Super-advanced tips for Mac OS X Yosemite

Headline features are all well and good but it’s the little updates and tweaks that can turn using a new version of Mac OS X into a joyous experience. Below we look at some lesser-known tricks, tips, hints and hacks that might just make easier the transition from OS X Mavericks. We've added five new tips at the end.

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  • Sticky Spotlight 1
  • Network Disconnection 2
  • Recording output 3
  • Import bookmarks 4
  • Highlighting in brown or pink 5
  • Flat, flat, flat 6
  • Better annotation 7
  • Preview files 8
  • Website update feeds 9
  • Get Java 10
  • Change FaceTime's ringtone 11
  • QuickType in Yosemite 12
  • Images from a chat 13
  • Turn off Dashboard 14
  • Kill a Safari tab 15
  • Sign using your trackpad 16
  • Bring back the old 17
  • Search better 18
  • Dictate better 19
  • Turn tags into stacks 20
  • See the full URL 21
  • Keypad keytones 22
  • Look in folders 23
  • Repeat reminders 24
  • Flyover in Maps 25
  • Easier network shares 26
  • Switch to mini-player 27
  • Unify your passwords 28
  • Close tabs 29
  • Switch to Dark mode 30
  • NEW: Turn off SMS/phone 31
  • NEW: Delete website suggestions 32
  • NEW: Translate 33
  • NEW: Audio messages 34
  • NEW: Energy check 35
  • More stories
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Tip 1 of 35: Make the Spotlight window sticky

This might be a bug or it might be a feature but give a try and see what you think.

When using Spotlight in Yosemite, you can right-click (or Ctrl+click) the Spotlight icon at the top right of the desktop to make the window stay on top and not disappear in the usual way when you click outside of it. This way you can grab as much info as you need without the fear of accidentally cancelling your search.

The Spotlight icon will turn blue to indicate this new sticky mode (or grey if you use the Graphite colour scheme).

Subsequently, the only way to make the Spotlight window disappear is to left-click the Spotlight icon. Or if that doesn't work, cmd-space again.

Strangely, the Notifications icon at the top right will also turn blue if you right-click it, but this trick doesn’t work there — the Notifications area will still disappear when you click outside of it. Intriguing! 

See also: 10 ways to get more out of Yosemite

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This might be a bug or it might be a feature but give a try and see what you think.

When using Spotlight in Yosemite, you can right-click (or Ctrl+click) the Spotlight icon at the top right of the desktop to make the window stay on top and not disappear in the usual way when you click outside of it. This way you can grab as much info as you need without the fear of accidentally cancelling your search.

The Spotlight icon will turn blue to indicate this new sticky mode (or grey if you use the Graphite colour scheme).

Subsequently, the only way to make the Spotlight window disappear is to left-click the Spotlight icon. Or if that doesn't work, cmd-space again.

Strangely, the Notifications icon at the top right will also turn blue if you right-click it, but this trick doesn’t work there — the Notifications area will still disappear when you click outside of it. Intriguing! 

See also: 10 ways to get more out of Yosemite

 

Step 2 of 35: Disconnect from a network

Want to disconnect from a wireless network? Prior to Yosemite this was a bit of a hassle involving either switching off Wi-Fi entirely, or delving into System Preferences.

On Yosemite all you need do is hold down Alt (or Option on some keyboards) and click the Wi-Fi icon at the top right of the screen. Beneath the name of the currently in-use Wi-Fi base station will be a disconnect option. (This option also appears when you connect to an iPhone/iPad via Personal Hotspot, although in this case there’s no need to hold down Alt/Option because it appears in the main menu.)

See also: 10 tweaks for Mac OS X you didn't know are possible

 

Step 3 of 35: Record your iPhone or iPad's output

Ever needed to create a tutorial or walkthrough for something on iOS? Or do you just fancy projecting your iPhone or iPad screen onto your Mac’s display?

Previously the only way to do so was complicated setups involving AirPlay mirroring and third-party software. With Yosemite all you need do is attach the device to your Mac via USB and then open QuickTime Player. Then select File > New Movie Recording.

QuickTime will default to your Mac’s iSight camera (assuming it has one), but click the small down arrow alongside the record button and your iPad or iPhone will show-up as an option.

Of course, you haven’t got to record anything, and can simply expand the QuickTime Player window to full-screen for some cool game-play mirroring! You can also select the New Audio Recording option in QuickTime Player to record only audio via your phone or tablet’s microphone. (Sadly, recording video/audio in this works only with Lightning connections and not the older iPod-style cables.)

