10 tips for Apple Mail

I’ve recently uploaded a video to YouTube with 10 tips for customizing and working smarter in the Mail application for Mac. These should help anyone work a little faster when using the Mail app. In this video I explain how you can :

  1. Customize the Mail toolbar.
  2. Make your email replies a little more concise.
  3. Check the real email address of a sender in order to prevent scams.
  4. Clean up old email addresses stored in Mail.
  5. How you can use the Filter and VIP function.
  6. Save attachments to different locations on your Mac or in the cloud.
  7. Use shortcuts to store messages in your folders.
  8. Select the default account for sending new messages.
  9. Use the Stationery browser.
  10. Change the sidebar icon size.

Hopefully you’ll find a couple of these tips and tricks useful, and let me know if you have any questions about any of these.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Software, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Great free software for your Mac

Great free software for your Mac

There are some great Mac software available your computer, which can help make your Mac run a little smoother and safer. Today, I will list 3 of these tools which I highly recommend, and that I’ve been using for years.

The first one I’d recommend is OnyX from Titanium Software. This utility lets you clean up and customize certain aspects of your Mac without requiring you to learn a ton of features. You still need to be careful, as it is pretty powerful, but as long as you stick to the default options and do not turn on the features you don’t understand, you will be fine. You can download OnyX from here.

Another piece of software that I would strongly suggest you install on your Mac is Malwarebytes for Mac. This program lets you easily remove any malware you may have inadvertently installed on your Mac. Even though they now also offer a paid yearly subscription, the free version still does a fantastic job of removing any malware from your computer. This is an incredibly useful piece of software which can be a life-saver if you have adware on your Mac.
You can find Malwarebytes for Mac on this page.

And finally, I’m also a big fan of AppCleaner. If you decide to remove an application from your Mac, you should make sure that you remove every little bits and pieces from your computer. If you simply drag an application to the trash, there will still be plenty of small helper files left on your Mac. AppCleaner searches your whole computer and removes everything associated with the software you’re getting rid of, which is really great.
You can download and then install AppCleaner from this page.

That’s it, hopefully, you will find these applications useful for your Mac for some time to come. Enjoy !

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Recommendations, Software, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments

The basics of using Mac shortcuts and gestures

I’ve put up a video overview of the basics of using shortcuts and gestures on your Mac, and why you should start using them to save time. Keyboard shortcuts are probably the biggest productivity boost that you can  incorporate in your daily workflow, and learning a few important ones can really help tremendously.
Also check out these two web-pages for more information regarding shortcuts and multi-touch gestures:

First off is Dan Rodney’s MAC KEYBOARD SHORCUTS web-page, which is a fantastic resource for learning more about all the little symbols you’ll see in shortcut menus, and how they match to your keyboard:

Then, you should also look at the Apple Support webpage that explains track-pad gestures here :

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Learning, Mac, Tips & Tricks, Training, 0 comments
The Mac Productivity Course is now available

The Mac Productivity Course is now available

Over the last few months, I’ve been busy developing a 6 week course designed to help you master your Mac. In the course, you get over 6 hours of HD video tutorials that will help you become more efficient and knowledgeable in the most important areas of using your Mac. Starting off with the important basics of using a Mac, all the way to more advanced features. The point of this course is to teach a number of ways you can speed up your workflow on the Mac, as well as your other Apple devices. It is filled with little tips and shortcuts that I’ve learned over the last 10 years of working as an Apple Certified Pro.

This course will help you :

1. Be more organized on the Mac.
2. Become more efficient online.
3. Get the most out of iCloud and other cloud services.
4. Work with Photos and videos on your Apple devices.
5. Back up your Mac properly.
6. Work with music, podcasts, and iTunes across all your devices.

You can find out more about this course by going to the home page of the Mac Productivity Course.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Learning, Mac, Productivity, Tips & Tricks, Training, 0 comments

Important parts of your Mac – Video

I’ve created a short video that explains some of the basics of a few of the critical components of your Mac. It covers how the hard drive, RAM, the CPU, the Logic Board and Battery work together for a smooth experience on your Mac. It’s just a few minutes long, and I hope you’ll find it informative.

