Jump to content

  • Articles

    Manage articles

    Teaser Paragraph:
    Now that macOS Sierra has Siri built directly into the Mac operating system, you’re probably wondering what exactly you can do with the handy virtual assistant on your computer.
    It turns out that Siri has many abilities unique to the Mac, which you can’t perform on an iPhone or iPad with the virtual assistant. Of course nearly all of the traditional Siri commands from iOS work in macOS as well, which is just one of many reasons we think Siri is one of the features in macOS Sierra that you’ll use most. 
    Accessing Siri on the Mac
    Before issuing commands to Siri, you’ll want to summon the virtual assistant. The easiest way to do this are by clicking on the menu bar item in the upper right corner, the Dock icon, or by hitting the Option + Spacebar keystroke. 

    When you click to activate Siri, Siri will stick around until you either click the icon again or close the Siri window in the corner of the display. 
    Now that yo just a taste of the type of commands Siri can perform on the Mac. You can substitute obvious things as well, for example you can ask about different settings or preference panels, Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, any application the Mac, ask to show any file type or document name, and so much more. 
    Mac Siri Commands List
    This list will give you an idea of what to try and where to start with Siri on the Mac:
    Put my computer to sleep Activate the screen saver Make the screen brighter Make the screen dimmer  Is Bluetooth on? Turn Bluetooth off / on Lower the volume Increase the volume Show me privacy settings Show me location settings Show me network settings What is my desktop wallpaper I forgot my iTunes Password How fast is my Mac?  How much memory does my Mac have? How much free disk storage is available? What is my Mac serial number? What OS version is this?  How much iCloud storage do I have? Open Mail application  Open Safari Open Messages  Open the website for OSXDaily.com Open the webpage (site name or site URL) Send a message to (name) saying (message) Open the Documents folder  Open the Pictures folder  Show me files named “screen shot” Show me files from yesterday Show me image files from last week Show me documents from two days ago Show me what I was working on yesterday Show me my music Play (song name) in iTunes What song is playing? Skip this song Remind me to call (name) in 20 minutes Show me pictures from last October Show me my photos from Hawaii Your best bet to mastering Siri on the Mac is to simply play around with the virtual assistant, asking various questions, changing command language, asking for different types of documents or apps, requesting different information, just have fun. 
    In fact, nearly every one of the commands from this Siri commands list work on the Mac as well, though obviously iPhone and iPad specific tasks and features are not possible on the Mac, though some will adjust accordingly. Explore and have fun.
    The Siri Commands List, Courtesy of Siri on the Mac
    Another option is to ask Siri directly, what can you do for me? This works to reveal many additional command options as well, since Siri for Mac has a little help guide that comes along for the ride, you can access the details by opening Siri and pressing the info ? question mark button, or if you ask Siri on the Mac what the assistant can do for you. This shows a variety of menu items showing different types of commands to ask Siri, some of which are Mac specific and others which are generalized for Siri. 
    Those menus from the Mac showing giant lists of Siri commands have been posted below for easy browsing, check out the screen captures and try them out yourself:

    Have any particular favorite Siri commands for Mac? Let us know in the comments.
    from: http://osxdaily.com/2016/09/28/use-mac-siri-commands/

