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5 Mac Tricks to Make Your Life Easier

The following post is from Lauren Rothlisberger of Get Me Geeky: 5 Mac Tricks to Make Your Life Easier

As the school year kicks off again and life seems to get more complicated, I thought I would offer you a couple of tips that seem to make my life a bit easier. A minute saved is a minute earned, right?

1. Grab

Grab is the application that takes screenshots of your Mac. It is found in Applications > Utilities > Grab. You can go to “Capture” on the menu and choose from several options. Or you can use a shortcut. Press COMMAND + SHIFT + 3 and take a screenshot. You can press COMMAND + SHIFT + 4 to get crosshairs and choose a particular portion of the page for your screen capture.

This is one of those random Mac tricks that comes in handy more often than you think. For example, it is nice when you want to “grab” a picture of that recipe you used and keep it in your recipe file. Take note all screenshots are automatically saved to the desktop.

2. Spotlight Calculator

Have you ever noticed that magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner of your Mac menu bar? If you click on it, it brings up a search bar called “Spotlight.” You can search your whole computer this way. You might have already known that Mac trick, but did you know you can put math equations in the search bar, and it will compute them for you right there? Go ahead and try it out!

3. Find Your Phone Using iCloud

Many of us know that we have this “Find Your Phone” option for a time when your phone disappears in public. Panic sets in because you assume someone stole it. But what about those times you just can’t seem to find it around the house? We don’t have a landline, so if I am home alone, I have no way of calling my phone to find it. Or what about those times you are looking for your phone, and it is on silent? You are desperately trying to hear the faint buzz sound coming from the couch cushions.

There is no need for this. Simply sign onto and go to “Find My iPhone”. Choose the green dot that relates to the lost phone and click it. A window should pop up. Press “Play Sound,” and your phone will play a sonar sound. It will play the sound EVEN IF your phone is on silent. Note: This does require you to have the iCloud turned on.

4. Home Sharing

Home Sharing is a feature Apple added to iTunes years ago. Basically, it allows you to listen to another person’s iTunes library over the same WIFI network. But the real hidden secret is you can also use Home Sharing with your iPhone/iPad. Let me give you an example: My iPhone does not hold all my music. So only a portion of my library is loaded on there. When I am bouncing around the house doing chores, I always have my phone with me and listen to music. Say I decided I am really in the mood to listen to Mumford and Sons’ latest album, but only a few of the songs are loaded on my phone. No problem. With Home, Sharing my iPhone can access my entire music library. It can also access my husband’s entire library.

To set this up you need to turn on Home Sharing from your laptop/desktop under iTunes> File > Home Sharing. Then on your device, go to Music, press “More” in the lower right-hand corner, then look for “Shared” in the list. Press “Shared” and choose your library. Note: Sometimes, sharing does not want to show up. Try turning your Home Sharing off and on again on your computer.

5. Keychain Access

Do you know that window that pops up asking you if you want to remember a password to a certain website? Well, Keychain Access is the application that actually stores all of those passwords. So that is pretty cool, and all, but Keychain Access has another clever trick. It allows you to write password-protected post-it notes. This is a great place to store other user names and passwords. There is only one password to access all these notes, so it is much easier to password management.

To set this up, go to Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access. Once it is open go to “Secure Notes” in the left-hand column. Then press on the + sign at the bottom of the window. This will allow you to add a password-protected note.

Now I have shared a few of my favorite Mac tricks. What is one of yours?

Make your Mac run better by cleaning it.

Lauren Rothlisberger blogs and consults over at Get Me Geeky. As a military wife and mom of three girls, five years old and under, she loves focusing on technology and productivity and finding new ways to simplify her life. She recently started putting together MacMinis, which are easy-to-follow videos for Mac users and also wrote an ebook, Evernote for Moms.