Many users of the Mail app in OS X Mavericks have experienced significant problems, ranging from severe issues like randomly deleting emails to entire inboxes, to not signifying if emails have been read, amongst a wide variety of other more minor but annoying problems with the Mail app. Some of the issues have been so bad or annoying that a fair amount of OS X users had to stop using the Mail app completely, seeking alternative solutions, particularly for Gmail, to work around the bugs. But that is no longer necessary, and if you’re a Mail app user you can comfortably use Gmail and Mail in OS X Mavericks again without having to deal with some of the bugs and quirks that plagued the initial release.
Getting the essential Mail update for Mavericks is done through the App Store:
- Quit Mail app
- Go to the Apple menu and choose ‘Software Update’ to launch the Mac App Store
- Head to the ‘Updates’ tab, refresh if necessary, and install ‘Mail Update for Mavericks 1.0’ by clicking Update
- Relaunch Mail app
The Mail update is fairly small and installs quickly, weighing in around 32.46MB. Users should not need to re-add or delete any existing Mail accounts or services for changes to take effect, relaunching Mail is sufficient, though the app will resync with whatever mail service is setup and it may take a while for the mailbox to rebuild. If you continue to have to have issues you can also try to manually reindex and rebuild the mailbox, which often resolves quirks with Mail app for OS X in general.
Release notes for Mail Update for Mavericks 1.0 are as follow:
Mail Update for Mavericks includes improvements to general stability and compatibility with Gmail, including the following:
▪ Fixes an issue that prevents deleting, moving, and archiving messages for users with custom Gmail settings
▪ Addresses an issue that may cause unread counts to be inaccurate
▪ Includes additional fixes that improve the compatibility and stability of Mail
Users who would prefer to download the Mail update outside of the Mac App Store can get the direct download from Apple, this can be helpful for installing on a group of Macs running Mavericks, or to avoid bandwidth overages for capped data connections.
With FaceTime Audio, the iPhone can now make free VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls directly from the built-in phone or FaceTime app, without the need for any third party services or applications. This basically means you make phone calls to anywhere in the world for free, so long as the recipient of the call is also using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and are running iOS 7.0 or newer. The audio call quality of FaceTime Audio is impressively clear and sounds much better than a standard cellular connection anyway, so even if you’re not looking to use this service as a long distance replacement, it can offer a significant improvement to general phone conversations as well.
Using FaceTime Audio for VOIP calls is extraordinarily easy, and if you have already made a video chat with FaceTime before you’ll find it’s not much different to start a voice chat from any iPhone or iPad:
- Open the Phone app and tap a contact name (note: if accessed through Favorites, tap the (i) button)
- Look for the “FaceTime” option underneath the contact name, then tap the little phone icon to initiate a FaceTime Audio call
The actual FaceTime Audio screen looks a lot like a standard phone call, it will ring the contact as usual, and there are options and conveniences from normal voice calls available, like mute, speaker mode, and the ability to switch to a video chat if desired.
You can also initiate a FaceTime Audio call directly from the FaceTime app itself, though the dedicated app prefers video, so just be sure to tap on the phone icon rather than the video camera icon to start a voice conversation.
FaceTime Audio is really best used on wi-fi networks or unlimited data connections with LTE or 4G, though it will also work on bandwidth capped data plans. If you do use the feature over cellular data and don’t have unlimited bandwidth, pay attention to how long the conversation lasts and how much data you are using with the VOIP call, as the facetime audio connection stream will use a sizable amount of bandwidth and you may find yourself chewing through a standard data plan rather quickly. Just remember to keep an eye on data use, and whenever possible, switch to a wi-fi network to offload the data transfer to wi-fi and away from a cellular connection.
If you’re trying to use FaceTime and run into activation errors, it’s usually a quick fix.
FaceTime Audio can be used to make voice calls directly between iPhones, iPads, iPod touches, and Macs running OS X Mavericks. Third party apps like Skype and Google Voice also offer VOIP and audio calling features across platforms, but while both are great services, each of those require downloading and using a third party service, which may give FaceTime Audio the edge for most iOS users.
Though FaceTime Audio is officially available only in iOS 7.0 and newer releases, there are workarounds for prior versions to force voice-only FaceTime for both iOS and Macs if the need arrises.
FaceTime Audio can be thought of kind of like iMessage for voice, in that Apple has built a service that circumvents the cellular carriers standard services which prevents cellular providers for charging users for long distance phone calls, or any phone calls for that matter. Combine that with the sound quality being far superior to a standard cell phone or analog line conversation, and FaceTime Audio really is a truly fantastic feature.
Finder Tabs are one of the better Mavericks improvements brought to the OS X Finder in years, letting you use the file system in a single window view, with each open folder or directory path as it’s own unique tab. Used properly, Finder Tabs will prevent the enormous amounts of window clutter that can occur unintentionally when navigating around the Mac file system and juggling a handful of different windows and locations, but if you find yourself overwhelmed with Finder window overload you can use the excellent Merge feature to gather all windows into a single Finder window with tabs:
- With multiple Finder windows open, pull down the “Window” menu and select “Merge All Windows”
This instantly retrieves every single open Finder window, regardless of their folder path, into a single tabbed Finder window view.
You can always add new Finder tabs to this window (or any other) by hitting Command+T or by pressing the little [+] plus button in the tabbed window too.
