Mavericks is the latest version of Apple’s operating system for the Mac, and the good news is that it’s free for anyone running OS X Snow Leopard or later. Shifting to a free upgrade ensures that stragglers who wouldn’t have paid for it will still be able to keep their software up to date. This allows developers to create apps that make use of its capabilities, rather than limiting features for the sake of backward compatibility. Meanwhile, the allure of free OS X upgrades makes Mac hardware more appealing to shoppers, especially those from the Windows world who are used to paying for a operating system upgrade – the standard full version of Windows 8.1 costs £99. However, there’s been some criticism that, while free, this is a very minor update. So minor, in fact, that Apple couldn’t charge for it. Many of the new features are “engineering techniques to make up for Mac hardware limitations,” complains Macworld publisher, Simon Jary. We disagree, and as you’ll see if you read on, there are a lot of new features and technologies that are well worth upgrading for.
22 Tips to get more out of the Finder in Mavericks
Watch our video for an overview of how to use the Finder in Mavericks
Over the past few years, the various iterations of Mac OS X have sought to minimise the amount of time users spend looking for, and managing, files in the Finder. From system-wide searching via Spotlight (introduced in 2005 with OS 10.4 Tiger) to Launchpad (in 2011 with Lion), Apple has invested effort into offering alternatives to the Finder. This time, the company is refocusing on the Finder, offering new features that are Finder-centric.
There are a lot of enhancements to the Finder. The new tabbed interface, for example, will probably remind you of Safari, while Apple is encouraging users to categorise files even further by using tags. Designed to make it easier to find the documents you need, they are borrowed from the world of blogging and social networking. In the sidebar of every Finder window you’ll see a list of tags. Click on one and you’ll immediately see all the files on your Mac with that tag.
You may be thinking that tags are reminiscent of Labels, however, they act in a slightly different way; rather than surrounding the entire name of a file, a small coloured circle appears next to the file’s name. If a file is tagged with more than one coloured tag, you’ll see a stack of circles, slightly overlapping.
Get to know the Finder: 23 Mac OS X Finder Tips
Q: How do I open a new tab in the Finder?
1. When you have a Finder window open, click cmd-T to open a new tab.
2. From inside the Finder window, right-click on the folder you want to access and choose Open in New Tab to open a new Finder window in a new tab.
3. If you want to open a Finder window associated with a folder or a drive listed in the left-hand column of the Finder, hold down the cmd key while clicking the folder you wish to open.
4. When you have more than one tab open, you’ll see a small plus (+) in the right corner of the Finder window. Click this to add a new tab.
Q: How do I get all my open Finder windows in one place?
5. If you have a lot of separate Finder windows open, you can gather them all in one window by choosing Merge All Windows from the Window menu.
6. You can maintain different views in all your Finder tabs. Icons in one, lists in another, for example.
Q: How do I get a Finder window to open in a separate window?
7. You can open a new Finder window by selecting cmd-N. But you can also make an open tab become it’s own Finder window, click on that tab and drag it outside the window.
8. You can drag and drop files between tabs – drag a file up to the tab and let go. If you want to check the contents of that tab before dropping the file in, drag and hold, and its Finder window will open and become active.
9. The Finder now offers a full-screen mode that will remain open in a separate Space, so you can use the Mission Control button on your keyboard to switch in and out of it.
10. When you save a file, you can assign a tag or tags of your choosing. In every standard Save dialog box in Mavericks, there’s a new Tags box immediately below the text-entry field where you name your file. Select a tag that you’ve already created, or add a new tag by typing into the Tags box, and it will autofill as you type, so you shouldn’t end up creating multiple versions of a tag you’ve already set up.
Q: How do I tag a file or folder?
11. You can add Tags to any file or folder in various ways.
12. If there’s an overlap, you can give a file with more than one tag, so your handover document could be tagged with work as well as holiday.
13. If you want to tag a folder or file, right-click and choose Tags, then assign a name for it.
14. There’s also new Edit Tags icon at the top of the Finder window that lets you assign a tag to the item or folder you’ve selected – it looks like a slider switch.
15. Another way to tag files is to drop them on top of the relevant tag in the left of the Finder window.
16. To add more than one tag, hit the comma button.
17. Tags can be several words long.
Q: How do I edit tag names and colours?
18. Set up the tags you think you’ll use and assign colours to them that are logical to you by right-clicking in the pre-assigned tags in the left-hand column (currently named by colour). Right-click on the name and choose Rename.
19. You can assign colours to your tags but there are only eight to choose from, so choose wisely. To assign a colour, right-click on the tag in the menu on the left-hand side of the Finder. If it doesn’t show, All Tags will open the tags in an editable window.
Q: How do I view the files I've tagged?
20. A small subset of your tags is listed by default on the left-hand side of the Finder window, but if you click All Tags, a second column will appear that shows every tag on your Mac. You can choose which ones appear in the sidebar by selecting All Tags and adding in the ones you want to appear in the list.
