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There may be cases in which you need to boot to a secondary hard drive on your Mac, either to recover a drive, install a new OS or restore some software. Either way, the easiest way to do this on Apple computers is to hold down the “Option” key while booting up your system; however, there may be some constraints.

Selecting a Startup Disk on Macs That Use a Bluetooth Keyboard

On portable Macs, you can start up or reboot your Mac, and simply hold the “Option” key once the screen goes black so that when it reboots it will show you the boot menu. However, this process is a little more specific on Macs that use a Bluetooth keyboard.

If you hold down the key before the Bluetooth keyboard and your Mac boots, your system will prevent it from recognizing the key as pressed. Bluetooth keyboards only start up once the boot chimes sound. To ensure that your Mac goes to the boot menu, only press and hold the “Option” key immediately after hearing your Mac boot sound, not before.

When you’ve opened the boot menu properly, a gray screen will display that will show the available boot volumes, similar to the one above.

If your system is running OS X 10.7 Lion or later, you’ll see the default Macintosh HD partition alongside a Recovery HD volume. However, for systems running 10.6 or earlier, you’ll only see the main boot volume. If you want to boot using a different drive, you can simply attach an external hard drive, flash drive, or an optical disk that contains valid operating systems and when recognized they should appear alongside the current boot options.

Booting from Optical Drives

Additionally, if your Mac shipped with an optical drive, you can simply boot to a disk in the drive by holding down the “C” key at startup. This “C” key method works both for Macs with CD drives as well as for Macs with DVD drives included. And if you want to use an external USB DVD drive to insert a boot DVD and run it, simply connect it via USB, and the drive should appear in the standard boot menu for access.

Directly Accessing OS X’s Recovery Disk

If your system runs OS X 10.7 or later, you can also boot directly to the recovery drive by holding “Command + R” on startup. Also, most systems shipped after 2010 support Internet Recovery. This can be invoked by holding “Option + Command + R”. The Internet Recovery method will require an Internet connection through which it will download a 650MB recovery image file from Apple.

Note: You should know that selecting an alternative boot disk will only be set for the current boot session. If you want to permanently select a different startup disk in OS X, use the Startup Disk settings that are available in System Preferences.

Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier’s resident Mac tutorial writer. He’s currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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How To Disable The Dashboard In Mac Os X

The Dashboard in Mac OS X was first introduced in version 10.4, and can be used to run many useful widgets (ie. calendar, package tracker, weather). Even though it can come in handy for checking quick stats and info, it often goes unused by Mac users.

Since there really isn’t a point in having it running if you’re not going to use it, here’s how you can disable the Dashboard in Mac OS X.

Open Terminal and enter the following commands:


write mcx-disabled





Finder will restart automatically and there will be no more dashboard.

If you ever want to re-enable the Dashboard, enter these commands in Terminal:


write mcx-disabled





Again, Finder will restart and the Dashboard will be back as it if never left.

via Addictive Tips

Charnita Fance

Charnita has been a Freelance Writer & Professional Blogger since 2008. As an early adopter she loves trying out new apps and services. As a Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS user, she has a great love for bleeding edge technology. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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How To View And Access The “Library” Folder In Os X

On your Mac there is a Library folder present inside your Home Folder. For those who are a bit familiar with code, this Library folder is written as ~/Library, which stands for a folder named as Library in the root level of your account’s home folder. This folder actually contains all your personal settings, some application files and also some of your data.

As with all program files of the type, Apple meant for the Library folder to be left alone, but if you’ve been using your Mac for quite a while now, and have needed to delete an application preference file or have grabbed a log to send to a developer, you may have already accessed this folder.

Up to OS X 10.7 Lion, accessing the Library folder was quite simple; all you needed to do is navigate to your Home folder, and from there you could access the Library folder. But from OS X 10.8 onwards, Apple has hidden the Library folder, meaning it won’t show up in your Home folder anymore.

While Apple is somewhat right in its motives to hide the ~/Library folder, a normal user can have plenty of reasons to access the folder, and with Apple’s work of making the folder “invisible,” many can get confused regarding this. Luckily, Apple has only hidden the folder, and we’ll be telling you how to make the folder visible again.

Making the ~/Library Folder Visible in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

In OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion you can access the aforementioned folder using Finder using the following steps.

1. Open up a new Finder Window, and from the Go menu, select Go to Folder (also accessible by pressing “Command + Shift + G”).

2. In the window that opens, simply type in “~/Library,” without the inverted commas of course, and press Enter.

The folder will automatically open up in front of you.

You can also use Terminal to access the folder.

2. On Terminal, type open ~/Library and press Enter which will open up the folder in Finder.

Making the Folder Visible in OS X 10.9 Mavericks and Later

If you’re using OS X 10.9 Mavericks or OS X 10.10 Yosemite, you can use both methods detailed above in addition to another easy one:

In the second to last section, the last option will be “Show Library Folder.” Make sure this box is checked. Once it is, you’ll see the Library folder immediately.

