Apple announced OS X Mavericks last month at its WWDC keynote, and a preview of the upcoming Mac software has been in the hands of developers for just over one month now. Among the features introduced include iBooks and Maps for Mac, Finder tabs, tags, new multiple display enhancements and more.
As you would expect, there are also a number of lesser-known features bundled throughout OS X Mavericks. Ahead, we have rounded up a list of ten tips, tricks and hidden features found in the new software version. If you make any “easter egg” discoveries of your own, share them in the comments section.
How to Open Finder Tabs
Apple pushed the new tabbed view in Finder as one of the key new power user features of OS X Mavericks, and with good reason. No longer is it necessary to have multiple Finder windows cluttering your desktop when you’re trying to use the filesystem manager. Finder doesn’t display the tabbed view by default, however, so you’ll have to navigate to File > New Tab or use the keyboard shortcut Command + T to pull up the tabbed bar.
Do Not Disturb in Notification Center
Notification Center has been part of OS X for a few years now, as part of Apple’s efforts to bridge the gap between its mobile and desktop platforms. But notifications can get annoying once in a while, and sometimes you just want them out of your face. No problem. Just open Notification Center, scroll up and toggle on Do Not Disturb, and notifications will be hidden until the following day.
Send iMessages in Notification Center
Notification Center now has a Messages button that allows you to quickly compose messages and send them to anyone in your contacts list. This is a handy new feature that allows a user to quick reply to others and continue focusing on more important tasks at hand.
How to Disable Dashboard
I’m surprised that Dashboard is still a feature in OS X Mavericks, but at least it has a new background. For those that want to disable this screen, open Terminal and type the following commands:
- defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean true
- killall Dock
If you ever have a change of heart and want to regain access to Dashboard, simply change the value to “false” and execute both commands again.
How to Disable Auto App Updates
OS X Mavericks has the flexibility of automatically checking for and installing app updates in the background, just like iOS 7 does. But if you would rather maintain control of which updates you install and when, navigate to System Preferences > App Store and uncheck “automatically check for updates.”
How to Activate iCloud Keychain
iCloud Keychain stores all of your passwords and keeps them in sync across your authorized devices, making it an instant competitor to existing services such as 1Password or FastPass. iCloud Keychain, which can store your usernames, passwords, credit card information and more, can be activated by turning the toggle on in System Preferences > iCloud > Keychain.
Keep Track of Apps That Are Power Hogs
MacBook users out there that want the best battery life possible can now keep track of apps that are consuming lots of power.
Apps that are using significant power are now listed in the drop-down menu after clicking on the battery icon in the top menu bar. If you are trying to achieve that elusive goal of all-day battery life, you’ll surely find value in this simple feature.
One of the advanced technologies built into OS X Mavericks is App Nap, a new feature that slows down an app that is completely hidden behind other windows and not actively working. This is another feature that helps to conserve battery life and keeps your Mac running efficiently.
Offline Siri Dictation
If you would rather not have your voice or contact list sent through Apple servers and then converted into text, OS X Mavericks now supports offline Siri Dictation. To enable this feature, you must download Enhanced Dictation (requires 785 MB of disk space) and check the box for Use Enhanced Dictation in System Preferences > Dictation & Speech.
How to Get iOS 7 Icons
Our very own Stephen Hall most recently detailed a way to get iOS 7-inspired icons on OS X Mavericks with this icon pack.