The behavior is very similar to how just about every modern web browser works, allowing you to merge and gather single windows into a unified window for easier browsing and less clutter. Much like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, you can also set a keyboard shortcut for this task if you find yourself using the Merge Windows feature in the Finder often.Set a Keyboard Shortcut for Merging All Finder Windows Into Tabs
Use the Merge Finder Windows often? You can easily create a custom keystroke to merge all Finder windows into tabs:
- Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and go to “Keyboard”
- Choose the “Shortcuts” tab and then select “App Shortcuts” from the left side menu
- Press the [+] plus button to create a new shortcut
- From “Application” select “Finder.app”, and set ‘Menu Title’ to “Merge All Windows”
- Click into the “Keyboard Shortcut” box and hit your preferred keystroke (Command+Control+Shift+M is the sample given, but use whatever you want)
- Exit System Preferences, and visit the Finder with multiple windows open to try out your new merge window keyboard shortcut
Finder Tabs are easy to use and are just one of several very simple excellent features added to the Mac with OS X Mavericks. Get in the habit of using them in the Finder, you’ll be glad you did.
The Settings app for iOS has tons of individual preference toggles, adjustments, tweaks, and customizations, adding up to what is likely hundreds of options. Each of the settings is segmented into a variety of categories, like General, Sounds, Notification Center, Privacy, Location, plus just about every default app, and many third party apps too. While navigating around the Settings app is pretty easy, it can also be confusing sometimes, and it’s easy to forget where some settings are stored, particularly if a setting is buried somewhere and you can’t remember where to find it. This is when Siri comes in to save the day, because you can now launch directly into any system or app settings just by asking Siri.
All you need to do is summon Siri as usual, then ask to open the settings for an app or section using the following type of language commands:
- “Open Settings for [app name]“
- “Settings for [name]“
- “Launch [app name] settings”
Siri will instantly launch into the Settings panel for the app, service, or feature you requested.
Some natural language examples for various iOS services include things like:
- “Open Settings for Notification Center”
- “Open Settings for Location Services”
- “Open Settings for Phone”
- “Settings for App Store”
Fill in just about anything else and it works. Can’t remember where to toggle on zoom? Forget where to reset networks? Want to change the settings for a feature or app but you don’t know where to begin? This is for you, no more hunting around in the Settings app to locate the settings you’re looking for, Siri will take you directly there.
This is a fairly new feature that is tucked into the enormous commands list you can get directly from Siri, introduced for iPhone and iPad users with the iOS 7.0 release. Prior to this, Siri could launch the Settings app (and other apps too), but Siri could not take a user directly to any specific settings panel – now she/he (yes, Siri’s gender changes with voice, it’s your choice) can do both.
Most iPhone users have trouble-free use of their device whether it’s on a cellular connection or wi-fi, but wireless connectivity issues do occur from time to time. These type of problems can manifest in a variety of ways; sometimes the Wi-Fi on and off toggle switch is grey and unusable (sometimes resolved by simply quitting the Settings app and relaunching), sometimes the iPhone will appear to connect to a wi-fi router but no data will transfer, connection speeds are unusually slow, and other times the iPhone will simply refuse to connect to a wireless network at all.
There isn’t a single unifying cause for these issues, and wi-fi connection problems can occur completely randomly, regardless of an iPhone model or iOS software version. We get a lot of questions about connectivity problems, and for most cases it’s an easy fix that is resolved quickly with a reboot or dumping network settings, but more stubborn cases may require a full software restore, while in extreme and rare occasions, contacting Apple’s official support channels is necessary due to actual hardware problems. If you run into wi-fi problems with your iPhone (or iPad and iPod touch for that matter), try out the following troubleshooting tricks to resolve the problem.1: Forcibly Reboot the iPhone
You can force any iOS device to restart by doing the following, this can sometimes resolve temporary issues and bugs that are encountered. It’s easy and quick so try this first:
- Hold down the Power button and the Home button simultaneously until the iPhone restarts
Once the iPhone boots back up again, attempt to use wi-fi again. In some cases this fixes the issue immediately.2: Reset Network Settings
Resetting Network Settings dumps all existing network preferences, this causes things like wi-fi passwords, custom DNS, manual IP’s, and any other network specific settings information to be lost, so be sure to write down any important wi-fi details before doing this. This resolves the vast majority of wi-fi problems for most users:
- Open “Settings” and go to “General”, then go to “Reset”
- Choose “Reset Network Settings” and enter the device passcode, then confirm the settings reset
When the network settings have finished resetting, try connecting to the Wi-Fi network again. Things should be hunky-dory at this point, but if not there remains a few other choices.3: Backup & Restore
Backing up and restoring an iPhone can be annoying but it will often resolve the most stubborn issues when resetting network settings and force rebooting the phone has failed. iCloud makes it fairly easy, though if you can’t connect to a wi-fi network that won’t be possible, and you’ll need to back up to iTunes instead. The following guides walk through this if you’re unfamiliar:
- Back up the iPhone using either iTunes or iCloud, preferably both to have dual backups available
- Restore from the backup and connect to wi-fi again
This is not an overly complicated process, but it will take a little bit of time depending on how much data is stored on the iPhone, and depending on which method you use.
A variation of this trick involves resetting the iPhone to factory default settings and setting it up as if it was brand new device. That adds another step to the restore process, but if wi-fi works and connections are fine under factory defaults, you can usually safely restore from backups. On the other hand, if the problem is fine under factory settings, but persists after restoring from the backups, you may have the very unusual situation of a corrupt backup, a rare situation.4: Wi-Fi Still Not Working? Reset the Router, Contact Apple
If the iPhone continues to have wi-fi connectivity issues, you may want to reset the actual Wi-Fi router itself, by turning it off and on again, some wi-fi routers are known to be finicky with iOS and can sometimes be the source of the problem. If the iPhone connects to the router but speeds are very slow, an effective strategy can be to use custom DNS through a provider like Google or OpenDNS, though such an issue is usually representative of an ISP (internet service provider) problem, and not an actual issue with the iPhone or wi-fi itself.
