Mac OS X

Convert images using Preview in OS X

There may be times when you might need to convert an image from one format to another on your Mac, either because of some requirement for a specific format, or to compress batches of images to save space.

Regardless of the specifics, if you need to convert images then you might find yourself considering expensive tools like Photoshop, or perhaps free open source projects like The Gimp as options for converting images; however, in doing so you will be overlooking a built-in option for doing this in Apple's included Preview program.

Single-image conversion Preview is Apple's utility for … Read more

Convert audio to ringtones using OS X Terminal

Have you encountered a sound bite, or perhaps a full song, that you would like to use as an alert or ringtone on your iPhone? If so, then you can do so using a simple utility available in the OS X Terminal to convert into a tone for your iOS device.

The utility is called "afconvert," which stands for "Audio File Convert" and is a tool that Apple has included in OS X since 2003. As its name suggests, this tool allows you to specify one audio file and convert it to another format, managing bitrates … Read more

View your iPhone on your Mac

Apple's iPhone and iPad support several options to display on larger screens, including using a VGA, HDMI, or DVI adapter. In addition, Apple supports its Wi-Fi-based AirPlay mirroring technology that allows streaming of the iPhone or iPad's screen to supported devices. This allows for viewing through projectors and on televisions which have this technology.

While this feature is convenient if you have a device that supports AirPlay mirroring, you might find that Apple's own line of Macs lack this feature. As with iOS, Apple has included AirPlay mirroring in OS X to stream to devices that support … Read more

How to send a text message via command line in OS X

OS X Daily recently outlined a new hint which allows you to send text messages to any SMS-supporting phone for free, from the OS X command line (or any OS with a command line supporting the "curl" command).

To do this, you use TextBelt, which is a Web-based SMS API that you can use to text messages using simple POST requests with the "curl" command. For example, to send a text message, you can run the following command:

curl http://textbelt.com/text -d number=4155551111 -d message="The Message Text"

In this example, … Read more

How to save to hidden directories in OS X

While in standard uses there may be little reason to save files to a hidden directory in OS X, there are sometimes cases when you might want to do this. The operating system contains numerous hidden directories, such as the Library folder in your user account, a number of system folders that contain configuration files and programs, as well as the ability to manually hide specific folders on your system which, for fun or otherwise, can be used to keep items relatively hidden.

If you would like to access a hidden folder on your system, you might find that accessing … Read more

Fix shared computer 'not found' in Finder

When you connect your Mac to a network where there are file sharing services, such as AFP and SMB services from other Mac and Windows systems, you will see these computers show up in the "Shared" section of the Finder sidebar. Accessing these is then as easy as clicking the computer, logging in, and selecting a shared folder to mount on your system.

While this feature can be exceptionally useful, you might sometimes encounter a problem where the system cannot connect to listed shared devices and will instead give you an error stating the item "cannot be … Read more

How to manage the menu bar in OS X

The OS X menu bar is the central location for commanding application you use, but in addition holds several options for accessing global content, including the Apple menu, and the status menus, along with hosting third-party menu extras and features like Spotlight and Notification Center.

Configuring There are not very many options for configuring the menu bar in OS X; however, you can change its opacity as well as arrange some of the menu items on it. To change the menu bar opacity, go to the Desktop tab in the "Desktop & Screen Saver" System Preferences pane, and … Read more

Secure file sharing in OS X

If you would like to share files and folders on a network for others to see, or for you to access from another system, then you may be concerned about how to do so and properly protect your documents from prying eyes. Ideally, you would like to have your system available for access, but only after proper authentication from a remote user.

To enable file sharing on your system, go to the System Preferences (accessible from the Apple menu) and then in the Sharing preferences pane check the box for "File Sharing."

By default, enabling this will give … Read more

How to manage Wi-Fi networks in OS X

Chances are that if you use a modern Mac system, especially a portable system, you will regularly be accessing at least one Wi-Fi network for connecting to the Web, email, and other on-line services.

If you use your system at more than one location, then you might regularly log in to multiple Wi-Fi hotspots, be they private ones such as those at work, or public ones at cafes. Sometimes, at conventions or large workplaces, you might find yourself switching between different hotspots, depending on the signal strength available.

When you make these various connections, you may find various problems with … Read more

Delete and manage old messages in Mail

While deleting messages from within an email client is an elementary task, there are several nuances and approaches in OS X mail that might be helpful, or at least slightly change the behavior of how Mail handles your messages when you use the delete function.

At its very basics, to delete a message in Mail you simply select it and press the Delete key (or choose the Delete option in the Mail toolbar). However, when you do this Mail will automatically select the next message in the direction you previously read.

What this means is, if you select a message … Read more