Category Archives: macOS

Product Review – AppCleaner for Mac

(See my other OS X related articles – I have had AppCleaner installed for a while and have used it a few times. This is a small Drag-and-drop App cleaner for macOS. It not only deletes the App but can also remove most of the files associated with the App. It is one of the software products from Freemacsoft. As the name implies, this is a FREE software product. I have used it a few times and it seems to both find most of the associated files.

As the name implies, this is a FREE software product. I have used it a few times, and it seems to both find most of the associated files.

When you run AppCleaner you get a window that an App can be drug onto and dripped.

In the example above, I dropped Cisco Webex Meetings onto AppCleaner. As you can see above, AppCleaner found the App itself, two associated folders, and a plist file. Use the checkboxes to the left to select which you want to be deleted, then click on the Remove button at the bottom right.

I also have the App Hazel running on my Mac. As soon as I clicked the Remove button, Hazel identified a few more files associated with Cisco Webex Meetings. I can then let Hazel remove these additional files.

I consider this an App to install on all of my Macs. Part of the essential macOS Toolbox.

Pros

  1. Software is FREE
  2. Finds most of the files associated with an App
  3. Very small App 9.6 MB

Cons

  1. Hazel had to find a few residual files to be deleted.

Visit my macOS Software Directory page and find new software for your Mac. Currently, there are over 900 titles indexed with more than 300 available for FREE

Add a Display to Your Mac with Sidecar

img_2109

See my other Mac and macOS posts.

Contents

  1. What is Sidecar
  2. How Does it Work?
  3. How do I Set Up Sidecar?
  4. Using Sidecar
  5. System Requirements
  6. Resources

So what is Sidecar

Sidecar is a feature beginning with macOS 10.15 and iPadOS 13. It allows you to use your iPad as an additional Mac display. I am fortunate that both my Mac and iPad are relatively new. If you want to try Sidecar you need to check that your equipment meets the requirements.

Many can take advantage of this feature when they are traveling with their laptop. It can be equally useful, though with your desktop. I have been an advocate of using multiple displays for years to extend my desktop. Recently the adapter driving the second display on my Mac mini failed. While I was waiting for the replacement to arrive, I tried out Sidecar. I have been very pleased with it. So much so that I now set up my iPad as my third display every time I work on the computer. You can see my desk configuration in the photo above. 

I take advantage of the wireless connection over IEEE-802.4 Wi-Fi. That way I can plug in the USB-C cable to charge the iPad while using it as a display. There are times when I experience a little latency. That would be resolved if necessary by using a wired connection. I don’t do that often as the USB-C ports on my Mac mini do not supply enough power to charge the iPad. Since I am not using an Apple Pencil for graphic input this has not been an issue.

If you have one, you can also use an Apple Pencil on the connected iPad. You can use it for pressure-sensitive drawing or sketching in Mac Apps. You can also use the pencil as a pointing device on the display. Any Mac Apps that support drawing tablets should automatically work with Sidecar [1].

In a sense, Sidecar gives the Mac the touchscreen ability that several users have wanted. If you are contemplating buying a Mac Laptop with Touch Bar, Sidecar lets you ‘try before you buy’.

How does it work?

Sidecar utilizes the same technology as in Continuity. It uses Bluetooth to make the initial connection. Point-to-point Wi-Fi is then used for subsequent data transfers. The virtual display technology built into macOS sends the signal to the iPad. This is over an encrypted data stream for security. The low-latency connection sends video to the iPad. Likewise, user input signals are returned to the Mac [5, 11].

How do I Set Up Sidecar?

screen-shot-2021-08-23-at-1.26.56-pmBoth macOS and iPadOS come with everything you need to run Sidecar. Sidecar must be initiated from the Mac. Apple provides a few different ways to connect your Mac to an iPad [2, 5]. I chose to use the System Preference panel method [8]. Just open System Preferences on your Mac and double-click on Sidecar.

At his point you have three options you can enable for your Sidecar display. First, you can optionally show the Sidebar on either the left or right side of your iPad screen. The Sidebar contains some commonly used controls. Use your finger or Apple Pencil to choose them. I have never used the controls so I have opted to disable that feature to gain a little more viewing space.

Some Mac laptops have a Touch Bar beneath the screen on the keyboard. This feature can be optionally added to the top or bottom of your iPad display. The Touch Bar controls will be for the window displayed in Sidecar. The last option is to allow double tap on your Apple Pencil. There are also multi-touch gestures you can use on the iPad display [2].