If other iOS devices and computers connect to the wi-fi router and work flawlessly but the iPhone still won’t after trying the above steps, it may be time to contact Apple official support channels to determine if there is a physical hardware issue. Apple has an automated online troubleshooting guide that will gather data directly from the iPhone and attempt to remotely diagnose issues, but you can also just call a support line directly or visit an Apple Store. It’s fairly rare for the iPhone to have physical wi-fi hardware problems, but if it does and the device is under warranty, Apple will usually replace the phone quickly. Just be sure to back up the iPhone before sending it into Apple so you can restore where you left off.
Though we generally recommend staying on the latest versions of OS X, some users may find incompatibilities or problems associated with updating their Macs to OS X Mavericks, and for these unique circumstances it can make sense to downgrade the Mac back to a prior release version of OS X. For such specific cases, we’ll cover downgrading from Mavericks (10.9) back to OS X Mountain Lion (10.8). To accomplish a downgrade using this method, you must have made a Time Machine backup made prior to the OS X 10.9 upgrade / install. If you do not have a Time Machine backup prior to OS X 10.9 being installed, this particular walkthrough will not work for you.
Be sure to back up the current volume and all files before attempting the downgrade process, otherwise you may lose the files and data that was created between the original upgrade to Mavericks and this downgrade procedure.Downgrading OS X Mavericks to OS X Mountain Lion
This will downgrade a Mac running OS X Mavericks (10.9) to OS X Mountain Lion (10.8). Yes, this also works to downgrade to OS X Lion (10.7), but Lion is buggy and we do not recommended it. If given the choice, always run OS X Mountain Lion or stay on OS X Mavericks instead.
- Back up the Mac with Time Machine before beginning, easily down by choosing “Back Up Now” from the Time Machine Menu, or at the very least manually back up your critical files – this is important do not skip this
- If the drive is not already connected, connect the Time Machine volume to the Mac which contains the prior OS X 10.8 backups on it
- Reboot the Mac and hold down Command+R to boot into the restore menu
- At the OS X Utilities boot selection menu , choose “Restore from Time Machine Backup”
- Read the “Restore Your System” screen, understand what you’re doing, and click “Continue”
- Select the backup source – this should be the Time Machine drive that contains the OS X Mountain Lion installation
- Select a backup that corresponds to a date, time, and Mac OS X version that you want to restore to – be sure the Mac OS X Version is “10.8.x” to insure you are downgrading OS X back down to Mountain Lion, then choose “Continue”
- At the “Select a Destination” menu, choose the primary Mac hard drive, typically named “Macintosh HD”, then choose “Restore” to begin the downgrading process
- Let Time Machine finish restoring from OS X Mountain Lion, the Mac will automatically reboot when finished downgrading from OS X Mavericks
When the Mac boots, you’ll be back to OS X Mountain Lion and everything will be restored to exactly how it was at the last backup made with Time Machine prior to upgrading to OS X Mavericks.
Now is a good time to restore your individual files created when running OS X Mavericks, either manually if you copied the files to a volume yourself, or through Time Machine.
Finally, another downgrade option would be to format the Mac and perform a clean install, similar to performing a clean Mavericks install, but using a prior version of OS X as the installer drive. That’s a topic for another walkthrough though.
Do Not Disturb is an excellent feature of iOS that, when turned on, mutes notifications and alerts for all incoming calls, messages, and apps. It’s easy to toggle on and off, providing for some digital peace and quiet with a quick switch. But if you’re actively using an unlocked iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch while Do Not Disturb is on, the alerts, calls, and notifications will still make sounds, which may defeat the purpose of the setting for some users, and can make it appear as if the Do Not Disturb feature is not working at all. That’s what we’ll settle here, insuring that Do Not Disturb remains always silent when it’s set on. Even if the iOS device is actively in use, all phone calls, texts, and alerts will automatically be silenced (unless they’re on the exceptions list, of course). It’s a simple settings adjustment available in new versions of iOS, but one that is often overlooked:
- Open “Settings” and head to “Do Not Disturb”
- Scroll down to the “Silence” section and choose “Always”
- Exit out of Settings
Now when Do Not Disturb is enabled with the “Always Silent” option, everything will be silenced, regardless of whether the iPhone is actively in use or not, and you won’t need to manually silence calls or notifications that come in when the feature is on and you’re actively using the device. This is probably the expectation of the feature for most users to begin with, since it’s sort of like muting the device anyway, except that specific contacts and repeat calls can be exempted from Do Not Disturb, thus accounting for truly important situations.
For the unfamiliar, the simplest way to toggle Do Not Disturb ON and OFF by swiping up from either the Lock Screen or from anywhere else in iOS to summon Control Center, then tapping on the crescent moon icon.
To really set it up Do Not Disturb properly you’ll want to set schedules and exceptions as we covered here when the feature first came out, this lets specified callers get through even if the feature is turned on, plus it can allow the feature to enable and disable itself on a set timeline, like the evening.
iPhone users will probably get the most use out of this, because the feature is a great way to avoid phone calls and text messages arriving at inopportune times, but of course the trick also applies to the iPad and iPod touch.
Changing the login screens background wallpaper is a great way to customize the appearance of a Mac. The process of doing so seems to change with every release of OS X though, and that’s no different with swapping out the login wallpaper in OS X Mavericks. Changed yet again with OS X 10.9, you will find that rather than replacing a single file with a new image, you’ll have to replace four separate files to gain a similar customization of the login window, which is seen both upon system boot and with swapping logins with Fast User Switching.
The walkthrough outlined below will replace the boring OS X Mavericks grey login screen background wallpaper with any image of your choice. But there is a catch: doing this will remove the Apple logo you see at the login screen, because what you’re really doing is replacing that Apple logo image with a larger picture that becomes the wallpaper.