See also: Mac OS X Yosemite review

Read: Yosemite tips for beginners

 

Step 4 of 35: Import Chrome or Firefox bookmarks into Safari

Fancy switching to Safari? It’s one of the fastest browsers around nowadays and, of course, is necessary if you want to use features like Handoff and iCloud Tabs.

Unfortunately, importing bookmarks into Safari used to be a pain, involving exporting them from your existing browser as an HTML file.

In Yosemite Safari can now nip in to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox’s configuration files and grab them automatically, making switching much easier. Just click the options on the File > Import From sub-menu. With Firefox, Safari can import bookmarks, history and passwords. For Chrome it can import just bookmarks and history.

Read How to use Safari on the Mac, Yosemite Safari tips

 

Step 5 of 35: Brown is now a highlight option. And pink.

Okay, so this is a really small detail, but it’s one worth knowing if you truly like to personalise your Mac’s interface! Open System Preferences, click the General icon, then look under the Highlight Color dropdown list.

You’ll find Brown and Pink have been added as options in Yosemite. The colour formerly known as Gold has also been renamed Yellow, and most colours are a touch duller than previously. All that glitters…

 

Step 6 of 35: Make the “flat” user interface a little more bearable

Flat, flat, flat. That’s the mantra for interface designers at Apple right now. At Apple’s HQ nobody is able to drive anywhere because even the car tyres are flat.

Not your taste? Open System Preferences, click the Accessibility icon, then ensure Display is selected at the left. Put a check alongside Increase Contrast.

The effects will be visible immediately, and this alternative look and feel has been compared to the plain and simple appearance of very early releases of Mac OS from the 1980s. (Plain colour wallpapers also might help if the translucency effect annoys you, and don’t forget the “Dark” UI option under the General section of System Preferences.)

 

Step 7 of 35: Annotate better in Preview

The Preview app has gained a number of new tools in Yosemite. To access the new tools, click the Toolbox icon at the right of the toolbar, alongside the Search field.

Sketch: The pen icon lets you draw a shape, which is autocorrected to its nearest canonical shape — draw a circle and it’ll be converted to a perfect circle. A floating toolbar will appear offering the chance to switch back to your rough sketch.

New shapes: Yosemite lets you add stars and polygons to images or documents, in addition to rectangles and circles. Click the shapes icon and a dropdown list appears. Shapes are dropped onto the canvas and you can move them by clicking and dragging. Blue handles allow resizing while the smaller green handles can change the shape or nature of the item - adjusting how many sides a polygon has to create a triangle, for example.

Shaded mask: At the bottom left of the shapes dropdown list that appears when you click the shapes icon is the new mask tool. It lets you define an area of the image for highlighting. It does this by making the rest of the image shaded. It's  similar to the Crop tool on some image editors, but totally unrelated.

Loupe: To magnify an area of the image to show detail you can place a loupe at that spot. This tool lives the bottom of the shapes dropdown list. You can place loupes over the top of each other to magnify the image. It might seem this is a magnifying tool to help with editing, but each loupe you place is saved-out with the image, and other items can be placed over the top of them.

The new tools in Preview are part of Yosemite’s Markup feature, featured in Mail and used to annotate attachments (click the arrow at the top right of any image/PDF mail attachment). However, Markup is available system-wide, and not just in Mail. Add a picture to a TextEdit or Stickies document and the same Markup option will appear at the top right of the image (although not in the Notes app).

 

Step 8 of 35: Preview files in Finder

Finder has always offered a preview pane as part of the Columns view mode. As you might expect, this showed a preview of the currently clicked-upon file.

In Yosemite the preview can be activated in any view mode – icon, list, column, or Cover Flow.

To activate the preview window, click View > Show Preview. Alternatively, tap Shift+Cmd+P.

Click the same button or hit the same keyboard combo to hide it again.

 

Step 9 of 35: Tune into website update feeds

Back in the old days, Safari had the ability to tune into news feeds (that is, it was compatible with RSS/Atom update feeds provided by some websites). Unfortunately, the feature was then pulled in OS X Mountain Lion.

In Yosemite it's back, and integrated very neatly with the Shared Links feature that pulls links from your friends' Twitter feeds. Just click on the RSS/Atom link on any web page and you'll then be asked if you want to add the site to your collection.

To view Shared Links, click the Sidebar button on the Safari toolbar (next to the back/forward icons), and then click the @ icon. Note that shared links, regardless of their source, are sorted by the date and time they were posted.