21. If you tag all the files you create when searching for you ideal holiday, for example, you can view these by selecting the holiday tag on the left-hand side of the Finder.
22. If you start typing a tag in a Finder window’s search box, you’ll see an option to search for files containing that tag. This doesn’t happen when you use Spotlight to search for an item.
11 tips to get more out of iCloud Keychain in Mavericks
Although your Mac could remember passwords before, this is the first time this service has been available across all your Apple devices. iCloud Keychain will retain your passwords, credit card numbers and Wi-Fi authentication, not just for your Mac, but your iOS devices and any other Macs you own. This means that if you save a password on your MacBook, for example, it’ll be there when you next visit that site on your iPad.
Having iCloud automatically fill in your passwords for you solves one of today’s big problems, the fact that we have so many complicated passwords to remember. Secure passwords tend to be long and complex chains of letters, numbers, symbols and word combinations that are hard to crack, but quickly forgotten. This problem is exacerbated by websites demanding that you have to set up a new password regularly, or because you have to change it every time you visit a site because you’ve forgotten the one you set up last time. As a result, we end up with so many different passwords that we’ve no hope of remembering them all. This is where iCloud Keychain steps in.
This stores all your passwords and keeps them up to date across each of your devices. It also automatically fills them in whenever you need them, and even provides a Password Generator to suggest unique passwords that should be hard to guess.
You can also store details for multiple credit cards including their expiration dates, although you’ll need to know your security code for each.
All these are securely encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption. Also, because iCloud Keychain checks the actual address against the one of your real bank or web service, it doesn’t fall for phishing attacks. The only potential problem would be if someone managed to crack your single password in iCloud Keychain, because they would then have access to all your other passwords. However, your password in Keychain is itself behind the Mac OS X admin password, so somebody would have to be inside your personal computer to gain that access.
Get to know iCloud Keychain in Mavericks
Q: How to set up iCloud Keychain?
1. If you want to take full advantage of iCloud Keychain, you’ll need to make sure it’s running on all your iOS 7 devices. On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > iCloud and make sure Keychain is turned on. Now go to Settings > Safari > Passwords & AutoFill and check the features you want to take advantage of.
2. If you tap on Settings > Safari > Passwords & AutoFill > Saved Passwords, you’ll see a list of all the sites that have your details saved. Tap one, enter your passcode and you’ll see your password.
3. To set up iCloud Keychain on your Mac, open System Preferences > iCloud. Scroll down and check that Keychain is selected. If you’ve already set up iCloud Keychain on your iPhone, for example, Apple will send a text message to your handset asking you to confirm that your Mac (and any other device you add) can access your iCloud Keychain.
4. When you first set up iCloud Keychain, you’ll have to select an iCloud Security Code. It’s important that you don’t forget this, as you’ll need it when you approve any new device you add to iCloud Keychain. You can, of course, choose not to have a security code at all, but this is highly unadvisable. You’ll also have to provide a phone number where you can receive SMS messages alerting you if another device signs up for your iCloud Keychain.
5. Cloud Keychain is an optional feature. You can turn it on or off in the iCloud System Preference pane on your Mac, or in Safari > Passwords & AutoFill on your iOS device.
6. If you’re concerned about people being able to access your Mac and get into your accounts via iCloud Keychain make sure you set a password so that it’s necessary to log into your computer after it goes to sleep. We’d recommend setting a low timeout to stop this. To set up your Mac so it needs to be unlocked if you leave it for any period of time, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy, and make sure that ‘Require password immediately after sleep of screen saver begins’ is selected.
7. To ensure your screen saver comes on quickly when you are away from your Mac, go to System Preferences → Desktop & Screen Saver → Screen Saver and select how soon you wish it to start.
8. The first time you visit a secure site that requests your name and password, Safari will offer to remember it – you can tell it not to if you prefer. If you choose to let it remember your login details, iCloud will sync them across all your devices. If you happen to have a number of different logins for a site, delete the username offered and iCloud Keychain will provide possible login combinations for you to select from. Unfortunately, our experience with Google+ suggests it was getting a bit confused, because even when we logged in with one set of details, it defaulted to the other account.
9. You can add credit card details in Safari. Go to Safari > Preferences > AutoFill and choose Edit > Add, and enter the card number and other details. You’ll still need your security code from the back of your card to be able to make a purchase, though.
10. Worried about saving your credit card details to iCloud Keychain? If you would rather Safari didn’t remember this information, go to Safari > Preferences > AutoFill and deselect Credit cards.
11. Your Mac will now also generate a random password for you when you’re prompted to create one. Then Safari will save the random password in the keychain, so you never have to remember it. Unfortunately, right now only a few sites recognise iCloud Keychain’s password generation feature – for example, when we tried to sign up for google.com we received a message that Safari will not suggest a password because “google.com” requested passwords not be saved. Facebook will allow iCloud Keychain to suggest a password for you, however. As soon as you click in the password box, you’ll see a suggested password combining various letters and numbers, and a message saying that the password will be saved in your iCloud Keychain.