Please review the full instructions before beginning this process. If any of this seems too complex or complicated, you’re probably better off waiting for a simpler solution or a third party tool that automates the process. We’re working on finding an easier solution, but in the meantime this works if you don’t mind sacrificing the Apple logo you see at the login screen.
- Some patience, familiarity with Finder and modifying basic system files
- A large image converted to PNG format that is the resolution of your screen or greater. Need a fancy image? Check out our wallpaper archives
- No issue with losing the Apple logo at the login screen to be replaced with your custom image
Comfortable with that? Don’t mind losing that Apple logo above the user names at the authentication screen? Then you’re OK to proceed. You should probably back up your Mac real quick with Time Machine before beginning too, just in case you somehow wreak unintended havoc and replace or delete something outside the scope of this walkthrough. As usual, proceed at your own risk.Changing the Login Screen Background Wallpaper in OS X Mavericks
- Find the image you want to use as the new login screen wallpaper, open it with Preview, and convert it to a PNG file by using “Save As” or “Export As” – the file must be a PNG document
- Return to the OS X Finder and make 4 (yes, four) copies of the PNG file, rename the files exactly to be the following: apple.png apple_s1.png firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
- Create a new folder somewhere in the Finder (Desktop is good) named “loginscreenbackups” or something similar – if you don’t do this you will not be able to return to the default grey wallpaper
- Hit Command+Shift+G and go to the following lengthy directory path:
- Locate the files named “apple_s1.png”, “firstname.lastname@example.org”, “apple.png”, and “email@example.com” and make a copy of these files in the previously created “loginscreenbackups” folder on the Desktop – you can do this by holding down OPTION while dragging the files
- Now drag and drop the four PNG files you created and named in step 2 into this Resources folder, replacing the existing files
- Confirm that you want to replace the images, you will need to authenticate with an admin password to confirm the file replacement
- The new images will now be in the Resources folder, visible as thumbnails, you’re just about done so close this window:
- To see the new login screen wallpaper, log out normally, summon the lock screen, or use Fast User Switching to bring about the changed imagery
(Split in two parts, that directory path is: /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/LoginUIKit.framework/ followed by Versions/A/Frameworks/LoginUICore.framework/Resources/)
In this walkthrough example we used a galaxy image as the replacement login wallpaper, which looks nice and fancy:
Separately, and a much easier process, you can add a login screen message to this screen if desired. This is a good place to put a friendly message, or to put ownership details of the computer, like a phone number, name, and email address.
There may end up being a simpler way to do this, either through a single file replacement or a third party utility, but in the meantime this method has been confirmed to work with OS X Mavericks (10.9). Remember, the utilities and tricks that worked with changing login background images in prior versions of OS X, from Snow Leopard to the linen images within Lion and Mountain Lion, no longer have any effect. On the other hand, the method outlined above will carry back to Lion and Mountain Lion because they are replacing the Apple logo rather than the linen image.
The Dock received a significant visual overhaul along with almost everything else in iOS 7, and though the days of the OS X look-a-like are gone, you can still customize the coloration and transparency of the Dock a bit. One option is to change the wallpaper, which has a profound effect on the appearance on the Dock along with other user interface elements of iOS, but what if you like your wallpaper and just don’t like the way the Dock looks with it? That’s what this trick will help, achieved indirectly by using the contrast setting that is intended to improve usability, it removes the sometimes garish hyper color look of the iOS Dock that comes from using certain wallpapers, replacing it with a simple translucent Dock color with much higher contrast, typically a dark color roughly based on the wallpaper. The result is greatly improved readability, and sometimes a much approved appearance of the Dock overall too. Note that there are some other UI changes that will occur with this setting, making it undesirable to some users.
- Set the iOS wallpaper to what you like, but dislike the Dock appearance of
- Head to Settings, then go to “General” and then to “Accessibility”
- Choose “Enhanced Contrast” and toggle the switch to ON
- Exit out of Settings to see the new look of the Dock
Enhanced Contrast strips most of the crazy coloration from the iOS 7 Dock and your result will be a much more subtle look, as shown in these two screen shot examples of some fairly subtle wallpapers that happen to have hyper color Docks.
The default option is on the left, with the “Enhanced Contrast” option on the right. The change in coloration and look can be considerable, depending on active wallpaper on the iPhone/iPad/iPod:
(Odd looking orange juice Dock on the left, with the contrasted grey version on the right)
(Clashing toxic waste looking mystery green Dock on the left, with the new contrasted grey version on the right)
This trick combined with bolding text can make a big difference in overall usability with certain wallpapers, and as such would be a good addition to some general usability improvement tips that users can easily make for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad with iOS 7.0 or newer.
Though it will certainly change the Docks coloration and appearance, using the Enhanced Contrast feature has a potentially unwanted side effect of stripping all transparencies and blurs from elsewhere in iOS. Most prominently, this includes folders, Notification Center, and Control Center, but other smaller changes will be seen elsewhere as well. The result is usually simple flat color for things like Folders, or with Notification Center a black background, but Control Center gets a not-so-contrasty light grey background with white text and icons atop it, which is arguably the worst look of the bunch:
Whether or not the side effect is worth it is up to you and how much you like or dislike the Dock styling on your iPhone or iPad running anything after iOS 7.0, but for now it remains the only way that you can change the look at all. A much more pleasant side effect may occur on older devices running iOS 7, which can experience significant speed increases by disabling the transparencies with this settings toggle.
If you’re displeased with the look, don’t be completely discouraged, because Apple has been fairly responsive to some of the criticism of various interface elements after the major iOS redesign, offering new options like a faster fading transition to replace the zooming effects throughout iOS. That change arrived in a minor point release, thus other small point releases and more significant updates to iOS may offer even more options to customize the look and feel of iOS moving forward.
