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Enhance your Mac's security

macOS has some of the best security among today's operating systems, designed to protect your data and your computer from all sorts of security threats ranging from a slightly too curious friend all the way to a malicious hacker.

Having a password is highly recommended so if you haven't set one up already, you can protect your account by going into System Preferences -> Users & Groups and selecting your account. However, the issue with good security is that it all depends on you being able to set a secure password and, crucially, remembering it. What happens of you one day realize that you've forgot the password? Or more likely, what if your parents one day call you up saying they've forgot the password for their account?

There are several ways to do reset the password. The best case is if you still have access to another administrator's account. In this case you can reset the user's password by going to System Preferences -> Users & Groups. Select the account that you want to recover, click the Change Password button and type in a new password. Easy!

If you don't have access to an administrator's account, boot to the recovery partition by holding Command-R at startup (or by holding Option and selecting "Recovery HD" from the boot menu), and then selecting Terminal from the Utilities menu. When this is done and a Terminal window is open, simply type:


and press Return to launch the Reset Password utility. The program will launch, but do not close the Terminal window or the program will be killed as well. With the Password Reset utility now open, you can select the volume and the account, and change the password for that account.

Granted, for an operating system that is supposed to have great security, it is surprisingly simple to gain access to the computer. What if you have some top-secret files that nobody should be able to access? Is there a way to block the methods that we just described?

Of course there is! First, enable FileVault in System Preferences -> Security & Privacy. FileVault encrypts all your personal data so that even if someone manages to steal your computer they will not be able to access your data without the correct password.

You can also set a Firmware password that will be required to boot the computer and enter any of the recovery modes. This password can be set by booting to the recovery partition and selecting the Firmware Password Utility option from the Utilities menu.

After you've set the Firmware password the computer will disable all the methods we've mentioned in this article as well as several other recovery modes (reinstall, repair and so on) so do make sure that you remember the password! In a worst-case scenario you can reset the Firmware password it by opening your computer and removing one of the RAM sticks. When you boot the computer the password will be reset, after which you can replace the missing stick.

Turn your web browser into a notepad

Posted in Safari Tips & Tricks

Ever needed a quick place to paste some text or make a quick note while you’re doing web work?

Using a neat trick, you can turn any web browser window or tab into an instant notepad that you can write in. There really isn't much to this trick, and it works in just about web browser on just about every platform. All you need to do is copy and paste this into the URL bar, then hit Return:

data:text/html, <html contenteditable>

After you hit return the page will clear and you'll be able to start typing away. Paste in to your hearts delight, anything that is text based will go in, but images won't. The little scratch pad is completely ephemeral however, so don't expect to save anything from it directly and if you quit and relaunch the browser, your text will no longer be there (though the editable notepad will remain, just blank).

That little snippet can be bookmarked or saved as HTML, making it instantly accessible.

Rename a file from an applications title bar

Did you know that OS X lets you rename a file directly from the application it's opened within? This feature is supported in most bundled Apple applications, including TextEdit, Pages, Preview, and others.

• Hover over the title bar
• Click the filename to pull down a menu, enter the new name and hit the return key to save the files name change

The file extension remains consistent with the files format, and unlike renaming things in the Finder you can't accidentally change the file extension too. The usual method of renaming files through Finder is still around, but if you're saving files directly to iCloud this is likely the preferential method.

Useful keyboard shortcuts

Two of our most commonly used Safari shortcuts are Command+Down Arrow and Command+Up Arrow. What do these shortcuts do?

The first scrolls you all the way to the bottom of the page you're on; the second puts you at the top. So if you need to move in either direction, you don't have to actually scroll at all. For those of you who use Chrome or Firefox, this works in those programs, too.

This little shortcut is good to remember, as you can use it in other places around the Mac. In document-creation apps (like Pages or TextEdit), those shortcuts mean "jump to the beginning or the end of the text". So you don't have to scroll in those programs, either.

Finally, if you add Shift to those shortcuts, it means "select all the text between where my cursor is and the beginning/end". So if you place your cursor in the middle of a document (or select some text on a webpage), Shift-Command–Up Arrow will select everything between your cursor and the beginning of the document; Shift-Command–Down Arrow will select things between there and the end. We use this as an alternative to click-and-drag to select text, and it's more controlled than Select All.

Merge all open windows into tabs in Safari with a keyboard shortcut

Posted in Safari Tips & Tricks

It's easy to find yourself in a sea of open web browser windows, but with Safari there's a great feature that lets you merge windows into tabs; just pull down the Window menu, select "Merge All Windows" and Safari will merge all the open windows into tabs, even if the open windows have their own tabs. To take that nice little feature a step further, you can turn it into a keyboard shortcut, that will let you instantly convert an ocean of windows into a single Safari window with just a keystroke.

• Open System Preferences from the Apple menu
• Click on "Keyboard" and select the "Shortcuts" tab
• Choose “App Shortcuts" from the list on the left, then click the [+] plus icon to add a new shortcut
• Select "Safari" from the Application pull down list, then type "Merge All Windows" as the menu title
• Finally, set the keyboard shortcut to use, we went with Control+Command+W as a variation of the common close windows command
• Click "Add" then go back to Safari, open a few windows, and hit your keyboard shortcut to verify it worked

If the keyboard shortcut didn’t work, you may have chosen a keystroke that conflicts with another function, or you may have not entered the menu title properly. Custom keyboard shortcuts are case sensitive, so be sure to use the proper capitalization and exact spelling.