Using Sidecar

Once Sidecar is set up you can use it like any other display. To choose how the displays are arranged in relation to one another go to System Preferences. Now double-click on Displays and click on the Arrangement tab. Just drag your Sidecar display to where you want it.

screen-shot-2021-08-23-at-3.43.52-pm

The default mode and my preference is to have Sidecar extend my desktop. If that is the case you can just drag windows between the displays. You can also move the cursor over the green circle in the top left-hand corner of a window (see image above). A drop-down menu will appear and one of the choices will allow you to relocate the window to the Sidecar display.

On the other hand, you might want to use Sidecar in mirroring mode. That way an audience can view your Mac while you draw on the mirrored Mac screen on an iPad. You could also use this on a plane. Watch a video on your laptop while your neighbor watches it with you on the iPad. Best to do that with a cable rather than wirelessly though [12].

You can leave Sidecar on your iPad at any time to access the local Apps. You can take advantage of the iPad’s multitasking so you do not have to terminate Sidecar. Just swipe up from the bottom of the iPad screen. This will take you to the iPad’s Home Screen.

iu

When you are done using the iPad App just touch the Sidecar icon to resume the Mac Display function. This will likely be in the recent-Apps portion of the iPad dock.

If your iPad has a keyboard such as Apple’s Smart Keyboard then it acts as an additional Mac keyboard while Sidecar is running [10]. You can also use multi-touch gestures on the iPad. Gestures must be enabled on the iPad. Go to Settings -> Hone Screen & Dock -> Multitasking. Make sure that Gestures are turned on (green) [4]. The most common gestures are:

  • Two-finger swipe to scroll
  • Pinch in with three fingers to copy
  • Double pinch with three fingers to cut
  • Three -finger pinch out to paste
  • Three-finger swipe left to Undo
  • Three-finger swipe right to Redo

You can use Continuity Sketch to create a drawing on the iPad and add it to a document on the Mac. You can use your finger or an Apple Pencil in Continuity Mark Up. That will let you sign or mark up documents [5, 11].

System requirements

Not all Macs and iPads can run Sidecar. The general requirements are that:

  1. Both devices must be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID
  2. If using Sidecar wirelessly the units must be within 10 meters of each other. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff must be turned on.

For a full list of the requirements check Resources 1, 2, & 3 below.

Mac requirements

  1. The Mac must be running macOS 10.15 Catalina or later
  2. The Mac must be a: 2016 or later Mac Book Pro, 2016 or later Mac Book, 2018 or later Mac Book Air, 2017 iMac, 2015 iMac retina 5K, iMac Pro, 2018 or later Mac Mini, 2019 Mac Pro

iPad requirements

  1. IPad must be running iPadOS 13 or later
  2. The iPad must be a: iPad Pro, iPad 6th generation or newer, iPad mini 5th generation or newer, iPad Air 3td generation or newer

Resources

  1. Do your Mac and iPad meet the system requirements for the Sidecar feature? 10–22–19
  2. Use your iPad as a second display for your Mac with Sidecar
  3. Check iPad Mac Sidecar Requirements
  4. How To Use Apple Sidecar
  5. Sidecar Apple Tech Brief 10–19
  6. Sidecar on your Mac
  7. Use your iPad as a second display for your Mac
  8. Everything you need to know about Apple Sidecar
  9. Sidecar
  10. Sidecar: Turn an iPad Into a Secondary Mac Display 10–13–20
  11. Apple Sidecar explained: How Apple is using the iPad to make the Mac even better
  12. Apple Sidecar: Use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac 11–12–19

Visit my macOS Software Directory page and find new software for your Mac. Currently, there are over 870 titles indexed with more than 270 available for FREE

macOS App Review: “MacLampsX”

Image from the https://benkurtz.org/maclampsx.html webpage.

I like to try out new Mac Apps that I come across. One that I found today is MacLampsX. This one seemed appropriate for the season.


What does it do? it puts a border of Christmas lights and ornaments around the perimeter of your Mac computer screen. It can also simulate snow on the screen.


This is a ‘just for fun’ App. It doesn’t do anything other than bring some Christmas spirit to your display. The App has been around for a few years. At lease since 2005. It has been updated (version 3.0b3) recently enough to run without problem on macOS Big Sur 11.0.1. A few ‘third-party’ downloads are available with add-on bulb types so that you can customize your display.


if you want to make your desktop more of the Holiday season, this is an App you should try.