You can view the video here

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Learning, Mac, Training, 0 comments
iOS 11 Beta 7 and macOS High Sierra Beta available now

iOS 11 Beta 7 and macOS High Sierra Beta available now

Apple has released the sixth public beta versions of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra to users enrolled in the public beta testing programs. There’s no major changes in these releases, just bug fixes and minor improvements, as we seem to be getting closer to the official release in the coming weeks.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iOS, iPhone, Mac, Software, 0 comments
Using Onyx on your Mac

Using Onyx on your Mac

Onyx for Mac is a popular free utility that’s been available since 2003, and is regularly updated by Titanium software. It lets you verify the structure of your Mac’s hard drive, and perform a number of other functions in a fairly simple way. You can empty different caches, rebuild services and indexes, and loads more.
It’s not for everyone, but if you have a reasonably good understanding of how your Mac works, and want a good free tool to do some occasional cleaning up on your Mac, it’s a great tool. While I would not recommend it for complete beginners, if you’re an intermediate Mac user and would like a free maintenance tool in your arsenal, this is probably the one I would recommend.

There are different versions of Onyx specific to each macOS / OSX operating systems. From the Titanium software homepage, you can find the version that’s right for you. You can download Onyx from their homepage.

The only thing I would add is that if there are options that you don’t understand, don’t click on them until you learn more. While you’re not going to break anything, you could end up with some unintended consequences if you just click on everything. Happy cleaning !

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Software, 0 comments
New Apple updates

New Apple updates

This week, Apple released updates for a lot of their products, including the Mac, iPhone & iPad, the Apple watch, and Apple TV. These are mainly bug fixes and security improvements, with no real new features. But any security improvements are pretty important these days, and I would highly recommend that you do the iOS 10.3.3  update in particular, as it resolves an important Wi-Fi security issue. Overall, if you own any of these products, you should update since you’re only going to get stability improvements with no downsides.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iOS, iPhone, Mac, Mac Security, 0 comments
Using the Focus app for productivity

Using the Focus app for productivity

There are times when you need to get some serious work done on your Mac, and you cannot allow yourself to be easily distracted. Of course, these days, that is easier said than done. Between Email, social media, Netflix, YouTube, web-sites, games and whatever else you might find yourself compulsively going to when working on the computer, it can be hard to resist distractions. But of course, there is technology available to help you resist those urges. I’ve been using the Focus app for a couple of years now, and I find it to be a fantastic tool.
Once installed, you can use Focus to create timed sessions during which you can either block certain applications from working, or block certain distracting web-sites, or do both. I often use Focus to block my Mac Mail application from working, while also blocking a large list of web-sites from being accessible.

You can customize a number of things about Focus, including which apps and web-sites you can block, create schedules, choose how long your focused sessions last, and plenty more. I definitely recommend this app, and you can try for free for 14 days, and buy it for $19.99 if you want to keep using it ( I am in not affiliated with this company in any way ). You can find the Focus app on their website at

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Recommendations, Software, 0 comments
Avoiding malware on Mac

Avoiding malware on Mac

Over the last few years of working with clients, I’ve seen a huge spike in people picking up malware/adware on their Mac. Malware is a pretty broad term which encompasses all sorts of malicious software, but the kind you’re most likely to get on your Mac is usually adware. Once on your computer it will embed itself in your web browsers and might start re-directing your web traffic, change your homepage, and probably show you all sorts of unwanted ads, warning messages and pop-ups. Malware on the Mac is not particularly harmful, but can be very annoying, and seriously limit what you can do on the web. That being said, it’s usually fairly easy to remove.

But ideally, you want to avoid picking up malware in the first place by taking some basic precautions. One of the most common ways that people pick up malware on their computer is by mistakenly downloading fake Adobe Flash updates. You’ll see some sort of pop-up that tells you need to install a newer version of Flash, but when you click on it you end up unknowingly installing malware instead. Here’s how you should install Flash updates the safe way :
Go to your System Preferences and click on the Flash Player at the bottom left of the window.

macOS system preferences

Once there, look for the Updates tab and run a check to see whether you do need updates. And if so, do it from here. This is one of the best ways you can avoid malware.

The other big precaution you can take is by not downloading movies, music, software and games from illegal sharing sites. Unfortunately, even though it may be tempting, those sites are filled with offers for free stuff that often turn out to be infected with malware. So, you just need to use good judgement there.

And finally, my other big recommendation is to stay  away from anything called MacKeeper, MacDefender, or MacSecurity at all costs. These programs are actually malware themselves, and try to fool people into downloading the software and then make the problem you’re trying to fix even worse. If you’ve ever downloaded any of these, remove them from your Mac using MalwareBytes for Mac. This is an excellent piece of software that removes malware from your Mac, and it’s free.

So, there you go, hopefully this helps to keep your Mac safe out there 🤓

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Mac Security, Recommendations, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments