Micro Mac Tips

Micro Mac Tips – quick tips to help you get the best from macOS and iOS

50 of my best quick tips for Apple macOS and iOS

  1. How to add line breaks when posting on websites
  2. How to add line breaks in Excel on macOS
  3. How to move Mac files without dragging
  4. How to view more Wi-Fi info on macOS
  5. How to view more audio info on macOS
  6. How to jump between words on macOS
  7. How to jump to start or end of a line on macOS
  8. How to jump to start or end of a document on macOS
  9. How to insert an emoji on macOS
  10. How to make the mouse pointer more visible on macOS
  11. How to take a screenshot on a Mac
  12. How to take a screenshot on iPhone or iPad
  13. How to restart, sleep and shut down your Mac with the keyboard
  14. How to add a shortcut to the top of a Finder window
  15. How to quickly empty the trash on macOS
  16. How to check which typefaces are in use on a website on macOS
  17. How to copy filenames as text on macOS
  18. How to replace a folder icon with any other image on macOS
  19. How to maximise two windows on macOS
  20. How to stop your Mac going to sleep
  21. How to navigate Mac folders using the hidden window title menu
  22. How to cycle between windows in a macOS app
  23. How to force an application to quit on macOS
  24. How to switch between icon view and list view on macOS
  25. How to split multi-page PDFs into individual files on macOS
  26. How to change the sidebar icon size on macOS
  27. How to add hyperlinks in Word and Apple Mail on macOS
  28. How to duplicate a file or folder on macOS
  29. How to do fast completion of domain names on iOS
  30. How to temporarily turn off notifications on macOS
  31. How to Close All and Save All documents in Word 2011 on macOS
  32. How to check image dimensions on macOS
  33. How to adjust image size in Preview on macOS
  34. How to optimise your images on macOS
  35. How to view and set display options in the Finder on macOS
  36. How to minimise the Dock on macOS
  37. How to move the Dock to the side of the screen on macOS
  38. How to jump to any page in a Word document on macOS
  39. How to change the desktop background on macOS
  40. How to get system information on macOS
  41. How to minimise all windows on macOS
  42. How to switch between fullscreen views on macOS
  43. How to zoom text in the Notes app on macOS
  44. How to select text to the start or end of a line on macOS
  45. How to type the ellipsis character on macOS and iOS
  46. How to do split view browsing in mobile Safari on iPad
  47. How to close all tabs in mobile Safari on iOS
  48. How to re-open closed tabs in mobile Safari on iOS
  49. How to add a bookmark in mobile Safari on iOS
  50. How to request a desktop site in mobile Safari on iOS
  51. How to reduce display transparency on macOS

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1. How to add line breaks when posting on websites

On some sites, pressing Enter while writing in a text field will submit the text immediately instead of moving the cursor down to the next line. I can never be sure when this is going to happen, so I instead force a line break.

To add a line break, press Shift-Enter.

Line break

Press Shift-Enter in text boxes to add a line break

Bonus: this combo works on Windows, too.

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2. How to add line breaks in Excel on macOS

I often find myself writing text in spreadsheets. It’s annoying that pressing Enter moves to the next cell even when the cursor is inside the formula bar!

To add a line break in Excel, press Cmd-Alt-Enter.

Excel line break

Add a line break with Cmd-Alt-Enter

Bonus: on Windows, the combo for a line break in Excel is just Alt-Enter.

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3. How to move Mac files without dragging

Say you have a file in one folder on your Mac and you want to move it to another folder. If dragging with the mouse doesn’t appeal, here’s another way:

  1. Click the file once to highlight it
  2. Press Cmd-C
  3. Open the destination folder
  4. Press Cmd-Alt-V

If you don’t do step 4, the original file is left untouched – ideal should you change your mind during the process.

If you just want to copy the file to the destination folder rather than move it, press Cmd-V instead of Cmd-Alt-V during step 4.

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4. How to view more Wi-Fi info on macOS

Want to know more about your Wi-Fi connection?

Hold down the Alt key while clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the toolbar.

Wi-Fi menu

Press Alt to see more info about your Wi-Fi connection

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5. How to view more audio info on macOS

Want to know more about your sound inputs and outputs?

Hold down the Alt key while clicking the volume icon in the toolbar.

Sound menu

Press Alt to see more info about your audio inputs & outputs

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6. How to jump between words on macOS

I’m sure we all use the arrow keys to move the cursor around our text documents. But did you know that there’s a quick way to hop between words?