Dictation is the new speech-to-text engine that lets your Mac type out what you are saying as you talk, and it’s one of the many excellent features included with modern versions of OS X. Now from Mavericks onward, you can improve Dictation considerably by enabling an option called “Enhanced Dictation”, this will provide two significant advancements; continuous dictation with live feedback as you talk, and full offline support – meaning you won’t need a Mac to be connected to the internet in order to use the feature. If you use Dictation with any regularity this is a highly recommended option to enable.Enabling Enhanced Dictation on the Mac
- Go to the Apple menu and head to “System Preferences”
- Choose the “Dictation & Speech” control panel, followed by the “Dictation” tab
- Be sure that Dictation is set to “On”, then check the box for “Use Enhanced Dictation”
If enabling Enhanced Dictation for the first time it will require a 785MB download from Apple’s servers, meaning you would want to enable this feature while you have an internet connection before you could use the full offline dictation feature.
Once enabled, all standard speech-to-text features work, including all the dictation commands, with or without internet access.Using Dictation for Speech-to-Text in Mac OS X
For the unfamiliar, using Dictation is begun by double-tapping the “fn” (function) key from any text input window or box. This summons a little microphone icon to signify it’s ready to receive voice input. Now just start talking as usual, and your words and sentences will automatically appear on screen.
Dictation is smart enough to recognize pauses and prolonged pauses as simple punctuation, adding commas and periods, then capitalizing new sentences. Going beyond the standard talk to text abilities, you can even specify commands like punctuation, caps lock, upper and lower case, paragraphs, line breaks, spaces, returns, special characters, and much more as you will find here. Users can also customize the Dictation trigger to be a single key press or a keystroke if desired.
Some users will find that Enhanced Dictation is enabled by default, though the download of the offline support will trigger manually upon the first usage of Dictation. Depending on what the settings were prior to upgrading to the latest version of OS X, you may need to turn the feature on while in the settings panel. If Dictation was previously turned off, it would remain so and the Enhanced ability will not be turned on until you enable Dictation again.
Dictation support first appeared in OS X Mountain Lion, and Enhanced Dictation requires OS X Mavericks or newer.
Have a bunch of Notifications and Alerts sitting on the lock screen of your iPhone or iPad that you don’t want on there anymore, but don’t want to unlock the device or leave the lock screen? No sweat, rather than swiping to unlock the iOS device and then manually addressing the notifications, you can shuffle them all away and store them into Notification Center where they belong, immediately clearing off the lock screen without ever leaving it. This swipe gesture trick is similar to how you can dismiss alerts from anywhere, and it’s super easy to use:
- Swipe down from the top of the Lock Screen to summon Notification Center
- Swipe back up to dismiss Notification Center and collect all the alerts and notifications
Done, you now have a clear iOS lock screen again.
This is a great trick to use if you don’t want to go all out to hide the notifications or disable the lock screen alerts. It’s also helpful if you get a notification you don’t want others to see, because you can quickly swipe up and down to collect it back into notification center. This works for every type of alert or notification residing on the iOS 7 (or newer) lock screen, though you’ll obviously need to have lock screen access of Notifications and Notification Center enabled in the settings to be able to use it. Don’t forget to customize “Today View” as well, it’s the first screen you see when accessing the panel and you can tune it to fit the needs of what you want to see.
This great little trick comes to us from CultOfMac, who mentions they had to tap the “Missed” tab to get it to work, though in testing just a super quick swipe down and up worked fine to get the job done.
Already installed OS X Mavericks, but now you want to create an install drive for other computers? Or maybe the Mavericks installer became corrupt during the process? Whatever the situation, you can easily re-download OS X Mavericks from the Mac App Store.Re-Download OS X Mavericks Installer on a Mac Running 10.9
If the Mac is already running OS X Mavericks, redownloading the installer is extremely easy.
- Open the App Store and search for “OS X Mavericks” or just click the direct App Store link (free, downloading one times or 200 is always free)
- Click the “Download” button and confirm that you want to download the OS X Installer again by choosing “Continue”
- The “Install OS X” app will appear in Launchpad, and not in the Updates section of the App Store
The OS X Mavericks installer will wind up in your /Applications/ folder as usual, and Launchpad or the Launchpad Dock icon will show you the progress and transfer speed. The file is 5.3GB, so it can take a while to download depending on your internet speed.
When finished downloading, you can either copy the Installer over to other Macs, make a simple installer drive, do a clean install with a fresh system, create a bootable installer with the command line method, or whatever else you want to do with it.
This is obviously much easier than it used to be in prior versions of OS X, which required various Option+Click maneuvers which caused a lot of confusion and frustration with many users. A nice big “Download” button is easy and obvious, just remember toRe-Download & Fix a Corrupted OS X Mavericks Installer
Some Mac users encountered an issue where the Mavericks installer becomes corrupted during the initial installation attempt. This is easily resolvable by doing the following:
- Quit the App Store application and go to the /Applications/ directory
- Locate the “OS X Mavericks” installer file that is corrupted or not working properly and delete it
- Re-download Mavericks through the App Store search, “Purchases” tab, or by choosing “Download” from the direct link
Some individuals have reported better success with the “Purchases” tab, so you may want to try that if you experience difficulties elsewhere.
It’s not entirely clear why some users encounter the corrupted download issue, but deleting the Installer and trying again seems to resolve it every time.
Java has plenty of real-world applications and uses, but because it has been used as an attack vector in the past, Apple has made OS X reasonably aggressive in limiting Java on Macs. As a result, Mavericks does not come with Java preinstalled, and upgraded Macs will remove Java in Mavericks installation process. For most users this is a very good thing, it further reduces the unlikely event of a trojan or something nefarious being installed on Macs, and many Mac users won’t notice Java missing at all. On the other hand, many of us do need Java installed in OS X.
