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(Pocket-lint) - Mac OS X Yosemite is out and with it you get a host of new features to master.

While the new desktop operating system looks roughly the same there are plenty of new tips and tricks to learn.

We've worked our way through the operating system to try and bring you as many of the new features as possible to allow you to get as much out of the new software.

READ: Mac OS X Yosemite review

Most of these tips are new to Yosemite, but we've also included some gems from Mavericks that you might not have found yet.

Either way we can be sure to promise that there should be plenty here for new users and power users alike to get the most out of the new operating system. 

We'll be keeping an eye on things as they roll out and if you've got any tips of your own that we've not covered please feel free to add them to the comments below.


Bigger window, but not full screen: Apple has changed the way the green button works in the title bar on apps to make it go automatically into Full Screen mode. If you don’t want that press the “alt” key as you click and it just makes the window bigger (like it used to).

Bigger windows, option two: If that sounds like a faff, Apple apps let you double tap anywhere on the title bar to make them full screen, but not enter Full Screen mode. It’s really handy if you use Mail or Safari.

Use dark menu bar and dock: New to Yosemite is a dark menu bar theme. To turn it on go to System Preferences > General and tick the box that says “Use dark menu bar and Dock”. It will go from white to a very dark grey.

Change back to your previous desktop picture: A new OS a new desktop picture that is installed as standard. If you don’t want a picture of the Yosemite national park, or you want a different picture of the Yosemite national park, you can do so by going into System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver and selecting either one of Apple’s pictures or going to your Pictures folder and choosing one of your own. You can even set it to change the picture every 30 minutes.

Enable Power Nap: One from before Yosemite, but a good trick none the less. If you are on a laptop and it supports Power Nap you can have your Mac periodically check for new email, calendar, and other iCloud updates while it is sleeping. To do this go to System Preferences > Energy Saver and tick the Enable Power Nap while on battery power and the Enable Power Nap while on Power Adapter boxes.

Creating a Guest Account: It’s a really old tip, but one we recommend to everyone with a Mac. Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups and create a Guest User. Now if anyone comes around and needs to use a computer you can offer them the guest account without ever touching your details. It’s also good if you want to make your computer child friendly.

Making your computer child friendly: Aside from creating a guest account you can also set Parental Controls to make sure they can’t access certain apps or features. Go to System Preferences > Parental Controls to set it up.

Reduce the Transparency effect: It’s new, but you might not like it. To reduce the affect go to System Preferences > Accessibility and tick the Reduce transparency box.

Sending a file using AirDrop to a iPhone: You can now use AirDrop between iPhone, iPad, and a Mac using Yosemite. Go to Finder > Go > Airdrop and wait for the iPhone to show up. If it doesn’t make sure AirDrop is turned on on the iPhone by going to Control Centre and selecting AirDrop. On the Mac when the icon appears of the contact you want to share to and send the file.

Turn Dashboard back on, or off: If you find you don’t use Dashboard or you do and want it back on you can now do so by going to System Preferences > Mission Control and selecting from the dropdown box.

Record your iPhone or iPad screen: If you want to record something on your iPad or iPhone go to QuickTime, plug in your iPhone and then go File > New Movie Recording and select your iDevice from the dropdown menu next to the record button, hit record.

Stopping iPhoto open automatically: By default Apple will try and open iPhoto when you connect your camera or insert your SD card into a reader. To stop this happening. Plug in your device (or insert your SD Card) and then go to Spotlight and type ImageCapture. Once loaded go to a small arrow in a box at the bottom left of the application window and select No Application from the drop down menu that is associated with the words "Connecting this camera opens:" 


Today view: Notifications gets a new Today view mode that is a bit like Dashboard allowing you to add widgets and snippets so you can glance at stuff quickly. To access it do a two-finger swipe from the right-hand side of your trackpad.

Removing or adding widgets: Open up the Today View and then click on edit at the bottom. pressing the red circle will remove them from view, while in the second column pressing the green circle adds them.

Changing the order in Today View: Open Today view, press the edit button, and then click and drag on any of the widgets darker grey title bar. You can then move them up or down according to how you want to see them.