To unsubscribe from a site, again click to show the Sidebar in Safari, then click the @ icon, and click the Subscriptions button at the bottom. Click the X icon to the left of any site you want to remove.

 

Step 10 of 35: Get Java

Considering the security risks presented by the Java Runtime add-on, Apple has perhaps wisely removed it entirely from Yosemite - even if you already had it installed in Mavericks.

However, this decision stops certain apps from running. There’s a twist in the tail, however, because simply installing the latest Java release from Oracle might not provide the solution.

Certain apps like Minecraft and Adobe Photoshop CS5 require the version of Java provided by Apple, even though this is a little ancient. The solution is to install both Apple and Oracle's versions, and the two can exist in harmony side-by-side. Apple's Java can be found and installed via here, while Oracle's up-to-date version of Java can be found here (select to download the JRE version).

How to get Photoshop CS5 to run in OS X Yosemite

 

Step 11 of 35: Change FaceTime's ringtone

Much has been said about how you can now answer calls made to your iPhone via your Mac in Yosemite (and make calls from your Mac too - just type the number into the FaceTime search field).

What you might not know is that the ringtone can be changed to any of the ringtones found in iOS 7/8, as well as any of the “classic” tones from earlier versions of iOS.

To do so, open FaceTime and then open its Preferences panel (Cmd+,). Then choose by opening the Ringtone dropdown list at the bottom.

To change the alert noise that accompanies text messages displayed on your Mac’s screen, open Messages and open its preferences dialog box (Cmd+,), then select from the options in the Message Received Sound dropdown list.

This will change the alert sound for all new messages, no matter where they originate (i.e. iMessage, text/SMS, Facebook etc.)

There’s no way to specify a specific tone for text messages.

Read: How to make custom ring tones on your iPhone

 

Step 12 of 35: QuickType in Yosemite

Kudos to iDownload blog for spotting this one. In some OS X apps like TextEdit it's been possible for a long time to hit Esc while typing a word (in some apps Alt+Esc) to have OS X guess the word you're currently typing. A list will appear and you can select by clicking one of them. It's pretty cool.

In Yosemite this feature has been expanded to something very close to iOS 8’s new QuickType feature that attempts to guess the next word you want to type.

Type "hello", then space, and then hit Esc (or Alt+Esc in some apps), and OS X will show a list of possible next words. You might also be able to click Edit > Complete.

We don’t know if this is tied into iOS 8's QuickType, that learns from what you type. We suspect not. But it's fun to play with, if a bit clumsy.

iMac or Mac mini - Mac desktops compared

 

Step 13 of 35: View all images from a chat participant

iOS 8 brought the ability to quickly and easily view all the images sent to you, and by you, in conversation with a particular iMessage recipient. Just tap the Details button at the top right of the screen when chatting.

Well, in Yosemite an almost identical feature comes to the Messages app. Just click the Details button at the top right when chatting and you'll see via a pop-out window all your attachments, sent and received.

Here you can also initiate a phone call, FaceTime call or – another new feature in Yosemite – initiate a screen sharing session wherein the other person can view your desktop.   

 

Step 14 of 35: Turn off Dashboard

Dashboard (the home of Widgets before they became part of the Notification Centre) was one of the big new features of OS X a few years ago. Sadly, nobody ever uses it, outside of a hard-core minority of fans.

In Yosemite you can easily turn off Dashboard, which avoids accidentally switching into it via an incorrect key press. Open System Preferences, click the Mission Control option, and select the Off option from the dropdown list alongside the Dashboard heading.

This feature is a little buggy, though, in that if you then invoke Dashboard by clicking its icon in Launcher or Applications, it will be reactivated but will still show as being Off in System Preferences.

Best Mac to buy: Mac Buying Guide

 

Step 15 of 35: Middle-click to kill a Safari tab

If you’ve an external mouse, clicking the mouse wheel while the cursor is hovering over a browser tab in Safari will instantly close it (Ctrl+Z will reopen it), even if the tab isn't the currently selected one.

Unfortunately because there’s no way to middle-click using a trackpad or Magic Mouse this trick is limited to “PC” mice (although adding middle-clicking capabilities to any pointing device is possible via apps like Better Touch Tool or MagicPrefs).  

 

Step 16 of 35: Sign things using your trackpad

If you’ve got a finger and a MacBook or Magic Trackpad then you can now sign PDFs within Preview. Admittedly, the signature you come-up with is only likely to be a representation of the real thing, but it might be enough.

