Category Archives: Lion Tips & Tricks

High Resolution Wallpapers Hidden In Mountain Lion

In case you are interested: Apple has hidden 43 additional Desktop pictures in the latest OS X. osxdaily.com reports that you can find them in: /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.Framework/Versions/A/Resources/Default Collections/ They have a resolution of 3200 x 2000 and some are simply stunning.

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Protect Your Data With The Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield for the iPhone is free to try and after a week you can chose to pay per month ($0.99) or for a whole year ($9.99). Your money will get you a secure (encrypted) VPN connection to a proxy server in the US. This means all data send via public hotspots (like e-mails and passwords) is secure. Plus you can sneak past geo-blocking websites and iPhone apps to access US-only content outside the United States. Hey, there’s a Mac version as well!

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Lion Compatibility List

If you want to find out which applications are compatible with Mac OS X Lion and which ones are not, head over to Roaring Apps. The site offers a list of apps and their compatibility with Apple’s new operating system Mac OS 10.7. The user reports will let you know: “Works okay”, “some problems”, “not tested”, “does not work properly”. Thanks guys!

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Introducing: Apple’s iCloud

With iOS 5 and the next update of Mac OS X Lion (10.7.2.) just around the corner it is time to take a look at iCloud. The free service (curtsey of Apple) keeps your different Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) synchronised over the Internet. That includes photos, music, documents, and apps among other things. You get 5GB of free storage and your purchased music, apps, books, and TV shows, as well as the photo stream (of your last 1000 pictures) don’t count against that cloud space. Only mail, documents, the camera roll, account information, settings, and other app data will fill up the 5GB (that’s not too bad, right?) If you want more storage you can buy up to 50GB for $100 per year.

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Enhance Your Scrolling Options

Scroll Reverser gives you several options to adjust the direction of scrolling in Mac OS X Lion to your personal taste. You may opt for reverse horizontal or vertical scrolling and set different scrolling behaviour for your mouse, trackpad or tablet. Scroll Reverser is free of charge and rests in the menu bar for quick access (if you want it to).

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Enable AirDrop On Unsupported Mac

So, officially you only get the benefits of easy file sharing (aka AirDrop), when you have any of the following Mac models:

MacBook Pro (Late 2008 or newer); MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer); MacBook (Late 2008 or newer); iMac (Early 2009 or newer); Mac Mini (Mid 2010 or newer); Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010).

However there is a way around this (kind of*). Meaning you have to tinker with the Terminal first. Just type the following into the Terminal: defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces 1 (that’s it!) Now non supported Macs will know how to “AirDrop” files *as long as the Macs are in the same network. Thanks, Mac OS X Hints! To find out which WiFi cards support AirDrop check out this web site.

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Create Folder For Multiple Files

Another helpful new feature in Mac OS X Lion is the option to create a folder for multiple files. By selecting two ore more documents the context menu offers you “New Folder with Selection.” This will create a new folder in the same location and put the chosen files right in there.

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Check Your Mac Storage

Not a major feature but still good to know is Lions revamped “About This Mac” info panel. You can quickly find out where all the storage on your internal drive went or how much memory (RAM) is installed. Plus there is a link to an Apple document describing how to upgrade your Mac’s memory.

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Customise Mail’s E-Mail Alert

Just in case you’re the customising type, Apple Mail lets you choose your own “New message sound” in Mac OS X Lion. It is done via Mail Preferences –> General and New message sound. At the bottom you will find the option Add/Remove where you can select your favourite tunes and sound bites to play each time a new e-mail has arrived. Nice touch, Apple.

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Quickly Encode Audio To .M4A

This is a quick way (in Lion) to convert standard audio files (MP3, WAV, AIFF and others) to MPEG (.m4a). Select one or several audio files in the Finder and do a right-click. Almost at the bottom of the context menu you’ll find “Encode Selected Audio Files”. The next window will present several encoding options such as High-Quality (128 kbps) and iTunes Plus (256 kbps). Nice and easy!

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Lion Recovery Options

Apple provides several layers of security when it comes to your Lion installation. 1. There is a hidden partition on your hard drive if things go wrong (press Command-R during startup to access it). 2. Internet Recovery: This feature downloads Lion from an Apple server if the hard drive fails and there is no previous Lion installation available. 3. Create your own Recovery USB drive with Apple’s Lion Recovery Disk Assistant. 4. Restore from Time Machine Backup (if you have one). You can also create your own Lion restore solution, which doesn’t need Internet access.

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Change Lion’s Ugly iCal Look

If you find the new leather look of Lion’s iCal disturbing, to say the least, here is a simple solution. Head over to this friendly blog and download the necessary files to treat iCal to a more subtle (simple grey) user interface. The custom resource files are free so you only have to replace the original ones with a few clicks. Just in case – do a backup first!

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Finder View Settings In Lion

The new Lion Finder doesn’t show you file and folder sizes any more (or the number of files in a folder) by default. Also the file path is gone as is the slider to adjust the icon size in Finder’s icon view. Don’t worry you can bring it all back! Select the Finder and click on “View” in the top menu bar. There you’ll find “Show Path Bar” and “Show Status Bar”. Select the two and you’re up and running!

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Sign PDF Files In Lion

With Lion you also get a new feature called “Signature Capture”. This means you can sign PDF files by using the build in webcam of your Mac to take a picture of your signature. It’s fairly easy: Take a thick pen (a standard ballpoint pen might be a bit thin) and write your signature on a piece of paper. Open a PDF file in Preview and click on the symbol which looks like a pen to show the “Annotations Toolbar”. Here you will find the signature tool and may choose something like “Create Signature from FaceTime HD camera.” Now hold the paper straight in front of the cam and the tool will capture your signature, mirror it and add it to your PDF document. You can keep that signature for further use. Pretty cool and useful, huh!

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Open Web Links In Quick Look

Quick Look is a great tool to quickly look at pictures, Word documents, PDFs, movies and other files without opening their respective programmes. Apple’s Quick Look also supports web links in Lion. Just select a link you saved on your desktop or so with one click and press the space bar. Quick Look will now open the related website or file in a simple window. Tapping the space bar again will close the window.

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A Bootable Lion USB Stick

While installing Mac OS Lion via Apple’s App Store is easy, reinstalling Lion on a clean hard drive is not. A new installation requires access to the App Store (or at least a Internet connection). So if your hard drive just died you are really in trouble. This is where a (home made) bootable Lion partition on a USB stick (8GB) comes as a real life saver. Here is how you create it: 1/ Locate the Lion installer package after downloading it from the App Store (before actually installing Lion). 2/ Right-click and open “Show Package Contents”. 3/ Look for the folder “ShareSupport” and locate the file “InstallESD.dmg”. 4/ Copy (don’t move) that file to another location and open Disk Utility or Carbon Copy Cloner. 5/ Using Disk Utility select “InstallESD.dmg” and do a “Restore” onto your freshly Mac formatted USB stick. (Remember to use that stick as a Lion boot disk only!) You now have a backup Lion system on your stick.

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Show Hidden Library In Lion

In Mac OS X Lion Apple has hidden the user library, which used to be located at Users/Your Username/Library. But sometimes it is necessary to dig into that folder to delete preference files, obsolete application support folders, print drivers et cetera. A quick way to do just that is to go to “Finder” select “Go” from the menu bar and press the Alt-Key (Option Key). The invisible library folder will show up in the window as long as you hold the alt key and you can select it and navigate its contents. You can also drag the library folder to your side bar for quick access.

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