    Teaser Paragraph:
    With MacOS Sierra now available, Mac users can now get Siri on their computers, have improved iCloud integration, unlock their Macs with an Apple Watch, use Apple Pay on the web, and much more. Before you go diving right into updating to macOS 10.12 though, you should take a few precautionary steps to prepare for the software update.
    We’ll walk through some simple steps to prepare for updating to macOS Sierra so that you can install the new Mac OS system software with ease. 
    1: Check Hardware for Support 
    Is your Mac supported by macOS Sierra? If it’s relatively new and built in the middle of 2010 onward, the answer is probably yes, but you’ll want to be sure by viewing the macOS Sierra compatibility list first.
    Most apps that are compatible with El Capitan are compatible with Sierra as well, just be sure you update your apps after you install macOS Sierra. If you have any mission critical apps, you may want to reach out to the developer to investigate if a particular application has any issues or not.
    2: Backup, Backup, Backup
    No matter what system software you update, you always should backup first. Don’t skip making a complete and thorough backup of your Mac before installing MacOS Sierra.
    Setting up Time Machine on a Mac is easy and allows for simple backups and restoring in the odd event something goes haywire. 
    Don’t skip a backup, it’s important. 
    3: Installing macOS Sierra
    Did you backup? Did you insure your Mac is compatible? And you backed up the Mac completely so that all of your data is secure? Don’t skip the backup. Then you’re ready to update and install macOS Sierra. The simplest way to update is by letting the installer run after downloading, this will bring the current version of Mac OS X up to date to the Sierra, it’s a pretty easy process:
    Go ahead and download macOS Sierra now from the Mac App Store When the Installer launches, go through the simple steps and select your Mac hard drive to update to macOS Sierra macOS Sierra will download and install, rebooting the Mac when completed Typically a macOS Sierra installation takes a bit over an hour, but it can vary depending on computer speed, what version is being updated, and how much stuff is on the Mac.
    When it’s finished installing, the Mac will reboot itself into macOS 10.12 Sierra, ready to go and enjoy.
    Additional macOS Sierra Installation Notes
    If you were in the macOS Sierra beta testing program, you might want to opt out of Mac OS X beta software updates after you get to the final version, otherwise you’ll keep getting minor beta releases offered as updates If you need to re-download macOS Sierra, delete any existing beta installers on the Mac, reboot, and you should be able to get the latest macOS Sierra installer Want to make a bootable installer drive? You can create a macOS Sierra boot drive easily with these instructions, you’ll need an 8GB or larger USB drive and the original installer handy, that’s about it Users can perform a clean install of MacOS Sierra if desired as well, we’ll cover that in the future If you’re skittish about updating, waiting until the first minor point release version (in this case, macOS Sierra 10.12.1) is a relatively common conservative strategy to try and avoid any potential bugs that may linger in the final release As long as you made a backup beforehand, you can downgrade from Sierra if need be after the fact If you want to use the iOS-to-Mac and vice versa clipboard feature, you’ll need to be sure the iPhone or iPad is updated to iOS 10 or later Are you prepared for Sierra? Did you jump right into the update? Do you have any thoughts on installing macOS Sierra? Let us know in the comments!

    Teaser Paragraph:
    Ever wished you could make a dialog alert pop-up on the Mac by way of the Terminal? Well it turns out that you can with the always useful osascript command, which allows execution of AppleScript from the Terminal. For those who spend a lot of time at the command line of MacOS, this can be a great little trick to notify you of when a specific task has completed, or even to be included as part of a script. This is sort of a visual approach to one of my favorite simple Terminal tricks which is to verbally announce when a command line task has completed.
    Let’s review how advanced Mac users can trigger alert dialog boxes in the MacOS GUI from the command line. You can choose to specify a specification application to trigger the pop-up alert to appear within, or, perhaps better yet, trigger a alert dialog in whatever the foremost application in Mac OS X is.

    And yes this works in every version of macOS or Mac OS X that has existed, so there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues here.
    How to Make a Dialog Alert Pop-Up in Mac OS
    Perhaps the most useful dialog alert is one that is visible from anywhere and is thus sent to whatever is the foremost application. This insures the alert box isn’t missed.
    The syntax to trigger a dialog alert box in the frontmost application on the Mac is as follows:
    osascript -e 'tell application (path to frontmost application as text) to display dialog "Hello from osxdaily.com" buttons {"OK"} with icon stop'
    The resulting pop-up alert box looks like this:

    For example, you could use this to trigger a dialog box in the frontmost application when a task at the command line has completed. Let’s say we’re running a python script and want an alert box to notify us when it has completed, the syntax for such a use case could look like the following:
    python MagicScript.py && osascript -e 'tell application (path to frontmost application as text) to display dialog "The script has completed" buttons {"OK"} with icon caution'
    That example would trigger a dialog box that says “The script has completed” with the yellow caution icon to the frontmost application in Mac OS X GUI after python has finished running ‘MagicScript.py’. You can pick other icons like stop, note, caution, or even specify a path to a custom icon if desired.
    While you can specify an application, System Events, or SystemUIServer, choosing the broader frontmost application allows the alert dialog window to appear onscreen no matter what application is at the forefront. Let’s cover triggering dialog alerts into specific apps, since that may be desirable as well. 
    Trigger a Dialog Alert in Specific Application
    To send a dialog or alert into a specific application, simply specify the app name in question, like so:
    Triggering an alert dialog in Mac OS Finder by way of command line:
    osascript -e 'tell app "Finder" to display dialog "Hello from osxdaily.com"'
    Triggering an alert dialog in Terminal app via command line:
    osascript -e 'tell app "Terminal" to display dialog "Hello from osxdaily.com"'
    Triggering an alert dialog in Safari via command line:
    osascript -e 'tell app "Safari" to display dialog "Hello from osxdaily.com"'
    Trigger an alert dialog to System Events by way of command line:
    osascript -e 'tell app "System Events" to display dialog "Howdy Doo"'
    You can specify any application to send the alert to this way, but for many of us the broader frontmost or System Events are likely the more useful choice.
    If a general pop-up dialog trigger is too intrusive, you might appreciate sending alerts to the Notification Center on Mac with terminal-notifier, terminal-notifier is a third party solution that allows command line messages to appear in the general Notifications Center of Mac OS. An even less invasive option would be to trigger a notification badge onto the Terminal Dock icon though that may be too subtle for many users needs.
    Anyway, this is a basic overview of triggering visual alert dialogs into the graphical interface of Mac OS by way of the command line. You can go much deeper than this if desired through more complex uses of AppleScript and osascript including having interactions with the dialog box impact what happens next, but that’s approaching a more complex topic which would be better served in it’s own article. Users who are interested in learning more about scripting with AppleScript can review the documentation included with the Script Editor app which is quite thorough and detailed.
    Have any interesting ways to use this tip, or know of another method to trigger dialog boxes into the GUI of Mac OS from the command line? Let us know in the comments.

    Teaser Paragraph:
    Many Mac applications and downloads arrive as a PKG package file, but have you ever wanted to open a PKG file to view exactly what is being installed and where it’s going from the source .pkg? Assuming you get a .pkg installer from a trusted source like Apple there is generally nothing to be concerned with about running a package installer file, but not all PKG installers are as trustworthy. Additionally, sometimes people are just curious about what exactly is going on behind the scenes, and what is going to be run by the package installer and where it intends to put files on a Mac
    This is where the amusingly named ‘Suspicious Package’ application comes in to play, it’s a free Mac app which allows the opening and inspection of PKG installer files before the installation is actually executed, giving you a look at what is going to happen when the PKG is run.

    Using Suspicious Package to open and inspect .pkg files on a Mac is not particularly complicated though it’s obviously most appropriate for advanced users who will have a general idea of what they’re looking at and what to make of it. If any of this sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to download and install the application, which includes a Quick Look plugin:
    Get Suspicious Package free from the developer (for macOS and Mac OS X) Once Suspicious Package is installed, you can give it a try by dragging any PKG installer file into the application, or selecting a package installer in the Finder and hitting Command+Spacebar to activate Quick Look on the package in question. 

    Within Suspicious Package, you’ll see three primary tabs which detail all sorts of information about the package file. The first is “Package Info” which shows an overview including how many items will be installed, the size of the installation, the developer ID and if it is signed (if applicable) and valid or expired, how many installation scripts are run, and where and when it was downloaded:

    The “All Files” view shows you exactly what files are going to arrive from the package file and where they are going to go, including permissions for specific files:

    The final tab shows the scripts that will be run, “post install” which are often cleanup bash scripts that adjust permissions or perform a cleanup duty:

    While all of this is informative to any and all users, it’s really intended for advanced users who encounter package files from dubious sources or that are otherwise questionable. If you’re downloading all of your apps, updates, and packages from Apple.com or an equally trustworthy location, you may find Suspicious Package to be interesting but not particularly noteworthy since the source is trusted, though even packages from Apple can encounter weirdness like having a pkg get stuck on Verifying which can sometimes be troubleshooted through a utility like this. Where Suspicious Package really gets useful is in more advanced situations where higher Mac security is necessary and where users want to be sure a file is trusted and an installer isn’t doing anything sketchy when it’s run. 
    Longtime Mac users may recall that a package inspection feature used to exist in Mac OS X some time ago via the right-click menu, but that feature has since been removed. More advanced Mac users can still extract pkg files with pkgutil without actually installing them but it requires the use of the command line, and the Show Files method to see what files are going to be installed and where to is not always available or detailed enough. 
    Suspicious Package requires a relatively modern version of macOS or Mac OS X to use. Mac users with older system software can try  Pacifist which performs a similar ability to dig around in PKG files if interested.
    from: http://osxdaily.com/2016/08/31/open-kg-files-mac-what-installs-where-suspicious-package/

    Teaser Paragraph:
    If you’ve ever encountered a lengthy document or webpage that you want the gist of, but don’t have the time to read or scan through, you can use the excellent Summarize Service in Mac OS X to summarize the text for you.
    Summarize is adjustable as well, meaning you can choose how dense or light you want the summary to be. You can pick paragraphs or sentences, and adjust the length of the summary, which can vary from a simple outline condensed from the document, to a nearly cliff-notes like version of the text in question, or anything in between.

    Summarize must be enabled on most Macs before it will be usable, and then its just a matter of learning how to use the summarize feature to provide a condensed overview of the document, web page, or any selected text. We’ll show you how to enable this helpful feature and how to use it.
    Enabling Summarize in Mac OS
    Before anything else, you must enable the Summarize service. This exists in nearly all even vaguely modern versions of macOS and Mac OS X:

    Open the “System Preferences” from  Apple menu and go to “Keyboard” Choose the “Shortcuts” tab and visit “Services” Scroll down until you find “Summarize” and enable the checkbox next to it Close System Preferencse Using Summarize on the Mac to Review Text
    Now that Summarize is enabled, you can use it with any selected text, whether it’s a web page, a long word, text, or pages document, or just about anything else:

    Choose the text you wish to summarize, if you want to summarize an entire document or webpage, select all the text (Command + A for Select All works well for this purpose) Right-click on the selected text and go to the “Services” menu Choose “Summarize” to bring up the Summarize Service feature Adjust the ‘Summary Size’ dial as desired, as well as choosing Sentences or Paragraphs As you’ll see, the summary instantly changes as you adjust the settings. Once you are satisfied with the summary, you can copy it, or save it, or discard it.
    This is helpful for so many uses, whether you just want to get a quick outline of a document, get the general substance of something without reading it all, and so much more. For example, I had a colleague some years ago who would use Summarize with a word counter to shorten essays and long emails after they were written and they swore by the combination, not a bad idea!
    Like any other item in the contextual Services menu, it can be disabled or removed just by going back to the Services system preference area and unchecking the box. 
    Thanks to LifeHacker for pointing out this useful but long forgotten feature in Mac OS X.
        from: http://osxdaily.com/2016/08/24/how-use-summarize-text-mac/

    Teaser Paragraph:
    Some Mac users may wish to downgrade from MacOS Sierra Beta and revert back to OS X El Capitan, this is particularly common if you have found things to be less than stable or otherwise problematic and would like to return to a more stable operating system experience – a fairly common scenario for beta testers. There are a few different ways to remove MacOS Sierra and return to OS X El Capitan, the three primary methods are as follows:
    – If you followed our instructions to dual boot MacOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan than you can simply remove the macOS Sierra partition (you’ll want to manually copy any important files from the Sierra volume), which will make El Capitan the primary operating system again.
    – Performing a clean install of OS X El Capitan which involves erasing the Mac drive and starting over fresh and then restoring from a backup afterwards (more time consuming and hands-on, primarily for advanced users)
    – Reverting back to El Capitan by restoring from a backup made with Time Machine prior to installing macOS Sierra, which is what we’re going to focus on here. 
    Since this requires a Time Machine backup to restore EL Capitan and remove Mac OS Sierra, obviously this method will not work if you do not have a Time Machine backup made prior to installing Sierra.
    Downgrading MacOS Sierra to OS X El Capitan with Time Machine
    This will completely remove MacOS Sierra Beta from the computer and instead replace it with OS X El Capitan. If you have made any important changes or created new files while in Sierra, you’ll want to back those up separately, since Time Machine uses date based backups to recover the operating system and files.
    Attach the Time Machine drive to the Mac if you have not done so already Reboot the Mac and hold down the Command + R keys (or, if applicable you can boot from an OS X El Capitan boot disk with the Option key) At the “Utilities” screen, choose “Restore from Time Machine backup” Select the backup for OS X El Capitan (10.11.x) made prior to installing MacOS Sierra that you wish to revert back to, then click on “Continue” Choose the destination drive to restore, typically this is “Macintosh HD” unless you named your drive something else Let the Time Machine restore process complete which will remove macOS Sierra and restore the Mac back to OS X El Capitan When the Mac reboots, it will be running OS X El Capitan and appear just as it was for the matching date from the last El Capitan backup. MacOS Sierra will be removed completely.

