Tips

Which iPad should you buy?

Want to buy an iPad? Not every one does -- or should (see our Android picks for alternatives) -- but as of this moment, Apple is selling four distinct versions of its tablet. Now that the fourth-gen Retina iPad has replaced the iPad 2 in the roster, which of Apple's tablets is the right one? Which is the best value? What should you do?

Let's take a look at each: there are two iPad Minis, and two larger 9.7-inch iPads. The good news is this is a better selection of iPads than before. But, I also think … 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

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

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

Make use of the iCloud keychain

Apple's keychain feature in OS X saves your passwords, keys, and certificates for seamless authentication to various system and Web services. In addition to storing keys, one of the features of the keychain is secure notes, where you can save important information like registration codes and product serial numbers, or authentication information for services that do not interface with the keychain. These notes will be securely encrypted along with your standard passwords, certificates, Safari credit card entries, and other information.

To make a secure note, you simply open the Keychain Access utility and choose "New Secure Note" … Read more

Setting up custom keyboard shortcuts in OS X

Keyboard shortcuts are useful options for quickly accessing specific program commands or system services, such holding the Command key and pressing C, X, or V, for copy, cut, and paste.

While common and useful commands are usually assigned a hot-key shortcut, you can also set up custom hot-key assignments in an application to give unassigned commands a hot key to invoke that command.

To do this, simply go to the "Shortcuts" tab in the Keyboard pane of System Preferences, and choose "App Shortcuts" in the categories list, where you can click the plus button to add … Read more

Protect your Mac from SSL bug

Recently, Apple released an iOS update to address a bug with its SSL implementation, which would allow a nefarious individual on the same local network as your computer to intercept sensitive information as you browse the Web.

This type of attack, called a man-in-the-middle attack, is possible because in the latest versions of OS X and iOS (up to version 7.0.5) the operating system does not check the signature in a TLS Server Key Exchange Message, allowing a third-party to spoof a private key or simply omit using one and intercept the SSL data. Since encrypted SSL data … Read more

Select a startup disk in OS X

If you need to boot to a secondary hard drive on your Mac, you can do so using several different means. For most PC systems, you will need to press F12, or another F-key, or perhaps the Escape or Delete keys when booting your system in order to select an alternative boot drive. To do this on a Apple computers, you use the Option key; however, there may be some constraints.

Generally you can start up or reboot your Mac, and simply hold the Option key once the screen goes black so that when it reboots it will show you … Read more