In OS X Mavericks/Yosemite or later, you can use this setting at any time to make the folder visible. You will need to use it after some interval, as usual updates should make the folder invisible again.

Again, remember that before you start editing the contents of this folder, you need to make sure you know what you’re doing! Deleting or moving the wrong file(s) inside this folder could cause an application to misbehave, to lose its settings, or even to lose data.

Did the methods detailed above work for you? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier’s resident Mac tutorial writer. He’s currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox

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By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy. We will not share your data and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How To Change The Mail Font Size In Mac Os X

The default font size in the Mail app for Mac OS X is size 12 for emails and messages that are lacking styling, which tends to be most communications that are sent by email.

If you find the font size in Mail for Mac to be too small, or even too big, you’ll be pleased to know that changing the text size of email messages is quite simple. Not only can you change the font size for the email content itself, but also for other components of an email message, including the sender, recipients, subject line, and even the message list.

While we’re going to focus on changing the actual font size, it should be noted that users can also easily change the font family or face as well. From a readability standpoint, it’s the font size that most users may find improves their Mail app experience.

How to Adjust the Font Size of Mail App in Mac OS X

This can be used to adjust the font sizes in Mail app either down or up, and the process is the same regardless of which version of Mac OS is installed on the Mac.

Open Mail app if you haven’t done so already

Optional but recommended: select / open an email message to see a live preview of the changed mail font size for

Pull down the “Mail” menu and select “Preferences”

Choose the “Fonts & Colors” tab and adjust the following:

Close out of Mail Preferences when satisfied with the change

A change in font size can make a considerable difference in readability in either direction, this is particularly true if a users eyesight isn’t perfect or even if you’re just trying to avoid eyestrain and spend a lot of time sending and receiving emails.

For example, here’s an email message in Mail app for MacOS and Mac OS X with the default font size:

And here’s the same email message in the Mac Mail app with a font size increased to size 18:

While that may look too large for some users, it may be perfect for others, it really depends on user preference, and the screen size of the display in use. This is specific to the actual Mail app in Mac OS X, meaning if your default email client is set to something else, or even to webmail, you’d need to adjust those settings separately. For web mail users like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, simply increasing the browsers text size with a zoom keystroke is typically sufficient.

This obviously covers the Mac side of things, and remember that iPad and iPhone users can also change the mail text size on iOS to accommodate their preferences.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Increasing & Decreasing Font Size in Mail for Mac

It’s worth mentioning that you can also change the font size of emails you are actively composing by using the ‘Format’ menu in Mail app too, and there are two handy keyboard shortcuts for increasing and decreasing Mail font size using the Formats menu:

Command + to increase font size

Command – to decrease font size

You can also access those formatting options from the ‘Format’ menu within Mail app. These keystrokes are found in many other places in Mac OS for increasing and decreasing font size, including Safari, so they may already be familiar to you.


Create A Contact Sheet Of Thumbnails With Automator In Mac Os X

Contact Sheets, often called Proof Sheets, are essentially columns and rows of image thumbnails, making a bunch of photos very easy to quickly review. Though they’re commonly used by photographers, they have a wide range of uses outside of the pro-photography world, from artists to designers to UI/UX engineers. Rather than creating a contact sheet by hand the hard way in Photoshop or Pixelmator, we’ll show you to instantly generate one that is fully customized, all you’ll need to do is select a group of pictures in the Mac file system and let the excellent OS X app Automator do the hard work. Everything used here is free and bundled into Mac OS X, there’s no need to buy anything else or download any other apps.

The end result will be able to contact sheet PDF file that is a specified paper size with a chosen number of thumbnail columns, saved to where ever you want, and it will look something like this:

The resulting file is smart enough to not overwrite itself too, and it will automatically append the date and time to the file name like “My Contact Sheet on 04-06 at 2.42.36 PM.pdf” so that you can’t overwrite one proof sheet with another if several have been created. Enough talk, let’s get started!

Create the Contact Sheet Generator Service

This will create a service that generates contact sheets instantly for you:

Launch Automator, found in /Applications/, and from the File menu choose “New”

Choose “Service” from the new menu

At the top, look for “Service receives selected:” and choose ‘image files’

Set the Contact Sheet customizations under “New PDF Contact Sheet”, including where to default to saving the file to (~/Desktop is standard), the Paper size, and how many columns will be shown

When satisfied with the customizations, go to File then “Save” and give the automator service a name like “Make Contact Sheet”

Quit out of Automator if you’re satisfied, or leave it open if you want to try out the results and then make adjustments based on what you find.

The hard part is now over, and that wasn’t so tough was it? Now let’s go ahead and make a new contact sheet almost instantly from the OS X Finder.