Start by clicking the toolbox icon at the top right of the Preview toolbar (next to the search field), and then click the signature icon beneath (sixth from the left).

Then click Create Signature, ensure the Trackpad tab is selected, and then click to begin as directed. When you’ve finished you can select the signature from the menu, then drag it to wherever you want it to appear.

If you intend to make good use of this feature then you might want to use a touchscreen stylus, which will works just as well on a trackpad as it does on an iPhone or iPad. (A biro won't work, so don't try it!)

Here's how to use OS X Yosemite Extensions

The top 10 Yosemite Extensions

 

Step 17 of 35: Revert to the old OS X look

If you’re not a fan of the new-look Dock in Yosemite, or the system-wide use of the Helvetica Neue font, don’t suffer in silence. A couple of hacks are a download away to revert things to how they used to be. The first is lucida-grande-yosemite, which as its name suggests will revert the system-wide font to the older Lucida Grande used in Mac OS X versions 1-9.

It only works on non-Retina Macs, however, although the developer is working on a version for all Macs. It can be downloaded from here).

Right-click the app once downloaded and select Open from the menu that appears, then wait a few seconds and follow the instructions on-screen. To swap-out the Dock for something more old fashioned, you can use cDock, which can be downloaded from here. This can also restore “colour” icons to the Finder sidebar, as in older versions of OS X. Bear in mind that both these two apps are unauthorised hacks so come without guarantees or warranty. However, both include options to restore things back to the way they were should there be any problems.

We have also published a series of tips on how to master Safari in Mavericks, and tips for how to use Calendar in Mavericks. You can also find our Maps tips here, our Mail on a Mac tips here and you can read our iBooks on a Mac tips here. Finally, read how to use two screens at the same time in Mavericks, and read about our favourite 10 Mavericks features here.

Read how to customise your Mac here: How to customise your Mac desktop

 

Step 18 of 35: Search better in Safari

Put simply, Safari learns when you use the search field within any website. Subsequently you can then use the site’s search feature direct from Safari’s URL/search bar without having the visit the site first.

Just type the name of the site and your search query, then select the search option that appears in the pop-out window beneath. For example, to set this up for Amazon.co.uk you would visit the site, use the search feature to search for something (it doesn’t matter what), and then in future typing “amazon Sherlock Holmes” into Safari will show an option to search Amazon.co.uk for Sherlock Holmes.

On some sites you might not even have to do a dummy search first because Safari will figure it out all by itself. Give it a try. It’s a subtle feature, but a useful one

 

Step 19 of 35: Dictate better

Dictation has been in OS X for a few years now and it’s surprisingly accurate. In Yosemite Dictation has been substantially beefed-up with over 50 new commands, along the lines of “select previous sentence,” or, “replace carrot with parsnip.” Additionally the dictation call-out balloon now displays what it thinks are commands, as opposed to dictated text, and you’ll see any text interpreted immediately as you speak, as with Siri within iOS 8. (Read about Siri on the Mac here)

To view the commands you can use, first activate the Dictation feature by opening System Preferences and clicking Dictation & Speech. Then click the On radio button. Switch to an app in which you can type (such as TextEdit) and activate Dictation by tapping the left Cmd key twice (or possibly the Fn key on MacBooks). Then say “Show Commands”. A window will appear showing all the formatting commands possible.

Fans of the old Speakable Items feature that let users control their Mac by saying certain words or phrases might notice its absence in Yosemite, but the functionality is still there. Switch back to System Preferences and click the Accessibility icon. Look to the left of the window and scroll down until you can select Dictation, and then select Dictation Commands. Here you’ll see the same list of formatting commands as earlier, but you can also put a tick alongside Enable Advanced Commands to be able to say things like, “Switch to Microsoft Word,” or, “open document.” By clicking the plus icon you can also add your own spoken commands that can run apps, perform a particular keyboard shortcut, and more.

 

Step 20 of 35: Turn tags into stacks

Stacks are the special folders at the right of the Dock that spring up when clicked. It’s always been possible to drag your own folders down there to create your own stacks, but in Yosemite this feature is extended to tags – the color-coding system introduced with the previous version of OS X that lets you organise files.

Just drag a tag from where they’re listed in the sidebar of a Finder window to the right-hand side of the dock near the Trash. A space should open up for you to drop the icon, and clicking on that stack in future will show only files or folders that use that particular tag.

