Exploring Your Option…keys

Many Mac applications and system controls have hidden configuration choices and information tucked away out of sight. But they can be accessed via your keyboard’s Option key. Over the next few blog entries, we’re going to explore some of those hidden nuggets of useful features and information.

A few versions of OSX ago, Apple took away the Save As choice on its applications and replaced it with the option to Duplicate the current document. Well, the Save As option is still there, just hidden. Here’s how uncover it:

1. Open an application like Pages along with one of your documents. (Or create a new one for the sake of testing.)

2. Single click on the File menu option to open the File menu. Note that just below the Save option is the Duplicate option.

3. With the File menu still open, depress and hold the Option key. (You could also open the menu by holding down the Option key when clicking on the File menu. Note that the Duplicate option changes to Save As.

That’s it! You’ve got the Save As option back!!

Duplicate     Save As


iOS 6: Useful Safari Features

iOS 6 comes with over 200 new features. But not all of them are headliners. Here are a few new features for Safari on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch:


Offline reading: While this has been a part of Safari in OS X, it’s new for iOS. Press the share button, the middle button on the bottom menu bar shaped like a box with a swooping arrow. Among the nine options that pop up is Add to Reading List. Tap the button to add a web page to your reading list. Via iCloud, your offline reading list will be added to all your iOS 6 devices.

Browsing history: You can access your browsing history by pressing and holding your finger on the Safari back button, found on the far left side of the bottom menu bar on the iPhone and iPod touch. The back button is on the upper left of the menu bar on the iPad.

The browsing history is on a tab by tab basis on the iPad and on a page by page basis on the iPhone.

Copy the URL: If you want to share the URL of a web page, you can copy it to the clipboard by tapping the share button, then tapping the Copy button. You can paste the URL into another application, like a document.

There are other quick ways to share the URL by tapping on the Mail, Message, Twitter and Facebook buttons. While you’re here, you might want to check out the other options tucked away in the share button.

iCloud tabs: This is probably one of the coolest new features! Let’s say you spend an hour searching the internet for your favorite Teletubbie blog but have to run off to work before reading anything. From your work Mac or one of your iOS devices, you can go to iCloud tabs and go directly to the URL you opened on your other Mac.

Access iCloud tabs by selecting the cloud icon in the upper left hand side of the Safari address bar:

ICloud tabs

On an iPhone or iPod touch, you access iCloud tabs by navigating to the highest level of your bookmarks (the open book icon found on the bottom menu bar) and selecting iCloud tabs.

Note: If you don’t see one of your devices listed when you select iCloud tabs, check to see if the missing device has Private Browsing enabled.

A bigger Safari screen: No, not just because the iPhone 5 has a larger display. Hold the iPhone in landscape mode and tap on the button on the far right side of the bottom menu bar. This will hide the bottom menu bar and the URL bar, giving you just a bit more reading space.



Accessing iCloud Documents from the Finder

With Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), Apple integrated iCloud into the Mac. Applications that support iCloud allow you to save documents to iCloud instead of your Mac’s hard disk. This allows you to access those documents from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Apple chose to “silo” the documents on an application by application basis. For example, that means if you bring up Pages, you can’t see the documents you saved using Numbers.

Here’s a trick that allows you to access your iCloud documents, regardless of the application that created them, from the Finder:

Mobile Documents in Finder

How to do it:

1. From the Finder, press the following key combination: Command+Shift+G  This will open the Go To window.

2. In the Go To Window, enter the following path: ~/Library/  Then press the Go button. This will open the Finder window to your Library folder. (Be careful when working in this folder. It contains things that make your Mac behave properly. Delete or move the wrong thing and you can open a wormhole to the dark side.)

3. Locate the folder called “Mobile Documents”. This is where your iCloud documents can be found.

4. Make an alias of this folder by selecting the folder and pressing: Command+L

5. Drag the alias to the sidebar of the Finder window. Next, delete the alias folder. (NOT the original folder!!)

Now, when you select Mobile Documents on your Finder sidebar, it will take you to the folder that contains your iCloud documents.


Not as pretty as you’d like…

Inside the Mobile Documents folder will be a series of folders that contain your iCloud documents:

Inside Mobile Documents

The folder names will look a bit weird. But if you look closely, you’ll see the name of the respective applications at the end of the folder names. For example, the Pages folder is named “com-apple-Pages”. (DO NOT rename these folders!!)

Double click on one of the folders. Within that folder will be a folder called Documents. Double click that folder and you’ll see the files you created with that application and stored in iCloud.

And that’s it! Access to your iCloud documents from the Finder. 

Any Printer Can Be an AirPrint Printer

Since the release of iOS 4.2, you can print* from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to any AirPrint enabled printer. But what if you don’t have an AirPrint enabled printer? What if you’re using a 15 year old HP LaserJet that wouldn’t know an iPad from an iHop?


AirPrint for the rest of us…

There are a variety of solutions that turn any printer into an AirPrint accessible device. I’m using one called AirPrint Activator**, version 3.1.0., a DonationWare application from Netputing.

AirPrint Activator is a software application that runs on a Mac or Windows PC and turns your computer into an AirPrint print spooler. (I’m using the Mac version.) It installs in System Preferences.

AirPrint Activator 1

After installation, share your printer from the computer. AirPrint Activator fools an AirPrint device into thinking it’s printing to an AirPrint enabled printer.

Let’s begin:

1. Download AirPrint Activator: http://netputing.com/airprintactivator/airprint-activator-v3-0/

2. Install AirPrint Activator.

3. Share one or more of your printers via the computer on which you installed AirPrint Activator. (The computer and printer must be on the same wireless/wired network.)

4. Turn on AirPrint Activator. Go into System Preferences, select AirPrint Activator and set the sliding switch to On. The printer(s) you shared will show up in the list on the right.

AirPrint Activator 2

In my case, the printer name is Mr. Laserjet.

Next, on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, bring up an application that supports printing. Depending on the application you’re using, you’ll tap one of the following symbols to bring up the printing option: 

 Printer Symbols copy

I’m using iOS 6 and Safari for this example. Follow the next four screens to select the printer you shared, then hit the Print button.

Select Printer 0

Tap on the Print icon.


Select Printer 1

Tap on Select Printer >.


Select Printer 2

Tap on the printer you wish to print to.


Select Printer 3

Tap on Print. That’s it!

* iPad (All models), iPhone (3GS or later), iPod touch (3rd generation or later)

**Netputing is renaming AirPrint Activator to handyPrint™ when it release version 3.1.1. Only the name is changing. If you installed a previous version, upgrading to version 3.1.1 will change the name of the application and update the icon. No need to uninstall anything. 

Who’s On Your VIP Mail List?

With the release of iOS 6 and Mountain Lion, Apple introduced a new email status called VIP. This is a built-in “smart folder”, a concept that has been a part of OS X for a long time.

When designated a VIP, email from this person will automatically appear in an email folder called…drum roll please…VIP.


 (To find this screen: From within Mail, select the Mailboxes icon in the upper left hand corner.)

Finding all Mailboxes

Next, select VIP and you’ll see the list of folks on your list:

VIP list

 Adding people to your VIP list is simple. Select Add VIP… and you’ll be taken to your contacts list. From there, pick the folks that are near and dear to your heart.

And while you’re here, you can set a unique alert tone which will be used when you get mail from your VIP buddies. Select VIP alerts and it will take you to the screen where you can set a variety of things. (See my previous blog entry for detailed info.)