    You can always upgrade to MacOS Sierra again at any time if desired, or you can stay on OS X El Capitan, whatever works for you and your Mac.

    Teaser Paragraph:
    Have you ever found yourself in a situation where Bluetooth needs to be enabled on a Mac, but you don’t have a mouse or keyboard handy? This can pose a conundrum; in order to re-enable Bluetooth, you must use a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard… That may sound a little silly, but it’s a situation which can arise if you use a Bluetooth keyboard or Bluetooth mouse, and if Bluetooth gets disabled somehow. Since most desktop Mac usage scenarios utilize Bluetooth hardware, it’s not as rare as it may sound, and it can be challenging to enable the Bluetooth service and thus regain access to input devices on the Mac.
    We’re going to show you how to tackle that situation in Mac OS, so that you can enable Bluetooth even if you can’t connect a Bluetooth mouse or Bluetooth keyboard to the computer to do so.
    Keep in mind this is not a general Bluetooth troubleshooting guide, it’s aimed specifically at users who find the Bluetooth service to be disabled and they are therefore unable to use a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse on their Mac. If you need general Bluetooth troubleshooting steps, start with replacing the batteries of the devices, reset the Bluetooth hardware on Mac, and some other tips for resolving Bluetooth Not Available errors.
    Also, remember that the latest Apple Magic Mouse 2 and Apple Wireless Keyboard 2 models both have a USB lightning port on them, which means they can be plugged in directly to the Mac to get around such a problem.
    How to Enable Bluetooth on Mac Without a Mouse in Mac OS X
    This demonstrates how to enable Bluetooth if you only can connect a keyboard to a Mac. This is common if your Mac uses a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad and somehow Bluetooth is disabled, where it can be extra challenging to get the service turned on again. Fortunately as long as you have a keyboard handy (USB or otherwise), plug it in and you can enable Bluetooth with just that keyboard by following these instructions:

    Connect a USB keyboard to the Mac (or use the built-in keyboard on a MacBook laptop) Hit Command+Spacebar to bring up Spotlight, then type in “Bluetooth File Exchange” and hit the Return key This launches the Bluetooth File Exchange app, which will immediately recognize that Bluetooth is turned off, simply hit the “Return” key again to choose the “Turn Bluetooth On” button Once Bluetooth is enabled, quit out of Bluetooth File Exchange app You can also navigate to and through the Bluetooth settings with just the keyboard, but that’s quite a bit more complex than simply searching for the app which triggers the service enabler directly. 
    How to Enable Bluetooth Without a Keyboard in Mac OS X
    Enabling Bluetooth when you don’t have a USB keyboard is easy since you can just use any USB Mouse or USB trackpad as usual to enable the service with the cursor:
    Pull down the Bluetooth menu item in Mac OS X and choose “Turn Bluetooth On”
    Simple, right?
    If the Bluetooth menu item is also disabled, simply go to the  Apple menu, choose System Preferences, Bluetooth, and turn the Bluetooth service on from there with the mouse. 
    Once Bluetooth has been enabled with the mouse, you can connect the Bluetooth keyboard as usual, along with any other devices.
    How to Enable Bluetooth Without a Keyboard or Mouse in Mac OS X
    This is a trickier situation, which is usually encountered if there is no USB keyboard or USB mouse available, and both the mouse and keyboard are Bluetooth instead. It’s usually iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro users who encounter this experience, in which case the following steps are necessary:
    First thing first, be sure the Bluetooth keyboard and Bluetooth mouse have sufficient battery power and are turned on Disconnect all physical devices from the Mac, including any peripherals and anything except the power cable Reboot the Mac (or boot the Mac if it was shut down) using the physical hardware button located on the machine (it’s usually on the back on modern Macs) This will trigger the Bluetooth setup wizard and detect the Bluetooth devices and enable the service automatically, assuming they are within range and sufficiently charged
    If for some reason the bluetooth setup wizard doesn’t trigger and the Mac boots up again with Bluetooth disabled, you’ll probably want to get your hands on either a USB mouse or USB keyboard and refer to the methods outlined above to enable Bluetooth with either just a mouse, or just a keyboard.