Pros

  1. Free
  2. Works on multiple monitors
  3. Can be customized many ways
 
 
Cons
 
  1. Does not seem to work on multiple workspaces
 
Further Reading

Visit my macOS Software Directory page and find new software for your Mac. Currently, there are over 750 titles indexed with more than 240 available for FREE   https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/macos-software/ 


See my other macOS posts

 


What’s New in macOS Big Sur?

(See my other macOS related posts) – The name of the latest version of the Mac operating system is Big Sur. The announcement of Big Sur came at WWDC on June 22, 2020. It became available for users to download and install beginning on November 12, 2020. 


Big Sur marks a significant change in the macOS. Macs have been running version 10 since March of 2001. This version of the OS moves to version 11.


So what will you find different in Big Sur? There are many incremental changes. The highlights of the improvements in Big Sur are listed below. The reading list provides links to where you can find more detailed information.

  • A new design – new icons more like those found on iPhone and iPad
  • Control Center – what you are familiar with on the iPhone and iPad
  • Improved Finder – more like what you see on iPad Files App
  • Enhanced Notifications and Widgets – more like iPhone and iPad
  • Photos – improved editing
  • Messages – more like what is found on iPhone and iPad
  • Improved Safari – better performance, Privacy Report, language translation
  • Maps – more like iPhone and iPad
  • Support of iPhone Apps (only for Macs with the M1 chip)
  • Better switching of AirPods between Apple devices

Read / See more about Big Sur

Xwavesoft Back to School Sale

Odessa, Ukraine – Xwavesoft today is happy to announce a Back-to-School sale on their entire range of macOS and iOS applications. Starting on August 31, all their applications on Mac and iOS App Stores will be offered at a 60% discount. The range consists of widely known applications, where the most effective productivity techniques are incorporated to help people maximize their time, avoid burnout, and get rid of procrastination.

Acknowledging the worldwide research about Work-Life balance, the Xwavesoft team are excited about the chance to help people manage their time more effectively, and easily align their daily routines in order to achieve better results. These apps increase personal productivity and helps to focus on things that really matter naturally organizing plans, projects, and ideas in a clear way for faster goal achievement.

* Be Focused Pro (Mac) – $4.99 (USD) – now $1.99 (USD)
* Be Focused Pro (iOS) – $1.99 (USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
*Focus Matrix (Mac) – $9.99 (USD) – now $3.99(USD)
* Focus Matrix (iOS)- $4.99 (USD) – now $1.99 (USD)
* Cloud Outliner (Mac) – $9.99 (USD) – now $3.99 (USD)
* Cloud Outliner (iOS) – $2.99(USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
* eXtra Voice Recorder (Mac) – $4.99 (USD) – now $1.99 (USD)
* eXtra Voice Recorder (iOS) – $1.99 (USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
* Chrono Plus (Mac) – $4.99 (USD) – now $1.99 (USD)
* Chrono Plus (iOS) – $1.99 (USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
* Daily Habits (iOS) – $2.99 (USD) – now $0.99(USD)
* Christmas Gift List (iOS) – $2.99 (USD) – now $0.99(USD)
* Guest List Organizer (Mac) – $9.99 (USD) – now $3.99 (USD)
* Guest List Organizer (iOS) – $4.99 (USD) – now $1.99 (USD)
* Top Contacts (Mac) – $9.99 (USD) – now $3.99 (USD)
* Top Contacts (iOS) – $4.99 (USD) – now $1.99 (USD)
* Magic Cutter (Mac) – $9.99 (USD) – now $3.99 (USD)

The discount in the Mac App Store and iOS App Store is valid from Monday, August 31 through Saturday, September 5.

Get More from the Textedit App

(See my other Tech Tip related posts) – We have all used the Textedit App on our Macs. But do you know all that it can do for you? The article “10 Things You May Not Know You Can Do With TextEdit On a Mac” helps to fill in some of the gaps in our Textedit knowledge.

I like this short (11:30) video from MacMost which explains some of the features of Textedit. MacMost uploaded the video to YouTube in April of 2020.

I have used Textedit for years, but I learned a few new things from watching this video. Their tagline for the video is:

TextEdit seems like a simple text editing tool, but it actually has some pretty rich features. You can do things like set document properties, edit code, define and use styles, insert images, audio, and video, and even export HTML documents.


