5 macOS tips you should have known earlier

On the Apple Mac, iMac and MacBook, you can adapt the macOS operating system in various ways and use shortcuts more quickly. Here on the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find numerous guides and guides to help you use different macOS versions. However, some tips and tricks are not obvious at first glance, nor are they always obvious at second glance. That's why we've picked out five macOS tips here that should have been known and presented much earlier. It's about the path selection for new ones Finderwindows, an organized dock, app icons, signatures in PDF files, and a way to launch apps.

Here are five Mac tricks for current macOS versions that will help you in the Finder, in the Dock, when using the app and when signing PDF files.

Here are five Mac tricks for current macOS versions that will help you in the Finder, in the Dock, when using the app and when signing PDF files.

Set which path opens in the new Finder window

If you open a new Finder window via the Dock, the menu bar or with the Finder / Desktop selected via cmd+N, then different contents can be displayed in it. The standard should actually be that the Mac is displayed with its drives and networks. However, it may also be that the files last used or other locations, drives or folders are displayed. If you have a folder that you use again and again and want to set as a Finder "home page", so to speak, then proceed as follows:

  1. Opens the Finder or click on the Desk
  2. Click in the menu bar Finder
  3. Choose from the drop down menu Settings ... from
  4. Opens the "General" tab in the Finder preferences
  5. Select the desired path under "Show new Finder windows:".
In the Finder settings you can specify which folder path should be opened in a new window - for example via cmd+N.

In the Finder settings you can specify which folder path should be opened in a new window - for example via cmd+N.

Use spaces in the dock to separate groups of icons

In the macOS Dock you can place any app, Finder and Launchpad to open them with just one click. However, this can quickly become confusing if you need numerous different programs on the Mac. In order to create some order and thus a better overview, spaces can be easily added. Similar to a space between two words, the empty space in the Dock can separate individual apps. 

To add empty tiles to the dock, proceed as follows:

  1. Open that Port and copy the following command into it:
defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="spacer-tile";}'; killall Dock
  1. Hit Enter to confirm the command
  2. Then drag the dock space anywhere

After confirming the command, macOS may go through some graphic tweaks, the image flickers and/or windows move. This is normal and nothing to worry about. You can drag the empty icon like an app shortcut in the dock and remove it with a right click. If you need more of these, repeat the instructions above.

The spaces added via Terminal behave like app icons in the Dock - they occupy the same space and can be moved. However, they do not start a program, they only serve to separate app links.

The spaces added via Terminal behave like app icons in the Dock - they occupy the same space and can be moved. However, they do not start a program, they only serve to separate app links.

Use app icons as graphics: An even easier way

Since I sometimes need the icons of programs for featured images, I have adapted a workflow for extracting the corresponding graphic from the programs folder. To do this, I open the Applications folder, right-click an app, display the package contents, and then look in the Contents folder for the Resources folder that contains the .icns file. Here's the whole thing again as a comprehensive guide.

As I have now found out, however, there is a way that is easier and thus saves time. In addition, you get the highest-resolution version of the symbol from the icns container, which contains not just one graphic, but several in different sizes. So instead of going through the steps in the paragraph above, just do the following:

  1. Open the Applications folder on the Mac hard drive
  2. Right-click a program
  3. Click on "Information" in the context menu
  4. In the information window, click on the app icon in the top left so that it is selected
  5. Copy with cmd+C and paste with cmd+V (e.g. in Photoshop or Affinity Photo)
If I had known earlier: The app icon can be easily copied from the information window, so you don't have to search in the program packages at all.

If I had known earlier: The app icon can be easily copied from the information window, so you don't have to search in the program packages at all.

Sign a PDF without a printer or scanner

Online forms, documents and contracts sent by e-mail, digitally created documents and other things can be signed directly on the Apple Mac under macOS. You don't have to print out the documents, sign them and then scan them in again. No, it's much easier. If you have them as PDF files, simply open them with the Preview app. Then you do the following:

  1. Show the toolbar via the "Pen in a circle" icon
  2. Click on the signature icon in the drop-down toolbar
  3. Now add a signature via trackpad, camera or iPhone

You can enter the signature that you want to insert into the corresponding field in the document, form or contract, i.e. on the trackpad (external or built into the MacBook) with your finger, sign on a piece of paper and scan this signature with the webcam or on sign the display of the paired iPhone (see screenshot). 

If you open a PDF file in the Preview app, you can sign it in three ways: with a trackpad, webcam or iPhone.

If you open a PDF file in the Preview app, you can sign it in three ways: with a trackpad, webcam or iPhone.

Launch an app without a Finder, Dock, or Launchpad

This trick is probably not new to some of you. It may have been one of the most frequently used shortcuts on the Apple Mac for a long time. But some people may not yet know this way of opening application software under macOS. 

We're talking about Spotlight. The search function, which you can call up via the magnifying glass in the menu bar and via cmd+space, can not only search the web, calculate, find files, convert units and so on. If you enter an app name, you can also start the corresponding software (if it is installed) with Enter.

Open an app without a Dock, Launchpad or Finder - this can be done using the Spotlight search, which you can call up using cmd+spacebar, among other things.

Open an app without a Dock, Launchpad or Finder - this can be done using the Spotlight search, which you can call up using cmd+spacebar, among other things.

Which macOS trick surprised you recently?

Do you know any other tips and tricks for better or faster use of macOS and the individual functions of Apple's Mac operating system? If you have an addition to this post, please leave a comment with instructions :)

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