Setting what does and doesn’t notify you: Having everything ping you with a banner every time you get a notification can be a bit much. You can manage your notifications and what apps are allowed to notify you by the Notifications Settings panel. You can access this either via System Preferences or via the cog icon in the Today view.


Opening spotlight: Press the spacebar and command key at any time and the Spotlight window will open.

Limiting what Spotlight searches: Spotlight searches a lot more than it used to from web addresses, to local businesses, to your contacts. If you want to reduce the amount of apps it searches go to System Preferences > Spotlight and make sure the ones you don’t want are unticked.

Hiding folders in Spotlight: For privacy reasons you can hide folders from showing in Spotlight. Go to System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy and then press the plus icon at the bottom of the window. Now select the folder you want to hide and it won’t show up in search again. Handy if you’ve got a communal computer and you want to hide details about that surprise birthday party you are planning.

Turning off web searches in Spotlight: It’s a nice feature, but if you don’t want Spotlight to bother searching the web based on your location, and just to focus on what’s locally stored on your Mac then go to System Preferences > Spotlight > and untick Spotlight Suggestions.

Currency conversions: Spotlight can now do currency conversions when you are both offline and online. Open Spotlight and then start typing something like 1 USD in GBP and you’ll get the latest rate. It also does weights, measurements and other stuff too.

Why you need LastPass to secure your digital life

os x yosemite tips and tricks see what your mac can do now image 2


Allowing Handoff: If you want to make sure your iPhone or iPad can use the new Handoff feature, or you want to turn it off, go to System Preferences > General and right at the bottom make sure “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices” is ticked.

Using Handoff: Open an Apple app on your phone like Messages, Safari or Mail and then look at a specific thing, like an email, a webpage, or a message. On your dock a new icon will appear at the far left of the dock. Click on this and the corresponding window will now open on your Mac.

Using Instant Hotspot: Make sure your iPhone is on the same iCloud account and then go to the Wi-Fi icon on the menu bar. If your iPhone is detected it will show in the drop down list. Click on it and you are connected. On the phone a blue bar will appear at the top of the screen to show it’s worked if you really are unsure.

READ: OS X Yosemite Continuity and Handoff review: You can put your phone away, but not completely

SMS messages in Messages app: To do this you need to enable the feature on your iPhone. Make sure you are running iOS 8.1 and then go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding. Find your Mac and pair the two devices with a security code. You’ll now be able to see and send Text messages via the desktop.

Phone calling via FaceTime: Make sure you are logged into FaceTime with your iCloud account and are running iOS 8 or higher on your iPhone. Dial the number via the “Enter name, email, or number” box on the app and then confirm you want to make the call when the notification appears.

Phone calling via Safari: Find the number you want to call in Safari and hover over it with your mouse pointer. A small triangle will appear at the end (sometimes you have to select a little bit of the number) select Call “number” Using iPhone

Phone calling via Spotlight: If you’ve already got the number if your contacts book an even quicker way to phone the person is to press Command + Spacebar and then type their name. When their contact details come up click on the phone icon to call them.

Turn off Phone calls: If you don’t want to receive phone calls on your Mac you can turn it all altogether. Go to the FaceTime app and then Preferences. Untick the box marked “iPhone Cellular Calls.”

Use a different mic for calling on your iPhone: If you want to used a dedicated Mic for iPhone calling you have to make sure it’s setup in FaceTime rather than just at a system level. To do this go to the FaceTime app. From the Video menu, you can choose your dedicated mic instead of the internal mic.


Turn on iCloud Drive: If you’ve got an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 you’ll want to turn on iCloud Drive so you can quickly share documents between your two devices. Go to System Preferences > iCloud and tick the iCloud Drive box. Yosemite will then add an iCloud Drive folder to your computer and anything you put in here will be accessible to the relevant apps on your iPhone or iPad.

Select which apps are available with iCloud Drive: You can specifically decide which apps work with iCloud Drive. Go to System Preferences > iCloud > Options and tick the apps you want to use.

READ: Apple iCloud Drive explained: What is it and how does it work?

