8 tips to get more out of Notification Centre in Mavericks
Notification Center first appeared in iOS, but made its way to the Mac with Mountain Lion. Luckily, Apple has made it a lot more useful and less annoying in this latest update. Just as in Mountain Lion, you’ll continue to see floating notification bubbles in the top right of your screen, reminding you that you need to do something, or letting you know that someone has Messaged you or sent you a Tweet, for example. However, now you can act on those things from within the bubble. Notification Center will now also tell you if your battery is running out and whether Time Machine has failed to back up your Mac. Previously these alerts would have taken the form of big warning boxes.
Get to know Notification Center in Mavericks
1. When you receive a message in Messages, you can click Reply and reply directly from the bubble.
2. You can also reply directly to Mail alerts from within the notification bubble.
3. FaceTime calls are also heralded by a notification bubble. You can answer or decline from the bubble itself, or reply with an iMessage if you are too busy to take the call.
Q: How can I stop Notification Centre being do annoying?
4. One of the things that annoyed us about Notifications in Mountain Lion was the fact that when there was a software update to install, the only way to make the alert go away was to open and close the Mac App Store. Mavericks includes the option to automatically update your Mac App Store apps, so Notification Center now informs you about the software that’s been updated, including whether an update requires you to quit an application or restart your Mac.
5. There’s also now a Later button that allows you to tell Notification Center to remind you about that update later.
Q: How can I stop Notifications appearing on my screen when I'm not there?
6. If you leave your Mac and it goes to sleep when you return, you’ll see all the notifications you missed while you were away. If you’re using Mail and Messages these could include potentially sensitive information that anyone can see without entering a password. To make sure that nobody can see your private information, visit the Notifications preference pane in System Preferences → Notifications, and select the app you wish to limit. Deselect ‘Show notifications on lock screen’ or make sure ‘Show message preview when unlocked’ is selected to ensure the contents of the message can’t be read.
7. You can opt to receive push notifications from some websites when Safari is running. When a site offers this notification feature, you’ll be asked whether you want to receive notifications. You can click Allow or Don’t Allow, and make changes later in the Notifications section of System Preferences if you change your mind.
8. The Do Not Disturb feature in Notification Center has been revamped allowing you to mute notifications at particular times, handy if you are about to run a presentation on your Mac. To set it up go to System Preferences → Notifications and choose for your Mac to turn on Do Not Disturb between 22:00 and 07:00 or When mirroring to TVs and projectors (see the above screenshot).
8 Tips for using Multiple Displays in OS X Mavericks
If you regularly use more than one monitor, then you’ll appreciate the fact that if you use an application in full-screen mode (a feature first introduced in Lion), you’ll be able to use the other display at the same time. Pre-Mavericks if you turned a program into full-screen mode, your other display would be rendered useless, taking on a wall-to-wall linen-look. Now you can use the other monitor, perhaps to pull content between two applications, or so you can view your email while working.
This isn’t all that’s new in terms of multiple displays, though. If you have an Apple TV hooked up to a TV, you can now turn that TV into a second display. So you could shoot a video over to your TV screen and let it play there while you are working on your laptop, for example.
Get to know Multiple Displays in OS X Mavericks
1. We love the fact that the Dock and menu bar now appear on both our screens. Pre-Mavericks, the OS X Dock appeared on your main screen only, usually at the bottom (although it’s possible to move it to the left or right), now the Dock will follow you around. Move your cursor to the bottom of your second screen to see it pop up.
2. Now each display can have its own menu bar featuring the contents of the menu for the currently active application on that screen. You’ll notice that the inactive program’s menu bar is semi-transparent, which is great news because previously you would have had to mouse back and forth to your primary screen to access menu items.
3. Mission Control (formerly know as Exposé) first appeared in Lion. Mission Control gives an overview of all running applications, grouping windows together according to the application and giving access to Spaces and full?screen applications. In Mavericks, each screen can act independently with its own Spaces. This means that where in Mountain Lion if you switched Spaces, the content on both displays would change, now when you switch Spaces only the content on the active display will change.
4. One thing we miss is the possibility to position a window so that it straddles two screens. If you drag a window towards another screen, it will fade out. If you prefer the way things used to be, you can choose to have Spaces remain consistent across your displays. To set Mission Control to your liking, visit System Preferences > Mission Control and decide whether displays should have separate Spaces.
(Image credit, Alice Thompson)
5. If you’ve got a television and an Apple TV, with Mavericks you can use the TV screen as an external Mac display. Although it was possible to use AirPlay Mirroring in Mountain Lion to view your Mac’s display on a television screen, in Mavericks you can treat that TV screen as a second display. Make sure you are on the same local network as your Apple TV – if you are you should be able to see the AirPlay icon in the menu at the top of your computer screen. During testing, we sometimes found our local network to be a bit flakey and we had to turn the router on and off to get the AirPlay icon to show up. Select the AirPlay icon and choose the Apple TV from the menu (if you have more than one Apple TV they will all show up here). Next, choose whether to Extend Desktop or Mirror the Built-In Display.
6. You can mirror the same screen on all your displays if you want, but only one Apple TV can be used at a time.
7. The display being driven by your Apple TV is likely to suffer from some lag, so you probably want to move the cursor more carefully when you are accessing content on that screen.
8. It doesn’t appear to be possible to use this screen-sharing feature with a Mac mini and an Apple TV attached to a TV screen. In that case your best option appears to be to plug the Mac mini into the TV using an HDMI cable.
New energy saving features in Mavericks
Many of the biggest changes introduced in Mavericks are behind the scenes. Apple has implemented a number of new technologies and enhancements at a system level, with a view to making your Mac more powerful without sacrificing battery life. As a result, if you install Mavericks, you should see performance gains even on an older machine.
These include features such as Timer Coalescing, which means that background tasks are sent to your processor in one go, so it can spend more time idle; and Memory Compression, which adds up to your Mac being able to treat 4GB RAM as if it is 6GB RAM, according to Apple.
How can I see the energy saving features in Mavericks in action?
1. If you’re using a MacBook, it’s useful to know that there’s a new drop-down menu under the battery icon in the menu bar. This will give you a list of currently running applications that are using significant energy. If you want to get the most out of your battery, you can shut down the biggest culprits.
2. There’s also an Energy tab in the Activity Monitor (see screen) that shows you the impact of all the currently running processes on your Mac, with data going back eight hours.
3. The new App Nap feature will regulate programs that are out of sight, which means they won’t be drawing resources and draining your battery when they aren’t being used. This is a good reason to minimise applications, or at least hide them behind other software when you aren’t using them.
4. Another power-saving feature is the low-power video playback mode in iTunes. In our tests, we found this gave us around 18 per cent more battery life.