Many common applications use Java, ranging from the excellent cloud backup service CrashPlan, to the Eclipse IDE, and even some online banking and financial services, and without installing Java yourself in Mavericks you’ll find these apps and websites simply don’t work. Fortunately it’s a simple fix just like in 10.8, and you can go about installing Java on OS X Mavericks in several different ways.Install Java in Mavericks through the Command Line
Installing Java through the command line is perhaps the easiest. All you need to do is launch Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/, and enter the following command:
Assuming Java is not on the Mac already, this command will trigger a popup that says something along the lines of “To open Java, you need a Java SE runtime. Would you like to install one now?” – click “Install” when asked to begin the simple process.
From here on it’s just like installing any other package. Remember, you will probably need to relaunch certain apps that are Java dependent to get them working again, including web browsers if it’s a website you are attempting to access that requires a Java applet to run.
If you run that command and already have Java installed, you’ll simply see the currently installed Java version instead, like so:
java version "1.6.0_65"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_65-b14-462-11M4609)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.65-b04-465, mixed mode)
If you’re not a fan of the command line, or would rather get the latest version of Java installed in OS X 10.9 directly from Oracle, that’s what we’ll cover next.Option 2: Installing the Latest Java Version from Oracle
The other option to get the latest version of Java is to simply download it from Oracle and install manually.
Most casual Mac users only need to get the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) and not the full JDK (Java Development Kit).
Downloading directly from Oracles website insures the latest version will be installed, and it also has the advantage of allowing for remote installation and upgrades on Macs through Remote Login or SSH.
OS X handles Java well these days, and and newer versions of Safari even let you allow the Java plugin on a per website basis, further limiting it’s potential problems.
Remember, for most Mavericks users, you can avoid Java and not worry about it. Installing Java is really only necessary if a crucial application or web service requires it.
Swiping down from the very top of your iPhone screen (or iPad), you’ll find Notification Center swoops on down, where alerts, notifications, iMessages, and missed calls appear. There’s also the “Today” tab, which aggregates information from your Calendars, Reminders, Stocks, and destinations, and puts them into an active days summary of what’s on tap for today.
If you want to customize the appearance of Today view, either where things appear in the list as you scroll, or to hide specific items, you can do that directly through iOS settings.Customize What Shows in “Today View” of Notification Center
- Open “Settings” and go to “Notification Center”
- Scroll down to “Today View” and toggle the ON/OFF switches according to what you want to see in Today view, as summarized here:
- Today Summary: Provides you with weather conditions and a brief summary of the day based upon your Calendar
- Next Destination: An optional setting that uses location services to see provide an estimation on how long it will take to travel to your next destination, which can be work or home (based upon Apple learning these locations)
- Calendar Day View: Retrieves information from your Calendar to summarize what you have queued up for the day, very useful if you rely on Apple’s Calendar apps
- Reminders: Any reminder created from the Reminders app or Siri will appear here, the Reminder list is interactive and you can check things off directly from Today View
- Stocks: Current prices of watched market indices and stocks, letting you be either irrationally exuberant or in a complete panic depending on how the market wind blows on a given day
- Tomorrow Summary: Takes information about tomorrow, from your Calendar and Reminders, to summarize what’s on tap the next day
Now that you’ve decided what you want showing up in the Today View of Notification Center, you can change the order of how that information appears, as seen scrolling from the top down.
On a related note, if you find the text challenging to see in the “Today View” you can toggle a setting to make the fonts bolder and much easier to read system-wide, which has a huge impact on readability throughout iOS. This is one of several highly recommended usability tips for almost everyone, and seems to be universally appreciated whether ones eyesight is perfect or not.Change the Order of “Today View” Items in iOS
- Still in Settings > Notification Center, tap the “Edit” button
- Tap and hold on the sideways lines that look like = then move the item up or down to change it’s location in Today View
- Tap “Done” when finished”
If you find you’re not getting much use out of Today View, try customizing it a bit to better suit your needs, and to emphasize what you actually care about. For example, if you don’t own any stock or just could care less about what wild direction the market is heading in on any given day, you can hide the Stocks view. Or perhaps you don’t use Apple’s Reminders app, and would rather that not be visible. Maybe you don’t want anything in there except for the date, so just toggle everything to OFF and that’s the end of it.
Whatever your preferences, you can toggle the settings to fit your needs, so rather than cursing the default settings just go ahead and make a couple changes to better suit your needs.
Network Utility is a great tool that has been around on the Mac since the very first version of OS X. It provides a variety of helpful networking tools and details, the “Info” tab includes general network info on a per interface level showingIP address, MAC address, link speeds, and sent/received data transfer statistics, and you’ll also have easy GUI access to what are otherwise command line tools, like netstat, ping, nslookup, trace route, whois, finger, and a port scanner.
Having long resided in /Applications/Utilities/, Apple saw it fit to relocate the Network Utility app from its longstanding home to a new location within a system folder, making it a bit harder to access if you’re looking through the file system. Don’t worry, there are still super-simple ways to access Network Utility onward from Mavericks though, and that’s what we’ll cover.Put Network Utility in LaunchPad or the Dock
The Network Utility app is now located at the following path, buried in OS X system folders:
You can jump directly to that folder by hitting Command+Shift+G to summon “Go To” and then entering the path.
