Tips & Tricks

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
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
Taking screenshots on Mac

Taking screenshots on Mac

One of the most useful keyboard shortcuts on the Mac (which is not easy to remember), is the shortcut to take a screenshot. If there is something on your Mac that you’d like to save as an image , you can easily do so by doing the following : Press a combination of Shift + Command + 4 on your keyboard first, you will see a little target icon appear instead of your mouse pointer, and you can then make a selection around the area on your screen you’d like to save as a screenshot.
Once you release the keys, the image will be saved to your desktop. And there you have it 🔥

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Keeping your messages private

Keeping your messages private

Sending and receiving text messages and pictures on your iPhone and iPad is one of the most common use for smart phone users. But, you don’t necessarily want the people around you to see those messages as they pop up on your phone, or even who the messages are from. To that end, Apple does give you a couple of options regarding how your Message notifications appear on your phone. You can for example, choose to see a message preview when the phone is unlocked, but hide the previews when your phone is locked. That way, no one can read your messages when you’ve left the phone unattended on a desk or in another room. You’ll still get a notification that you’ve received a message, but it just won’t show the content of that message.

In order to choose your favorite notification options, on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Notifications > Messages and look at your Message Options under Show Previews. You have three choices : Always, When Unlocked, and Off. My favorite is When Unlocked, which hides Message Previews when the phone is locked, and I am most likely to be away from the phone.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iOS, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Using Snapchat filters

Using Snapchat filters

If you’ve installed Snapchat on your iPhone, but are past a certain age, it’s very likely that you have found the Snapchat interface slightly confusing and not very intuitive. And maybe you’ve seen people posting pictures and videos with all sorts of cute animations going on, and wondered to yourself, how do they do that ? Well, this article explains how you can start using the Snapchat filters and lenses that Snapchat is so famous for :
How to turn on and use the Snapchat filters

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iPhone, Learning, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Stay away from MacKeeper

Stay away from MacKeeper

MacKeeper is one the worst applications you can have on your Mac. What was once a great application has unfortunately been turned into a very crappy piece  of malware. Under no circumstances should you ever install MacKeeper on your computer, no matter how compelling some of the reviews you may read online. Those reviews have been paid for by Kromtech Alliance, the company that acquired MacKeeper in 2013. There has been many claims of fraud regarding this company.
So, my advice is to stay away from this product at all costs. And if you’ve ever installed it on one of your Macs, make sure to fully delete it from that computer using the instructions in the article that I’m providing a link to below :
This article explains how to completely delete MacKeeper from your Mac

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Software, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Managing hard drive space on your Mac using Sierra

Managing hard drive space on your Mac using Sierra

The management of files on your Mac hard drive has always been an important issue, and something you should carefully monitor. And now,  because a lot of the newer Macs come with SSD drives which are quite fast but usually smaller in capacity than the older traditional hard drives, it’s become tougher for some mac users to fit all their files on their computer. Pictures, movies, TV shows, music and podcasts on your computer can gobble up your hard drive space very quickly. You can, and should, move those types of files to the cloud or to external hard drives whenever possible. But first you need to know exactly what is taking up space on your Mac, which is what I’m going to show you now.

If you’re using the latest version of macOS, which is Sierra, or 10.12, you have a very powerful built-in tool which let’s you see exactly what is taking up space on your hard drive. All you have to do is go to the Apple logo on the top left of your screen and choose > About This Mac. A little panel will open up with a few different options. Choose Storage, at which point your Mac will scan itself, and after a few minutes will show a little colored graph with a breakdown of different categories of files on your Mac. Such as System files, Documents, Apps, Photos, iTunes, and so on. Now, if you click on the Manage button, a new panel will open up showing you an exact breakdown of all these files in each categories, the size of the files, and when it was last accessed. If you find any files that are certain you will no longer need, you can right-click on the file and delete it. Just be careful and do not start just deleting stuff if you’re not sure what the file is.

Storage graph

mac file management
If you are not using macOS Sierra, but an older version of the Mac operating system, then I would highly recommend an app called DaisyDisk, which does something very similar to what I’ve just described. It’s a paid app, but definitely worth it. You can find DaisyDisk here

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