Managing your iCloud storage: You get 5GB as standard, but if you want to buy more go to System Preferences > iCloud and then click on the Manage button at the bottom. Here you can see what apps / Backups are using the most data and change your storage plan accordingly.

Manage Family accounts: If you are using the new Family account option with iCloud you can manage your account and who is apart of it via System Preferences > iCloud > Family Account.


Managing Extensions: New to OS X Yosemite is Extensions. You can manage how they work and what access they have via System Preferences > Extensions. The Extension options are broken down to Actions, Finder, Share Menu, and Today.

Creating a better Share Menu: Go to System Preferences > Extensions and then untick the services you don’t use. If you don’t care about ever sharing to LinkedIn you can remove it from showing up in the first place.


Favourites View: In an attempt to try and give you as much space as possible Safari has ditched the default Bookmark bar in favour of a favourites view. To access it (basically your bookmark bar in a different guise) click on the url search box at the top.

Get back the Bookmarks bar: Go into Safari > View > Show Favourites Bar.

Remove frequent sites from the Favourites bar: If you want to make sure certain websites you frequently visit don’t show up in the Favourites bar you can simply click and drag them off to delete them.

Remove the Favourites bar completely: Go into Preferences > Search and uptick the Show Favourites box. It won’t bother you again.

Remove Spotlight Suggestions from search bar: Same as removing the favourites bar. Go to Preferences > Search and untick the Spotlight Suggestions box.

Accessing the new Tab view: Either click on the new new square document icon at the top right of the window. Alternatively press Shift + Command + \

Easier history clearing: Safari makes it easy to clear your browsing history for the last hour or day. When you clear websites from your history, Safari also deletes any cookies or other browsing data they have left behind. Just select History > Clear History and Website Data from the Safari menu bar.

Changing to DuckDuckGo search: Go to Preferences > Search > and select DuckDuckGo from the drop down menu that says Google as default.

Remembering which window is Private browsing: Safari now lets you have multiple browsing sessions open at once, including private and non-private browsing. To remember which is which, the Private browsing one will have a dark search field URL bar.

Stronger cookie blocking: Safari has a new, stronger option for third-party cookie blocking. The new “Allow from current website only” setting in the Safari Privacy pane blocks all cookies that aren’t from the website you’re currently on—even if those third-party cookies are from a website you’ve visited before. This setting can protect you from being tracked across the web if you’re browsing sites that contain embedded content from websites you’ve previously been to.


Markup images: You can now annotate images and fill out forms right from within Mail. So when someone sends you a file that you need to fill out or mark up, you don’t need to leave Mail, save a new file, or add it back to your email conversation—just annotate it right in your reply.

Annotate a picture in Mail: On the picture in the email message click there is now a downward arrow in the top right hand corner. Click on it and then select “Markup” to reveal a picture annotation suite.

Add a signature to a form: Follow the above tip for annotating a picture and then select the icon that looks like a signature (fourth one along from the left). You can either use the trackpad to sign it or sign on a bit of white paper and then have the camera snap a shot of it instead.

Changing the image size of a image you are sending: You can now easily change the size of an image you are sending by selecting to have it sent as the actual size, small, medium, or large. To do this attach a picture in a new message and then select the Image Size from the drop down menu beneath the senders details at the top.

Select a theme for your email: Compose a New Message and then click on the far right icon at the top that looks like a piece of paper with some dots on it. You can then select a series of themes to suit your need or mood.


View attachments you’ve been sent in the past: You can now see all the images you’ve sent people by going to the Recipient in question and clicking on Details (top right). All the photos and other attachments from a conversation appear in a handy viewer, so you can browse attachments easily without having to scroll through a conversation to locate one.

Mute conversations: If you need to mute notifications from a single person or a group you can now do so. Go to the conversation, click on Details, and then Do Not Disturb.

Send a voice message: Go to the conversation, click on the microphone icon and record a message. Click send to send it.

See where your family is: If you are using the Family Sharing feature you can share your location and see the location of your family via Details in the Messages app for that conversation. To turn this off go to iCloud, Family Sharing, and make sure the “Allow xyz to see your location” is unticked.

Writing by Stuart Miles.