Press Alt-left arrow to move left by one word.

Press Alt-right arrow to move right by one word.

Jump left or right by one word

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7. How to jump to start or end of a line on macOS

Use this combination to jump to the beginning or the end of a line of text.

Press Cmd-left arrow to move to the start of the line.

Press Cmd-right arrow to move to the end of the line.

Jump to start or end of line

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8. How to jump to start or end of a document on macOS

Do you ever need ‘Home’ and ‘End’ keyboard equivalents when editing in Microsoft Word? Try these combinations to jump to the start or end of an entire document:

Press Fn-Cmd-left arrow to move to the start of the document (‘Home’).

Press Fn-Cmd-right arrow to move to the end of the document (‘End’).

Home and End keys

Bonus tip: when browsing a website, the key combination is simpler. Press Fn-left arrow or Fn-right arrow to jump to the top or bottom of the page respectively.

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9. How to insert an emoji on macOS

Don’t go hunting for emojis while typing: press Ctrl-Cmd-Space to bring up the Emoji section of the Characters panel.

Double-click the emoji you want and it will be inserted wherever the cursor is. Simple.

Emojis section of Characters panel

Bonus tip: there’s also an emoji keyboard shortcut for newer versions of Windows: Windows-;

Emoji keyboard shortcuts for macOS and Windows

Emoji keyboard shortcuts for macOS and Windows

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10. How to make the mouse pointer more visible on macOS

If you use macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer, shake your mouse to temporarily make the pointer grow to several times its normal size.

This tip is useful if you have a large screen and sometimes can’t see the pointer after you wake the machine from sleep.

Enlarge mouse pointer

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11. How to take a screenshot on a Mac

Create a snapshot image of your screen by pressing Cmd-Shift-3. The image file will automatically be saved on your desktop with the date and time.

To capture a smaller part of the screen, press Cmd-Shift-4 and then click the mouse and drag to indicate the portion of the screen you’d like to capture.

Screenshot example

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12. How to take a screenshot on iPhone or iPad

Create a snapshot of your iPhone or iPad screen by pressing Home and Sleep/Wake buttons at the same time.

iPhone Home/Sleep

All images you capture like this are stored in the Photos app.

There’s no Home button on iPhone X, so you need a different combination for that:

iPhone X screenshot

With no Home button on iPhone X, you need to use the side and volume up buttons together to take a screenshot

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13. How to restart, sleep and shut down your Mac with the keyboard

You can set your Mac to restart, sleep or shut down by using the keyboard.

First, press Ctrl-Eject to bring up the panel shown below. Then press one of the following keys:

  • R to restart
  • S to sleep
  • Esc to cancel and close the panel
  • Enter to shut down

Ctrl-Power

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14. How to add a shortcut to the top of a Finder window

The sidebar of each Finder window is full of links to commonly used resources. But did you know you can also add files and folders to the toolbar at the top of each Finder window?

Hold down Cmd while dragging a file or folder to the toolbar.

Cmd-Alt drag

See Secret Mac toolbar shortcut for more information on using this feature.

Update: Thanks to Marc Lucas for pointing out that you no longer have to hold down Cmd-Alt for this to work – Cmd alone is now enough.

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15. How to quickly empty the trash on macOS

I never like leaving my trash can full for very long, so I press Cmd-Shift-Delete to empty it. If you see a warning asking you to confirm that you really want to empty the trash, press Enter.

Empty Trash

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16. How to check which typefaces are in use on a website on macOS

If you browse the web with Google Chrome, it’s easy to check which typefaces are in use on any website you visit. Just check out my super-quick video:

Here are the steps to see the fonts in use on any web page:

  1. Right-click anywhere on a web page and then click Inspect (or just press Cmd-Alt-I).

Right-click | Inspect

  1. Click Computed.

Computed tab

  1. Look at the Rendered Fonts section.

Rendered Fonts

Other browsers also show information about the typefaces the site will try to use, but only Chrome currently confirms the typefaces the site is actually using.

Bonus: this tip works on the Windows version of Chrome, too.

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17. How to copy filenames as text on macOS

Imagine you want to grab a list of all the files in a folder. You could type them all out, but that’s not much fun. Try this instead:

  1. Select a group of files in the Finder and press Cmd-C to copy them.
  2. Press Cmd-V to paste the list of filenames anywhere that accepts text input – in a text file, in an email, etc.

