This page contains a selection of miscellaneous tricks and tips for OS X (Mac and Macbook) computers.
This page gives miscellaneous guidance related to OS X, particularly for those who might be more familiar with Windows.
Some useful pages on Apple's website
- To download Apple updates, that are also available outside of the automatic Software Update, visit Downloads page.
- Mac startup key combinations for entering Recover mode, Safe mode, booting the Startup Manager and various other maintenance and repair tasks.
Not version specific
To find out how to diagnose and remediate slow OS X computers visit the wiki's Slow OS X computer page.
You can identify a MacBook Pro model from this support page. Older models won't support the latest versions of OS X. A useful compatibility chart allows you to see which versions a particular model supports. The EveryMac website is also a useful resource to identify Apple computers, their specs and what OS they support.
You can find installers for previous versions of MacOS (as app, dmg, iso, pkg) and firmware (ipsw) using this tool.
This OSXDefaults script shows many default preferences. You can copy and paste preference settings you want to set in a terminal window or create a script of your own based on this one. You may want to check the actual value of a preference on your system before changing it so you can reverse the change if you need to.
OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard is no longer maintained, but some security fixes have been published independently:
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
Yosemite's continuity features (Handoff, Instant Hotspot, call transfer and Airdrop) require Bluetooth 4.0 to be activated. Not all Macs have Bluetooth 4.0 hardware. Some of these Yosemite features can be activated in earlier Macs either by using an external dongle or by replacing the internal Airport card with compatible hardware. In some instances an activation patching software is also needed.
- The Continuity Activation Tool web page maintains a chart listing the compatibility of most Macs and what hardware and/or tool are needed to activate the continuity features.
- This Korean webpage shows step-by-step how to replace the Airport card in a MacBook Air 2000 model. Here's the Naver papago translation.
Note that as the MAC address of the Airport card is used to identify the computer to authorise it with iTunes, prior to changing the Airport card you should 'Deauthorize This Computer' in iTunes, and afterwards 'Authorize This Computer' (this is in the Store menu). Also you will need to recreate any Bluetooth pairings you had set up as the address of the Bluetooth interface will also have changed.
- If the phone call transfer between your iOS devices and your Mac does not work after replacing the Airport card, you will need to sign out of your Apple ID on all your iOS devices and the Mac. See the explanations at the bottom of iOS and OS X: Link your phone number and Apple ID for use with FaceTime and iMessage.
- For the Handoff feature to work, it needs to be enabled on all devices. See the explanations at How to Set Up and Use Handoff in Yosemite and iOS 8. If after doing that it still doesn't work, reboot both Mac and iOS devices.
When it all works, here's how to use these features: Connect your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac using Continuity.
Old unsupported scanners
It is possible in many cases to use old unsupported scanners. Here are some useful pages documenting how to achieve this:
- TWAIN Scanners in OS X Maverick (and Yosemite)
- fixed : use unsupported scanner in OSX 10.10 Yosemite
You can find information on the battery and power systems in the System Information (accessible in the top left Apple menu when pressing Alt) / Hardware / Power tab. However the donation-ware Coconut Battery utility provides much of this information in a much more user friendly manner and also allows you to compare your battery history with that of others.
The Mac Linux USB Loader is as its name suggests a USB boot loader for running Linux from a USB key on a Mac.
- Useful page on troubleshooting iPhone 4S network problems including consistent low signal, no signal and when the signal keeps on dropping randomly.