: don't let them write to the saved application states folder.

The Best Disk Cloning App for Mac OS X

There are many ways to clone a drive on Mac OS X, but none quite as simple and effective as Carbon Copy Cloner. It's our top pick for disk cloning utilities because it gets the job done any which way you need, free of charge.

Play Hide ‘n Seek with Lion Preference Panes

Ever since OS X 10.0 Chetah, System Preferences has displayed a fixed set of baseline Preference Panes plus user additions. The baseline set has changed a bit throughout the years, but nothing fundamental has changed with the User Interface. Lion adds a new trick — the ability to hide selected Preference Panes.

How to Fax in Lion

Faxing has been around in one form or another since the mid-1800s, and while there’s no question that it’s disappearing from many businesses around the world, there are still industries that rely heavily on faxed documents, notably real estate and construction, where paper trails of signed documents remain important. While standalone fax machines aren’t going away any time soon, it’s relatively easy to find multifunction print/scan/fax devices, and Internet faxing has become commonplace, it has become more difficult to fax from a computer.

That’s especially true for users of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which deprecates faxing in several ways.

62 Things You can Do with Dropbox

Ask Macworld editors to name our favorite apps, and most of us would mention Dropbox. The file-synchronizing service has revolutionized the way we use our Macs; we’re always looking for new things it can do.

Towards that end, a couple of months ago we posted a note on, asking readers, “How do you use Dropbox?” The response was incredible: Between our forums and email, we received nearly 250 suggestions. We sorted through them and then boiled them down to our 60 favorites.

Playing nice with GarageBand for iPad

Apple touts its GarageBand for iPad application as a great way to play and record music without the need to learn scales or time signatures. Musical newbies aren’t the only ones interested in using the $5 app, however. GarageBand for iPad appeals to seasoned musicians, too. And those with significant investments in recording equipment may be wondering which, if any, of their existing gear will work with the portable version of GarageBand.

I decided to grab my trusty iPad, my iPad camera connection kit, and powered USB hub and plug in whatever I had around to see what would work.

How to learn to use Gestures in Lion

Lion’s support for gestures—tapping and swiping fingers on a Multi-Touch trackpad—isn’t entirely new. OS X has supported gestures in some form for several years. Even so, many of us still haven't adopted gestures as a way of interacting with our Macs. Maybe we don't have the right Multi-Touch hardware. Or maybe the mouse-plus-keyboard interface is burned so deeply into our muscle memory, we've seen no reason to switch.

But if Lion is any measure, gestures are becoming an important part of OS X; someday, they might replace the mouse entirely. So Lion's launch is a perfect opportunity to make the switch—or, at minimum, to become conversant in this interactive language. And even if swiping and tapping on a trackpad is already familiar to you, you’ll still need to adjust to Lion’s new vocabulary. Here are some tips for doing both.

Hands on with Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

Apple this week released a free utility called Lion Recovery Disk Assistant that provides an easy method for creating an official Lion Recovery drive from any 1GB (or larger) USB hard drive or thumb drive. You can download Lion Recovery Disk Assistant from Apple’s Support site; it’s about 1MB in size. Apple provides some brief instructions for using this utility, but those instructions don't give you the whole story—while the utility is indeed simple to use, there's a lot more you should know about creating and using a recovery drive.

Back up Your iTunes Media Files

As time goes by, and our digital media collections grow, we need to ensure that we don’t lose the music and video files that we’ve spent our hard-earned dollars (or, in the case of ripping our own CDs and DVDs, considerable time) on. Music, videos, and audiobooks can add up until your iTunes library fills your hard disk and then some. In addition to storing the original files, you have to make sure you keep backups, because in many cases you can’t download such files again.

Manage your Money in Lion -- without Quicken

If you didn’t read the small print before you installed Lion you may have restarted your Mac to a bit of an unpleasant surprise. Rosetta, the invisible emulation environment that was a part of both Leopard and Snow Leopard and allowed you to run PowerPC applications, has gone the way of the dinosaur with Lion.