Copy and paste file names

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18. How to replace a folder icon with any other image on macOS

There are plenty of times when you might want to replace a default folder icon with something more interesting. Perhaps you have client logo you’d like to add to a project folder. My video shows you how to change a folder icon in under 30 seconds.

Here are the steps to replace a folder icon with an image:

  1. Double-click the image you want to use as a folder icon.
  2. Press Cmd-A to select the image.
  3. Press Cmd-C to copy the image.
  4. Click the folder you want to edit.
  5. Press Cmd-I to bring up the info panel.
  6. Click the folder icon at the top of the info panel.
  7. Press Cmd-V to paste the image.

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19. How to maximise two windows on macOS

In El Capitan (Mac OS 10.11), click and hold the green maximise button on a window and you’ll be able to enlarge it to take up half of a normal fullscreen view.

You can then click another window to get that to take up the other half.

This is great if you want to have two documents side by side but don’t want to fiddle with manually resizing each.

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20. How to stop your Mac going to sleep

If you know your Mac’s in the middle of doing something and you don’t want it to go to sleep automatically, the easiest fix is to install Caffeine.

It’s a free app that lets you force the display to stay awake whenever you want. I’ve lost count of the number of times this has been useful over the years.

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21. How to navigate Mac folders using the hidden window title menu

Ctrl-click the title of a window in the Finder and you’ll see all the folders that lead to that window. Click any folder in the list to jump to it quickly. If you’ve got 19 seconds to spare(!), this video will show you how to do it:

The same process works in lots of other apps, e.g. Acrobat, Preview and Word. So, if you have an open document in Word and want to locate the file in the Finder, just Ctrl-click the title and click the folder below the file name. Easy peasy.

Ctrl-clicking is the same as right-clicking

If your mouse supports it (and most do), performing a right-click is easier and quicker than pressing Ctrl and making a normal mouse click. Both actions have the same effect.

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22. How to cycle between windows in a macOS app

Say you have lots of open Word documents. You can switch between them by pressing Cmd-`. The same combination works in most apps, so this is a shortcut that’s really worth learning.

If keyboard shortcuts aren’t your thing, look for the Window menu in the toolbar at the top of the screen. Most apps will list all open windows within this menu, so you can click to select the window you want to see.

Cycle between windows

Press Cmd-` to cycle between windows

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23. How to force an application to quit on macOS

When you’ve finished using an app, you can usually close it down via the Quit option in the app’s menu. The keyboard shortcut is Cmd-Q.

But sometimes this method doesn’t work, usually because the app has frozen and is unresponsive. If the usual pointer arrow is replaced by the spinning, multicoloured ‘beach ball of death’ cursor, it could be a sign that the app is stuck.

Beach ball of death

Beach ball of death

The beach ball cursor is a common sight, but it shouldn’t hang around for too long. If it does, it’s a sign that something may have gone wrong.

To force an unresponsive app to quit, do the following:

  1. Press Alt-Cmd-Esc
  2. Click the app you wish to quit
  3. Click Force Quit
Force an application to quit

Force an application to quit

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24. How to switch between icon view and list view on macOS

I like to use list view for all my Finder windows, but there are times when I need to see an icon more clearly. This set of keyboard shortcuts lets me switch quickly between the views:

  • Cmd-1 – icon view
  • Cmd-2 – list view
  • Cmd-3 – column view
  • Cmd-4 – cover flow view

(I’m not a fan of column view or cover flow view, but perhaps one or both of them will suit you.)

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25. How to split multi-page PDFs into individual files on macOS

This tip comes courtesy of a reader:

Saving multi-page PDFs as individual files

I recently needed to split a file into pages, one file for each page, and found that I couldn’t do this in the free version of Acrobat Reader DC. Then after a bit of research I found that you can do this in Mac Preview by dragging individual pages from the sidebar onto the Desktop or into a Finder window. You can do this for single pages or for a range of pages (not necessarily contiguous).

Karen Cox

Saving a PDF as a separate file

Saving a PDF as a separate file

A great tip there, Karen – thanks for sharing!

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26. How to change the sidebar icon size on macOS

If you find that the sidebar icons in the Finder and in Apple Mail are not well sized, you can make them smaller or larger via System Preferences | General | Sidebar icon size.