 

Step 21 of 35: See the full URL

In Yosemite Safari shows only the base URL of a site – a wise feature addition designed to avoid users being taken in by phishing scams, wherein the URL is obfuscated. In other words, if you're visiting http://macworld.co.uk/this/page/that/page then all you'll see in the address bar is macworld.co.uk.

If this isn’t what you want, Safari can be configured so the whole URL is shown. Open its preferences dialog box (Cmd+,) then click the Advanced icon and put a check alongside Show Full Website Address.

 

Step 22 of 35: Keypad keytones

Talking of making phone calls, if you’re in a call using your Mac and need to enter information “using your telephone keypad”, such as when using online banking, just type the numbers using your Mac keyboard.

They’ll automatically sound as standard DTMF tones, although you may need to first click on the call window at the top right of the desktop to ensure it has focus.

(And did you know that you can turn the floating call window into a regular window, complete with close/minimise buttons, by simply dragging it away from the corner?)

 

Step 23 of 35: Look in folders using Spotlight

If you search for something using the new Spotlight in Yosemite, a folder may be shown in the list of results.

What’s not obvious is that you can use the cursor keys to highlight this folder, then tap the Tab key to move the highlight over to the right of the window so that you can select an item within it.

Hitting Enter will open any highlighted entry. Tapping Shift+Tab will move the highlight back to the left-hand column.

 

Step 24 of 35: Repeat reminders

It’s always been possible to repeat entries within a Reminders list, but up until now the choices have been primitive and limited to every day, week, fortnight, month or year.

In Yosemite you can set pretty much any kind of repeat period – for example, repeating only on certain days of the week, or repeating every three days, or repeating on the first Saturday of each month, and so on.

Just click the (i) symbol alongside a reminder when you create it, then put a tick alongside On A Day, and then click Custom from the Repeat dropdown list. How it works is self-explanatory. 

 

Step 25 of 35: Flyover in Maps

In 2012 Apple introduced its own mapping solution and it demoed Flyover, wherein tours could be taken of various cities as if you’re in a virtual helicopter.

In Yosemite this feature comes to the built-in Maps app. Just use the search function to find a compatible city (Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, London etc) and then click the pin marking the place. In the pop-out window click the (i) icon, then in the second pop-out window select the Flyover Tour button.

Incidentally, if you’re wondering where the Hybrid maps feature has gone – wherein you can view satellite imagery with roads and place labels superimposed on top – just switch to satellite imagery by clicking the button at the top right, then click Show at the bottom left, and then Show Labels.

 

Step 26 of 35: Work easier with network shares

Here's one for anybody whose Mac is on a network with Windows computers, or other Macs that share files via the File Sharing function within System Preferences.

Up until Yosemite, clicking Go > Connect to Server within Finder, and then typing a bare IP address or hostname into the dialog box, would cause Finder to assume you wanted an AFP connection – Apple’s old file sharing technology that’s rarely used nowadays.

In Yosemite, Finder assumes you want Windows file sharing, which is used nearly everywhere (also known as SMB). In other words, all you need do now to access a shared folder on another computer is open Finder or click the desktop, tap Cmd+K, and then type the IP address or hostname of the computer you want to connect to, without the need to precede it with smb://, like you used to have to. (If you have to make an AFP connection, just precede the address with afp://)

 

Step 27 of 35: Instantly switch to mini-player

When music is playing within iTunes, clicking the small album art icon next to the currently playing track title at the top of the window will instantly switch iTunes to the mini-player window.

If there’s no album art associated with that track a musical note icon will appear there instead, but this trick will still work. Hold down Option/Alt while clicking and you’ll leave the main iTunes window visible while opening the mini-player.

Hold down Cmd and you’ll open a floating window showing a large version of the album art, complete with QuickTime Player-like controls at the bottom. Right-click the album artwork in this window and you’ll see options to make the artwork bigger or smaller, or even make it expand to the full height of the desktop. Neat!

 

Step 28 of 35: Unify your passwords

In Yosemite you can now login using your iCloud password, rather than having to remember a separate login password just for your Mac.

To activate this feature open System Preferences, then click the Users & Groups icon. Then click the padlock icon at the bottom left to unlock the preferences system, and click the Change Password button.

Finally, click the Use iCloud Password button.

 

Step 29 of 35: Close tabs on your iOS devices

If all your iOS devices and your Mac are signed into the same iCloud account, Safari’s Show All Tabs feature on your Mac (View > Show All Tabs) will show any tabs open on your iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches or other Macs.