See my other Mac and macOS related posts


 

Improve Your Productivity by Remapping that Windows Keyboard

IMG_9455

(See my other Tech Tip related posts) – I recently traveled again to Henderson, NV to visit family. I knew that I would be here for a while, so I brought my Mac Mini. Its size and solid-state drive make it easy to travel with.

I have a monitor available at the location I was headed to but I will need a keyboard and mouse. I chose not to bring the keyboard and mouse from my desk at home. I had secured the cables for those under my desk. I brought along instead a generic keyboard. This Windows keyboard works well, but the key layout isn’t the same as my Apple keyboard at home.

The video above is from the suggested Further Reading

There turns out to be a simple solution for this. Remap the keys to the more familiar Mac layout. I followed the procedure outlined in the video. Now the keyboard layout is Mac-friendly and much easier for me to use.

The desire is to remap the Modifier Keys. On a Windows keyboard those keys on the left-hand side are in the order:

Control Command  Option

On an Apple keyboard the order is:

Control Option  Command

I have been using the Apple keyboard for a decade. It is difficult to change typing behavior. By remapping the Modifier keys my typing becomes more efficient. This also means that I become a fraction more productive.

Further Reading

  1. How-To: Remap Windows keyboards to match the Mac keyboard layout

See my other Mac and macOS related posts


 

Save Email as a PDF with three simultaneous keystrokes

 

(See my other Tech Tips ) – I am always looking for ways to improve my productivity on the Mac. I wanted a method to save an email as a PDF in the easiest way.

If you are in the Mail App you can do this by clicking on File => Export as PDF… I wanted to shorten this process. I set up a keyboard shortcut as described by David Sparks above.

Now when I am reading through my emails, I can save any as a PDF by hitting the Option-Command-P keys. Later I will come back and apply  Tags to those files to organize them.


See my other Mac and macOS related posts


 

Zevrix Solutions Microsoft Office Output Automation Tools on Sale

bodoc-pdf-mas

(Product Announcements )  – Zevrix Solutions of Toronto (ON), Canada announces a spring sale on all products including output automation tools for Microsoft Office. The company offers a 50% discount until April 3. Zevrix BatchOutput Office Suite is a collection of output automation apps for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint for macOS. The only automation tool for Microsoft users on the Mac market, the software streamlines printing and exporting of Office documents to PDF through batch processing with time-saving output options.

BatchOutput Office Suite can be purchased at half price for US$30 from the Zevrix website until April 3. The suite’s applications – BatchOutput DOC, BatchOutput XLS, and BatchOutput PPT – can be also purchased separately for $10 (USD) each. The trial is also available for download. The sale also applies to all other products and upgrades. BatchOutput Office requires macOS 10.8 – 10.15 and Microsoft Office 2008-2019. InDesign and Illustrator solutions require Adobe Creative Cloud CS6 – 2020.

 

Customizing your Mac Mail Signature

I thought that this short video (06:06) from MacMost was a good start to customizing your mail signatures under macOS.

You can actually do far more than that. The Mail signature files for macOS Catalina are found in /Users/[your user ID]/Library/Mail/V7/MailData/Signatures/. This is an HTML file, so you can take advantage of that to further customize your signature. 
 
Select a signature file to customize. Apple’s naming convention for signature files is not intuitive. I recommend that you create a new signature file.
  • Open Mail then go to Preferences > Signatures > enter “+” to add a new signature
  • Type in the text you want to appear
  • Close Preferences
  • Quit Mail
Now in your Finder go to /Users/[your user ID]/Library/Mail/V7/MailData/Signatures/. Select the file with today’s date and open it for editing.  I use BBEdit for this.
 
The file is larger than you might expect. Insert the HTML you want for customizing the signature. I added a table with one row and two data fields. The field on the left has artwork, the field on the right now has my text. Save the file. 
 
In Finder select the updated file and Right-Click (or Control-Click) on it. Select “Get Info”. Now click on the “Locked” box. If you do not do this, Mail will overwrite the changes you made to the Signature file. 
 
Now open Mail and you will find the updated signature is ready for use. One of my signatures now looks like the image below. It now identifies the topics I most often post about on my Blog – Mac & iOS, WWII, and Books. Those interests are also reflected in a simple image.

Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 3.46.14 PM


See my other macOS posts