Now hold down Command+Option and drag the “Network Utility” app into the Applications folder, LaunchPad, or the Dock to create an alias for quick access (while you’re in there, you may want to send “Wireless Diagnostics” to LaunchPad or the Dock too, it got a facelift and remains an excellent wi-fi utility, scanner, stumbler, and signal optimizer app).Launch Network Utility with Spotlight
If you don’t want aliases sitting around in the Applications folder, and don’t want the app to sit in your Dock all the time, then the easiest way to launch Network Utility directly is through Spotlight. Hit Command+Spacebar, then start typing “Network Utility” and hit return when the application is returned in the search results.
This is my preferred method but I’m a huge fan of using Spotlight as an application launcher in general.Open Network Utility from System Information
The System Information app, found most commonly through the Apple menu > “About This Mac” > More Info, can also serve to launch Network Utility:
- Launch System Information and pull down the “Window” menu to find “Network Utility”
This launches directly into Network Utility, but because you have to open another app to get there, it’s probably not the quickest method compared to Spotlight, placing it in the Dock, or using an alias.
Sharing files between Macs and NAS drives and Windows PC’s has always been very easy, but Mavericks brought a slight change that has caused some problems for certain users in mixed PC and Mac environments. Without getting too geeky, Apple adjusted the default protocol for SMB (Samba, the Windows file sharing ability) from SMB1 to SMB2, and the SMB2 implementation apparently carries a bug which is incompatible with many NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices, and some versions of Windows. The issue is pretty obvious when you encounter it: Many Windows PC’s, NAS drives, and Linux machines won’t access or mount from the Mac, and instead will try to connect or mount forever and ultimately time out, preventing connections, mapped drives, and general access.
Fortunately there’s a very easy workaround to connect to SMB and NAS shares from OS X Mavericks:
- From the OS X Finder, hit Command+K to summon “Go To Server” as usual
- In the “Server Address” field, enter the IP to connect to with the cifs:// prefix as follows:
- Connect to the SMB, NAS, or Windows share as usual
Yes it really is as simple as specifying the protocol to be cifs:// rather than smb://, which if you’ve ever mounted Samba shares from the command line you’ve probably already used cifs before.
If you’re wondering why this works, it’s because using CIFS connects with SMB1 rather than the (currently) buggy implementation of SMB2. The result; cross-platform network shares functioning as usual. I ran into this last night and it was fairly frustrating to experience, but a big thanks to TUAW who discovered the simple workaround a few days ago. Because there are tons of Mac-to-PC networks out there, this will probably be a frequently encountered issue for many Mavericks users. With that said, going the other way around and file sharing from Mac OS X to Windows continues to work exactly as intended, though it should be noted that OS X Mavericks has seamlessly moved all network-based Mac-to-Mac file sharing to SMB2 as well, though the traditional AFP continues to function as well for legacy support and for connecting between Mavericks and earlier versions of OS X.
This really is just a bug with the newest version of Mac OS X, and it will probably be resolved shortly with an update to Mavericks, perhaps as OS X 10.9.1 or even a smaller supplemental update.
App Nap is a great feature that arrived with OS X Mavericks which automatically pauses applications once they have gone unused for a period of time, helping to reduce energy consumption and saving battery life for portable Macs. Though App Nap can make a big difference in extending the battery life of MacBooks, there are some unique situations where users may not want an application to pause itself when unused, inactive, or otherwise in the background. For these situations, you can selectively prevent App Nap by disabling it on a per-application basis. Most users should not disable App Nap without a compelling reason to do so.Selectively Disable App Nap for Mac Applications
- Quit the application you wish to disable App Nap for
- From the OS X Finder, navigate to the /Applications/ directory, or whatever the parent directory is of the app you wish to disable App Nap for
- Locate the application to disable App Nap for, select it, then go to the “File” menu and select “Get Info” (or select the app and hit Command+i)
- Check the box for “Prevent App Nap”, found under the General section of Get Info
- Close out of Get Info and relaunch the app in question
You must relaunch active applications for the toggled App Nap setting to take effect, whether you are disabling it or re-enabling it. This process must be repeated for each application that you wish to prevent App Nap for.
It’s safe to assume that all apps will use App Nap unless specifically directed not to using this trick.Checking Which Apps Are Currently Using App Nap
If you aren’t sure what is currently utilizing the App Nap feature and what isn’t, you can see exactly which apps are suspended by turning to Activity Monitor, and going to the Energy tab:
For portable Mac users in particular, relying on App Nap really is one of the better yet simpler tips for OS X Mavericks, and should be left enabled for all applications unless there is a profound reason to turn it off. Disabling App Nap is obviously very easy should the need arrive, as the video below demonstrates the entire process in a few quick seconds:
Those interested in automation, or who are running prior versions of Mac OS X, can use an advanced terminal trick with the kill command to force similar behavior on applications and processes. That trick continues to work in OS X Mavericks, but is obviously less necessary with the advent of the entirely automated App Nap feature.
All of the latest versions of OS X have opted for a conservative approach to showing the users ~/Library/ directory, a folder which contains a variety of important files, settings, preferences, caches, and many specific files that are required for apps to run as intended. Because of the possibility of unintentional harm to a users Mac, OS X defaults to hiding that folder, with the intention on preventing novice users from making changes to it. OS X Mavericks is no different, but with the release of 10.9, all Mac users have an easy option to permanently show the User Library directory without having to result to the command line or other tricks that were previously required for access to the ~/Library folder.Show the Users Library Folder Permanently in OS X Mavericks
- From the OS X Finder, open a new window and go to the users Home folder (hit Command+Shift+H to jump to Home instantly)
- Pull down the “View” menu and select “Show View Options” (or hit Command+J if you like keyboard shortcuts)
- Check the box for “Show Library Folder” then close the View Options panel
- Navigate in the users home folder to see the newly visible “Library” directory
You may need to scroll down in the users directory to see the newly visible Library folder. The video below demonstrates how easy and fast this is, you’ll see the users ~/Library folder in under 10 seconds:
This setting is permanent as long as the checkbox is active, it does not need to be toggled again repeatedly throughout OS X updates. If you decide you no longer want the ~/Library/ folder visible, simply uncheck the box in the Home directories ‘View Options’ panel to make it invisible again.