Unfortunately, this means that Quicken, Intuit’s deprecated but still ubiquitous personal finance management application, will no longer work on your Mac. How do you manage your personal finances if Quicken won’t work with Lion? Fortunately there are several alternatives to help you keep tabs on your cash flow.

Four Lion Terminal Hacks

Lion's great, but some of us prefer mucking with the behind-the-scenes stuff with our operating systems. We've found a variety of Terminal tricks that can tweak various Lion behaviors.

Hackinations: 5 really Good Lion Tweaks

Lion. We love the OS. We hate a few tiny details.

Here are five extremely handy Lion tweaks that can improve your day-to-day use. Enable each by typing the supplied commands into Terminal.

10.7: Create Your Own Recovery HD

This hint shows how to create your own Recovery HD (Disc or Flash Drive).

Mac OS X Lion includes a hidden Recovery HD. This is a small partition about 650MB in size which you can boot from by pressing down Option at startup. It includes a variety of utilities which can help you troubleshoot a Mac.

It can be very handy to have a bootable copy of your own on some other media incase you need to troubleshoot a Mac with a bad drive, or something has happened to the recovery partition, unlikely but possible.

Change Mac OS X 10.7 Lion iCal and Address Book Skins - Easy Method

I am not a fan of the new leather title bar in iCal on Lion... what were they thinking? Now all we need is a wood-effect dashboard for our cars and rotary-dial iPhones...

I created new images files to go inside and to give them an aluminum look like previous versions of OS X.

iPad Power: How to Print

Among other things, the iPad is a great way to save paper: It lets you carry around all kinds of digital documents that you might otherwise have had to print.

But from time to time you may still need to print data that’s on your iPad—business documents that you created in Pages and Numbers, for example, or driving directions to hand someone who’s not packing silicon. Printing from the iPad can be easy if your needs are modest, but even if you require extensive printing control, there is, as they say, an app for that.

How to clone Your Mac Hard Drive with Carbon Copy Cloner

If you're swapping out your hard drive for a new one, the best thing to do is clone the old one first. Cloning a drive simply creates an exact sector-to-sector backup copy of your drive's contents from one single point in time. It's a perfect image of the original, including all OS files. So when you swap out your old drive for the new one, you don't have to tweak or reset anything.

For cloning a hard drive on a Mac, I highly recommend a free utility called Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC). Here's how to use CCC to clone a hard drive on your Mac.

Quicken won't Run on Lion - Here's 10 Mac Finance Apps that Will

OS X Lion isn't out yet, but it could be hitting the Mac App Store as soon as next week. For many Mac users, the decision on whether or not to upgrade to Lion is boiling down to one incompatible app -- Quicken for Mac. We've been hearing from our readers for several weeks that Quicken is the sticking point.

Why not take this time to move away from Quicken altogether? Here are suggestions for other apps that will take your existing financial data into the world of Lion.

Create a bootable Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Flash Drive

Apple has announced that with the release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the operating system will be available only via download from the Mac App Store. Past versions of the Mac OS X operating system have always been available for purchase on a bootable DVD and with some systems like the MacBook Air, they’ve been included on a bootable USB drive.

To create your own bootable USB device using your own flash drive (note that the device must be at least 4GB or larger), follow these instructions.

Alternatives to MobileMe for iWeb Sites

After Apple’s recent confirmation of the worst fears of iWeb users – that the hosting of iWeb sites as part of MobileMe will disappear on 30 June 2012 - many readers of my “Take Control of iWeb ’09” ebook contacted me to find out where they should move their sites. There are a couple of options, depending on how serious your site is, and whether or not you have a custom domain.

Get Your Mac ready for Lion

Now that Apple has released to developers the golden master of Lion (Mac OS X 10.7)—typically the final non-public version before the official release—speculation is mounting as to when the next major version of OS X will hit the street. But the golden master signifies something more important on a practical level: It’s time to start getting our Macs ready for Lion.