Make a Contact Sheet by Generating from Selected Images

Now that the Automator Service has been created, making a contact sheet is just a matter of selecting images and letting the generator do the work for you:

Locate and select any number of images in the OS X Finder

Wait a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on if you chose a handful of images or hundreds for the PDF file to generate

Go to the ~/Desktop (or where ever else the save location was chosen) to find the generated PDF

The file generation is usually extremely fast, though how long it takes is going to partially depend on how fast your Mac is, and of course how many pictures you chose for the sheet. If you used a folder of 500 high resolution images, it will take a couple minutes usually, versus generating the sheet from a collection of 50 lower resolution pictures, which takes only a few seconds. For this reason, it can be a good idea to scale down images before creating a contact sheet from particularly humungous files, but if you find yourself having to perform a ton of image resizing you can also create a simple ‘Batch Resize’ Service with Automator, or just do a manual bulk resizing process on a group of pictures using Preview app, which also comes with every version of Mac OS X.

Open the file in Preview to see how the generated sheet looks, it will have followed the guidelines chosen during your initial setup so if you’re not happy with it make some changes to the Service and just save it again, then generate a new sheet PDF.

Generally speaking, numbers that are consistent multiples of the columns chosen during the creation of the service look best. Meaning, if you picked 6 columns, anything that is a multiple of 6 (12, 24, 36, 600, etc) will tend to look the best, so that each column and row is even. Also, images that are of the same width tend to look best as well, since it creates an even amount of white space between them.

Here’s another example of the output of this Automator Service, this one showing a 3 column layout with wide images:

And no the images contained in the example proofs are not my pictures, they are from the hidden wallpaper collection buried in OS X 10.8 and later.



Apple Os X Mountain Lion Review

Apple’s iCloud may already be a fixture on the iPhone and iPad, but Mountain Lion is in fact the first new version of OS X since the cloud storage and sync system went live. With over 150m iCloud users, and considerable overlap between those depending on both iOS and OS X, it’s no surprise that Apple has used iCloud to streamline the Mountain Lion setup process.

Pulling out from the right edge of the screen – triggered with a two-finger swipe from the right edge of the trackpad, or with the dedicated button in the status bar – Notifications Center shows all of the recent alerts organized by app and sorted by time or according to a manual order if you prefer.

Notifications aren’t the only elements borrowed from mobile. Reminders and Notes are each OS X counterparts to the iOS apps, as straightforward as their names suggest. The contents of both are automatically synchronized across devices using iCloud – so your up-to-date shopping list is to hand on your iPhone, even if you’ve been editing it on your Mac – and you can add extra highlights by setting alarms or location-based reminders, or by pinning a note to the desktop so that it stays open even if the Notes app itself is closed.

The idea of having your data anywhere and everywhere, without compromise, is carried over to Power Nap. Currently supported on the MacBook Air (mid-2011 or newer) and the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, Power Nap promises to automatically keep your Mac up to date even when it’s sleeping. Basically a sufficiently low-power mode that means the Mac notebooks can work silently and unobtrusively – no fans, no flashing lights – it means your computer is up to speed with the latest sync and messages when you open it up in the morning.

Mail pulls in new messages, Contacts and Calendar sync with any new updates or invitations, and Reminders and Notes pull in the latest versions from iCloud. Documents in the Cloud synchronizes changes to documents made on other devices, and Photo Stream grabs the latest shots from your iOS mobile devices. Arguably more useful in terms of reducing frustration while you’re actually using your Mac is support for Time Machine backups while it’s sleeping, Mac App Store updates automatically taking place, and Find My Mac working should you lose your laptop.

We’re used to turning on our phones and having the very latest data in front of us – and, conversely, turning on a computer and waiting for everything to synchronize, update and generally get ready for use while we distract ourselves with the first coffee of the day – so having that on the desktop really does feel, to use Apple’s phrase, “magical.”

Dictation is triggered by tapping the Fn button twice (or, alternatively, tapping and then tap-and-hold the button, releasing it when you’re finished) at which point a Siri-style microphone icon pops up indicating where the text will be entered. In theory you could dictate an entire document, complete with basic formatting: Dictation differentiates between regular text and instructions such as “all caps,” “new line,” “new paragraph,” “period,” “comma,” “exclamation point,” and “question mark.”

As with Nuance’s own DragonDictate, Apple’s Dictation learns from repeated use and promises increased accuracy over time, including handling more difficult accents. It also gets a head-start by looking through your contacts so as to aid in identifying names. Out of the box there’s English (US, UK and Australian), French, German and Japanese support, Dictation automatically selecting the correct option depending on your Mac’s system settings, with Apple promising Cantonese, Mandarin, Canadian English, Canadian French, Italian, Korean and Spanish in a subsequent update.

What Dictation isn’t is Siri as we know if on the iPhone 4S. Ask what the weather is in San Francisco or when your next appointment is, and you’ll see your question transcribed not answered. Apple hasn’t said when – or indeed if – Siri will be brought to OS X, but we’d like to see even basic functionality such as opening apps by voice introduced.

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