Note that for multi-user Macs, this setting must be toggled separately on each user account. This is a greatly helpful trick, though it’s usage is slightly more advanced than some of the more simple Mavericks tips we have covered.Why don’t I see “Show Library Folder” in View Options?”
You must be at the users home folder to see the “Show Library Folder” selection in View Options. If you do not the setting option, you are probably not in the home directory, so hit Command+Shift+H to instantly jump to the user home folder and make the option appear. The “View Options” panel automatically adjusts depending on what folder you are active in, meaning you can leave it openQuick Access the User ~/Library Folder from the Go Menu
This trick first surfaced in prior versions of OS X that hid the library folder by default, and if you don’t want to have the ~/Library directory always visible it continues to be a reasonable option for occasional access to the folder:
- Hold down the OPTION key and access the “Go” menu
- Select “Library” to instantly jump to the Users ~/Library directory
There are still a variety of other ways to jump to the ~/Library folder for quick access, all of which continue to work in OS X Mavericks.Making the ~/Library/ Folder Visible from the Command Line
For what it’s worth, users can continue to use the command line chflags approach to show the ~/Library/ directory just like what was possible (and required) in OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, but with OS X Mavericks there is little reason to do so outside of scripting or automating the process for custom installations. The necessary chflag command is as follows, and does not require killing the Finder to take effect:
chflags nohidden ~/Library/
Within the users home directory the ~/Library/ folder will appear:
Again, the chflags approach is no longer necessary for Mavericks, though it still does work. For the vast majority of Mac users, simply toggle the setting to your liking in View Options, or use one of the temporary access approaches.
Many of us rely on the iPhone as an alarm clock these days, but unless it has been changed, the default alarm clock sound effect is usually the same as the default iPhone ringtone. That can cause some frustration and confusion as you’re half asleep and the alarm goes off, sounding like you’re getting a phone call, but fortunately if you would rather hear something else play it’s really easy to change the alarm tone.
You can either change an existing alarm sound, or set it when you create a new alarm. Here is how to edit an existing alarm sound, but the process is practically identical for setting a new alarm as you can select a sound option during that configuration as well.
- Open the “Clock” app and choose the Alarm tab
- Tap the “Edit” button in the corner, then tap on the alarm you wish to change the sound effect for
- Tap on the “Sound” option and choose the new tone to set as the alarm, all ringtones and text tones are possible to select
- Tap on “Back” then choose “Save” to set the new alarm sound effect
There are plenty of good choices for the alarm sound, from fairly mellow to incredibly annoying, so you can choose however you want to be woken up. Because the alarm clock provides access to all the ringtones and text tones on the iPhone (or iPad and iPod touch), you can also easily create your own ringtones or text tones using iTunes or QuickTime, and add them to the sound choices by syncing them to the iOS device. That option allows you to wake up to your favorite song if you’re into that sort of thing.
It’s a good idea to have the alarm clock sound be completely different from the general incoming phone call and text message tones, both to help prevent confusion and also so you know what’s going on in your half-asleep state of mind. Similarly, it can be helpful to have unique text tones and ringtones assigned to specific contacts and callers.
Automatic Updates is a feature that came along with iOS 7 which allows updates to installed apps to download and install themselves, allowing for a very hands-off approach to the app updating process. For many users this is a good thing to leave on, since it takes the hassle out of updating and managing your apps, and you’ll only have to use the App Store to download new apps instead. But automatic updates are not always a desirable feature for all users for a variety of reasons, whether you’re trying to squeezes maximum performance out of a device, reduce overall network bandwidth used by an iPhone or iPad, or perhaps you’d just prefer to control the app updating process yourself. If you’d rather have apps not update themselves in the background, you can take a moment to turn the feature off.Stop Apps Updating Themselves Automatically
- Open Settings and go to “iTunes & App Store”
- Scroll down to the “Automatic Downloads” section
- Toggle “Updates” to OFF to stop apps automatically updating
That’s it, no more automatic app updates, no more surprises when opening apps to find things have changed. Remember, with this feature turned OFF you will need to use the App Store to handle updates yourself, similar to how it was done in the past with all iOS releases pre-7.0.
Turning off Automatic Updates has a few additional side benefits too; it can help increase battery life, and it can also help to speed up iOS 7 equipped devices a bit, particularly older models. Both benefits are a result of reducing background activity and resource usage, and though the newest model iPhone and iPad devices may not notice them quite so much, they can still offer a nice increase to performance all around.Use Automatic Updates from Wi-Fi Only
If you’d prefer to leave automatic updating on for wi-fi only while preventing it from happening over a cellular data connection, you can do that too with a simple adjustment within the “iTunes & App Store” settings: simply keep Automatic Downloads “Updates” toggled to ON, but toggle “Use Cellular Data” to OFF. Unless you have an unlimited cellular data plan with your iPhone or iPad, it’s probably a good idea to keep cellular data updating completely off.Will this Stop the Random Blue Dots Next to App Names?
Yes, this will stop the blue dot from randomly appearing next to app names on your iOS home screen. For those who weren’t aware, the blue dot is an indicator that an app has been updated, or that an app is new to the device, but it has also caused a ton of confusion for many users who wonder why on earth a mysterious blue dot seems to show up alongside app names for seemingly no apparent reason.
Turning off automatic updates will prevent it from showing up at random, and instead the blue dot will only appear when you have updated an app yourself, or downloaded something new from the App Store. You can not disable the blue dot completely.