Here’s the normal Mail sidebar compared with a larger version:

Apple Mail sidebar icons

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27. How to add hyperlinks in Word and Apple Mail on macOS

You can add hyperlinks to text in Microsoft Word and Apple Mail by selecting the text and pressing Cmd-K. Enter the web address, press OK and the text will become a clickable link. This makes emails in particular much easier to read.

Cmd-K in Apple Mail

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28. How to duplicate a file or folder on macOS

Most people know you can copy and paste text with Cmd-C and Cmd-V. That also works with Finder files and folders but there’s an even quicker way: click a file or folder to select it and then press Cmd-D. This duplicates the item, labelling it as a copy of the original.

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29. How to do fast completion of domain names on iOS

When you’re typing a web address on your iPhone or iPad, you can quickly complete the last part of the address (called the top-level domain name) by holding down the full stop key and then selecting the relevant option. This is much quicker than manually typing .co.uk, .com, etc.

iOS keyboard full stop key

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30. How to temporarily turn off notifications on macOS

When you’re busy working, the last thing you need is the distraction of onscreen notifications.

You can temporarily turn these off by holding down the Alt key while clicking the Notification Center icon in the top-right corner (looks like three horizontal lines).

Hold Alt and click the menu to mute notifications

Hold Alt and click the menu to mute notifications

The icon changes from black to grey when the notifications are turned off.

Should you forget to turn notifications back on, the system will automatically re-enable them the following day.

The alternative method is a bit longer:

  1. Click the Notification Center icon in the top-right corner
  2. Click the Notifications tab (it might already be selected)
  3. Scroll up to reveal the Do Not Disturb slider
  4. Set the slider to On

Do Not Disturb notifications feature

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31. How to Close All and Save All documents in Word 2011 on macOS

Hold down the Shift key before clicking the File menu in Word for Mac 2011 and you’ll see options to Close All and Save All documents.

Word 2011's File menu with and without Shift key held down

For some reason, Microsoft removed this useful feature from Word for Mac 2016. Great job, guys!

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32. How to check image dimensions on macOS

To find out the width and height of a photo or other image, click the file and press Cmd-I. The dimensions are shown in the More info section.

The example below shows this photo is 3003 pixels wide and 2649 pixels high.

Check an image's dimensions

The dimensions are relatively big here. Note that larger files take up more disk space on your computer.

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33. How to adjust image size in Preview on macOS

To change the dimensions of an image, double-click it to open the file in Preview. Then go to Tools | Adjust Size… to adjust the figures for width and height. Make a backup copy of the file first, as Preview will try to save the changes automatically.

Adjust image size in Preview

Leave the Scale proportionally box ticked to preserve the aspect ratio of the image.

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34. How to optimise your images on macOS

I’ve written a post about optimising images, which focuses on making file sizes smaller so that they would load more quickly when displayed on websites.

But you could do the same even if you never plan on sharing the images on the web. Why? Because doing so means the files will take up less space on your machine, giving you more room for other stuff.

Check out the 2-minute video in this post: Optimising web images

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35. How to view and set display options in the Finder on macOS

Press Cmd-J in any Finder window to view and set display options for the current folder.

View and edit display options in the Finder

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36. How to minimise the Dock on macOS

The Dock is the strip of icons usually found at the bottom of the screen. If you need a bit more space, you can hide the Dock when you’re not using it.

Press Cmd-Alt-D and the Dock will disappear. Move the pointer to the bottom of the screen and it will magically reappear and then disappear again when you move the pointer away. This is how I always have my Dock set up – I think it’s cleaner this way.

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37. How to move the Dock to the side of the screen on macOS

If you don’t want the Dock to appear at the bottom of the screen, right-click the line (near the far right of the Dock) that divides the application icons from the document icons, then go to Position on Screen and select an option.

Dock positioning

Cool people seem to push the Dock off to the left or right of the screen. Or perhaps they’re just fiddlers who won’t settle for Apple’s default settings. I try not to judge.

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38. How to jump to any page in a Word document on macOS

If you’re in Word and know the page you want to go to:

  1. Press Fn-F5
  2. Type the page number
  3. Press Enter

Jump to any page in Word for Mac

This feature is part of the Find and Replace dialog box, which stays open after the page jumping happens. If you’re likely to hop around a lot, you might want to leave this panel open.

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39. How to change the desktop background on macOS

The System Preferences lets you change the desktop background. A quicker way to get to the relevant screen is simply to right-click the desktop and click Change Desktop Background….