What’s new to Yosemite is that an X will appear at the right-hand side if you hover the mouse over any of these tabs. Clicking it will close that tab on that device.

Considering it can be painstakingly annoying pruning-out no-longer-needed tabs when using Safari on an iPhone/iPod Touch, this is a God send!

Here's how to use Handoff: How to switch between your iPhone, iPad and Mac using Handoff

 

Step 30 of 35: Switch to Dark mode via a keyboard shortcut

Other than opening up System Preferences there’s no easy way to switch to the all-new Dark interface mode, which you might want to do quickly as the sun goes down each day, for example.

However, a Redditor with the handle abspam3 (http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/2jr6s2/1010_i_found_a_way_to_dynamically_switch_between/) has discovered a hidden way of doing so. Setting it up is a little involved but it subsequently works a treat.

Start by opening a Terminal window. You’ll find Terminal in the Utilities folder of the Applications list within Finder. Then copy and paste in the following, which should be entered as a single line:

defaults write -g _HIEnableThemeSwitchHotKey 1

Then log out via the Apple menu, and log back in again. Once you do so you’ll be able to switch instantly between Dark and non-Dark modes by tapping Ctrl+Alt+Cmd+T (on some keyboards Ctrl+Option+Cmd+T).

If you want to deactivate this feature, again open a Terminal window and type the following (which is again a single line), before logging out and back in again:

defaults delete -g _HIEnableThemeSwitchHotKey

 

Step 31 of 35: Turn off SMS/phone calls

So you’ve had a week or so of making/receiving calls and texts via your Mac, but what if you find it’s not something you want? Turning off both features is not entirely obvious.

Turning off making/receiving phone calls can be done by opening FaceTime on your Mac, opening the Preferences dialog box (Cmd+,), and removing the tick alongside IPhone Cellular Calls. Turning off text messaging must be done on the iPhone.

Open the Settings app, then tap the Messages heading. Tap the Text Message Forwarding heading, and tap the switch alongside the name of your computer.

Here is how to get Continuity to work on older Macs

 

Step 32 of 35: Delete a website suggestion

Clicking in Safari’s URL/search bar in Yosemite shows sites from your Favourites toolbar, as well as recently accessed sites.

If there’s any site you don’t want to be listed there, simply click and drag it away from the dropdown list. Once you release the mouse it’ll be deleted in a puff of smoke.

If you change your mind mid-drag, just tap Esc to cancel the procedure, or drag the icon back into the fold. If you change your mind after you’ve deleted something, just tap Ctrl+Z to undo.

The bookmark icons can also be rearranged by clicking and dragging them to new positions. 

 

Step 33 of 35: Translate to and from Spanish

The Dictionary app in Yosemite has gained several new languages. You can activate them by opening the app and opening the Preferences panel (Cmd+,) then putting a tick alongside them (drag them up and down to rearrange the order in which they appear during lookups).

New to Yosemite is a Spanish/English dictionary, and also Turkish, Portuguese, Thai and Russian language dictionaries.

Once the Spanish dictionary is activated, you can look-up any word in most apps by right-clicking it and selecting the Look Up option, or by hovering the mouse cursor over it and tapping Ctrl+Cmd+D.

 

Step 34 of 35: Send audio messages

The Messages app in Yosemite gains a little microphone icon alongside where you type. Perhaps surprisingly, this isn’t for dictation. Instead, it allows you to send short audio clips to other iMessage users, just like in iOS 8 (although Yosemite doesn’t offer any way of sending video clips via Messages).

Just click the icon, speak, and then click the red square button to end the recording. Then click the Send button. Rather strangely, there’s no way to preview the recording. Clicking on it does nothing. The audio quality also isn’t too good – we’re talking only slightly better than mobile phone – but that’s probably because the audio is compressed to make sending and receiving quicker.

Read our Mac email tips, using Mail in Yosemite

Recipients using iOS 8 devices will see the audio files as waveforms along with a play button. Those using earlier versions of iOS will be told they have an audio attachment that can be tapped to play.

Read our review of OS X Server (Yosemite).

 

Step 35 of 35: Faster energy check

Clicking the power icon at the top right of the desktop to see which apps are eating battery power on MacBooks used to take several long seconds under Mavericks, but under Yosemite it appears to be virtually instant.

To be honest, we’ve no idea if this is true for all MacBook models, and it’s impossible for us to check, but if you stopped using this feature because it simply took too long then give it a second look.

Read our beginners tips for Yosemite here: Yosemite tips: learn how to use Yosemite on the Mac

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