With the recent release of OSX Mavericks there are some pretty handy additions to the OS that were a long time coming. Many of these new features are somewhat subtle changes and as such are fairly hidden. To help bring these new features to light we’ve compiled a list of 13 new tricks in OSX Mavericks so you can get going with the FREE update to Apple’s flagship OS.
1. Enable Offline Dictation
Dictation on the Mac isn’t something a lot of people use, partially because it requires an Internet connection and also because it’s kind of laggy thanks to the needed Internet connection. In OSX Mavericks the ability to use this feature offline was added. Not only can you use dictation offline now, but now it’s quicker and gives instant feedback.
This addition makes it much easier to type using dictation on the Mac. To enable off-line dictation click on the Apple menu > System Preferences > Dictation & Speech. Check the use enhanced dictation box, which will trigger a download of the dictation files. Once the files I downloaded you can begin using off-line dictation.
2. Automatic App Updates
Keeping your apps updated is important to make sure you always have the safest and newest version. Mavericks took a cue from iOS and added automatic updates to help with this. While this can be pretty handy, if you’d rather review and install updates yourself you can un-check this box. To turn this on or off, click the Apple menu > System Preferences > App Store.
3. App Nap
One of the big features in Mavericks is the added battery life for Macbooks. This is primarily done with a new technology called App Nap. Basically App Nap suspends applications you have running in the background so they stop using battery life when not in use.
While this is great for saving battery life, it can mess with applications you want to run in the background. To turn App Nap off on a per-application basis, right-click on the app you want to turn App Nap off for and click Get Info.
In the window that appears, check the Prevent App Nap box to make sure the app is never suspended.
4. Notifications (lock screen)
Another step Apple is taking towards the merging of iOS and OSX is utilizing notifications on the lock screen. This means that if you lock your computer and a few emails or Twitter messages come rolling in, you can see them without the need to log in, letting you know what happened since you left.
This might encroach on your privacy a little too much for your comfort, so to turn off lock screen notifications in OSX Mavericks, simply open up System Preferences and head over to Notifications. Once there, un-check the box for Show notifications on lock screen for EACH item you want hidden from your lock screen.
5. Do Not Disturb
While you’re in the Notifications preferences, you can set up your Do Not Disturb options. Just like with iOS, OSX Mavericks now has a Do Not Disturb option for notifications. This means you can tell your computer to stop dinging after midnight or before you get up in the morning.
To set up Do Not Disturb, click on this heading in the sidebar of Notifications preferences. Next, check the boxes of the DND options you want and set the times to turn notifications off for. A great feature is the ability to turn off notifications when mirroring displays to a projector or TV. This means no more embarrassing emails or Twitter messages while in a work presentation!
6. iCloud Keychain
Mac users have grown accustomed to the OSX Keychain. This wonder of operating systems holds all of your login information so that it is outside of a browser or other password tool. This makes it so these passwords can be used across the entire system. In OSX Mavericks the Keychain has gone mobile.
This means everything you have saved in your OSX Keychain is now available in your iPhone or iPad. To make sure iCloud Keychain is up and running, open up System Preferences > iCloud. Here, check the Keychain box. You will go through a series of verification steps where Apple will send you a text message, but once complete, your Keychain is available everywhere. This includes saving credit card information as well.
Turn the feature on in your iPhone and iPad settings to complete the setup.
In the last upgrade to OSX you gained the ability to link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to your computer so getting contact information and sending updates was easier than ever. In Mavericks, you gain the use of LinkedIn as well.
To enable LinkedIn access, click on System Preferences > Internet Accounts. Here, click on LinkedIn to start the process.
Enter in your email and password for LinkedIn and you’re all set.
8. Facebook Events in Calendar
A huge gap in the Facebook integration until Mavericks has been the use of Facebook calendar events. While they showed on the iPhone and iPad, OSX was missing their integration. With Mavericks, however, Facebook calendars are finally present.
To turn them on, head over to System Preferences > Internet Accounts. If you don’t have a Facebook account linked to OSX yet, you can do that here, and if you already do, click on it and check the Calendars check box.
This will add a new calendar to the OSX Calendars app that will show all your Facebook events.
9. Safari Password Suggestions
Since all your passwords can be synced across devices with iCloud Keychain now, having memorable passwords is somewhat useless. It’s far better to make a nearly impossible password and just sync it for accounts you only access via the Mac or iPhone/iPad. This will automatically come up when you’re in a password field in Safari on the Mac. Just click the suggested password to use it.
10. Reply To messages using Notification Center
When messages appear in your Notification center in OSX Mavericks, you can actually reply from the pop-up banner now. Just click on the banner and hit Reply.
11. Finder tabs
If you’re like most Mac users, you’ve grown accustomed to keeping a few Finder windows open so you can see specific folders and file lists easily without navigating back and forth.
In Mavericks, you can combine all those Finder windows into one single tabbed interface. To do this, open up a Finder window and hit the CMD+T buttons to open a new tab. Now you can see more at once without cluttering up your workspace.
12. What App Is Draining My Battery?
Did you ever wonder what apps you should close and what can stay open when you’re trying to save battery life? Instead of guessing you can actually see what the power hogs are in Mavericks. Just click the Battery icon in your tool bar to see the biggest power hog.
13. Tags For Files
If you’re one of those people that thrive on organization then the standard file system on a computer probably drives you crazy. What if a file should go into two different folders? Which does it end up in? The answer for this is usually to put a duplicate file into each folder so it’s easy to find later. With Tags, however, you don’t need a folder at all.
Simply apply tags to your files and folders so you can find them multiple ways.
Let’s say you are writing an article and you bought a few stock images. Normally you’d place the images in a Stock Images folder to use later as well as the folder for the article you’re writing. With Tags, you can still do the article folder, but now just add a “Stock Images” tag to the files and leave them in the article folder.
You can use the preset colored tags, or create your own specific ones. To make a new tag, select the file you want to tag and click the Tag button in the toolbar of the Finder window.
Type in the new tag and hit enter.
There are over 100 new features in OSX Mavericks, but these seem to be the most useful and easiest to pick up quickly. Once you apply the free upgrade to OSX, poke around and see what else you find. Have a favorite feature not listed here? Drop it in the comments below to let everyone else know about it.