Change Desktop Background

You can then choose a background image or colour.

Change Desktop Background panel in System Preferences

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40. How to get system information on macOS

Find out more about your system by holding down the Alt key while clicking the Apple menu, then clicking System Information….

Apple | System Information menu

The window that opens next will have lots of useful info about your system.

System Information panel

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41. How to minimise all windows on macOS

Use the free Show Desktop app to minimise all windows and return to the Finder. Once installed, the app sits in the toolbar at the top of the screen. One click of the blue desktop icon and you can hide all windows. It might not sound like much, but this feature is so, so useful.

Show Desktop

Show Desktop has an exclude list, so you can set it never to minimise a particular app or group of apps.

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42. How to switch between fullscreen views on macOS

When an app is fullscreen (after pressing the green traffic light button in the top-left corner of the app’s window), you can switch to other ‘spaces’ by pressing Ctrl and the left or right arrow key.

Alternatively, press F3 to see a view of all spaces, and click the one you want at the top of the screen.

Fullscreen options

If all you see at the top of the screen is ‘Desktop 1’, that’s the only fullscreen space you have available. As an experiment, make your web browser go fullscreen by pressing the green maximise button, then retry this tip.

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43. How to zoom text in the Notes app on macOS

It’s common to use Cmd and + to zoom the text on a page, but this shortcut doesn’t work in the Notes app.

Notes View menu

Press Cmd and Shift and the full stop key together to zoom your text.

Bonus tip

To open one note on its own, double-click it in the left-hand panel. It will appear in a separate window, allowing you to ignore or close the main Notes panel. You can always re-open the Notes panel by going to Window | Notes or by pressing Cmd-0 (zero).

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44. How to select text to the start or end of a line on macOS

If you want to highlight text from wherever the text cursor is to the start or end of the line, most people use the old click-and-drag method. That’s too fiddly and slow for me. Try this:

To select text to the start of the line, press Cmd and Shift and the left arrow key.

To select text to the end of the line, press Cmd and Shift and the right arrow key.

I find this tip most useful when I click into the address bar of a web browser and want to delete a lot of characters from the end of a URL.

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45. How to type the ellipsis character on macOS and iOS

A lot of people type three full stops rather than using the proper ellipsis (…) character. Here’s how to insert the right character:

In iOS: tap and hold the full stop key, then tap

In macOS: press the Alt and ; keys together

iOS full stop

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46. How to do split view browsing in mobile Safari on iPad

Tap and hold a link, then tap Open in Split View to divide the Safari screen into two halves.

Open in Split View

The result looks like this:

iPad Split View

Once in Split View, tap and hold another link to see the Open on Other Side option.

iOS Open on Other Side

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47. How to close all tabs in mobile Safari on iOS

Tap and hold the tab icon, then tap Close X Tabs to close all open tabs. There’s also an option to open a new tab.

iOS Close Tabs

If you’re in Split View (see tip 1), tapping and holding the tab button gives you an option to merge all tabs.

iOS Merge All Tabs

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48. How to re-open closed tabs in mobile Safari on iOS

Tap and hold the plus icon to see a list of recently closed tabs. Tap a tab to re-open it.

iOS Recently Closed Tabs

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49. How to add a bookmark in mobile Safari on iOS

Tap and hold the page icon, then tap Add Bookmark to save the current page to your bookmarks.

iOS Add Bookmark

You can also use this menu to add pages to a Reading List – useful as a holding place for content you want to read later but that you might not want to bookmark in the long term.

Tapping the page icon lets you choose to switch between Bookmarks, Reading List and Shared Links (which I never bother with).

Bookmarks and Reading List

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50. How to request a desktop site in mobile Safari on iOS

Tap and hold the refresh icon, then tap Request Desktop Site to see the standard desktop version of the site. This is useful if you know that some features of the website are available only on larger screens. (Be prepared for a bit of pinching and zooming to find the feature you’re after.)

iOS Request Desktop Site

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51. How to reduce display transparency on macOS

To make macOS menu items more visible, try this:

  1. Go to Apple | System Preferences…
  2. Click Accessibility
  3. In the Display section, tick Reduce transparency

The menu bar at the top of the screen and the Dock at the bottom of the screen should both take on a more solid look.

Here’s an example of the difference in the Apple menu when transparency is reduced. Which do you prefer?

Transparency on and off

Transparency default (left), transparency reduced (right)

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John Espirian – the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter

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