Apple is advertising Lion as the easiest-to-install version of OS X yet, and that may be true. But there are still a few things you can do right now to ensure that your Mac is ready for 10.7 when the update finally arrives.

Publish your iWeb Site on Dropbox

Now that MobileMe is on the way out, Hints reader vincent860524 wanted to be prepared for its eventual demise. Specifically, he wanted to figure out an alternative way to publish his iWeb projects online.

His solution: Store his sites Dropbox.

Know Your Rights!

Your computer, your phone, and your other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This is sensitive data that's worth protecting from prying eyes - including those of the government.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. But how does this work in the real world? What should you do if the police or other law enforcement officers show up at your door and want to search your computer?

EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else.

Control Your PC from Your iPad With Remote Desktop Apps

For all its great apps, the iPad has quite a ways to go before it'll be ready to replace a desktop PC. But that doesn't mean you can't leave your laptop at the office and travel light. Given a sufficiently stable Internet connection, your iPad can control your PC from anywhere.

There's no shortage of remote desktop apps to choose from in the Apple App Store. Dozens of apps promise you the power to drive your PC from a distance. We rounded up four of the leading downloads--Citrix GoToMyPC, LogMeIn Ignition, Splashtop Remote Desktop, and Wyse PocketCloud Pro--to see which one delivers the best blend of control, performance, and convenience. Here's what we found.

All about MobileMe Box Refunds and Subscription Cancelations

This article explains the process for MobileMe box refunds and subscription cancelations, including how you know if you are eligible, what documentation is required, and refund processing time.

What’s happening to MobileMe?

The core services provided by MobileMe have been rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud. MobileMe will no longer be available as a paid sync service. If you had an active MobileMe account as of June 6, 2011, your service has been extended through June 30, 2012, at no additional charge. After that date, the MobileMe service will no longer be available.

Following is a list of MobileMe services and whether they will be available or not in iCloud this fall:

Testing for Rosetta Use in OS X

With speculation and rumor suggesting (possibly accurately) that OS X Lion will be issued without the "Rosetta" dynamic translator that allows PowerPC code to run on Intel-based Macs, a number of people are undoubtedly concerned about their readiness to use a platform without any form of PowerPC support.

If a program does require PowerPC and you install OS X without Rosetta, you will see the program's icon appear with a white "no entry" slash through it, and you will not be able to open the program. To avoid chancing that this will happen with any of your current programs, it will help to check whether any that you use or have installed are PowerPC-only applications.

There are several ways to do this in OS X.

Unlocked iPhone FAQ, including AT&T Plan Info

Apple is selling an unlocked version of the iPhone in the US starting at US$649. To help clarify questions about this development, we've put together this little FAQ. We'll explain what the unlocked iPhone means to you as a customer and how you'll be able to use it both at home and abroad.

Five Awesome, Useless MacBook Tricks

MacBooks are well-known for doing awesome, useful things--they don't (usually) get viruses, the battery life is great, and the user interface is simple.

What they didn't tell you is that your MacBook can do a lot of awesome useless things. Take a moment and indulge in the (mostly) unnecessary features available!

How to Burn a Lion Boot Disc

In my last post I walked you through the process of installing Lion on a bootable external hard drive and using that hard drive to install subsequent Lion installations. I thought that in the absence of Apple installation media using a full Lion installation on and external drive would be the easiest way to perform a clean install. I was wrong. Apple's official Lion Installation Media was under my nose the entire time, and I am going to show you how to get it.

Create To-Do Items Anywhere

One of the main reasons Mac users avoid Apple's automation utility, Automator, is because they believe that to do anything worthwhile with it, you have to create complex workflows. If you count yourself among this group, allow me to disabuse you of the notion by providing you with a one-step-yet-useful workflow that allows you to create iCal to-do items from within any application.

This workflow makes it a cinch to keep track of all the little things you need to do, but might otherwise not take the time to enter into iCal.