If you’re like us, your iPhone has replaced that old digital alarm clock by your bedside. But one way that the iPhone doesn’t match up is the ease of thwacking a big Off button to stop the annoying wake-up noise. Happily, you don’t have to open your eyes and find the Stop button to silence the alarm—instead, just reach out and press the Home button.
You know all those status icons on the right side of your Mac’s menu bar? Many of them are useful, but if your menu bar is cluttered with icons you don’t need, you can make your Mac easier to use by removing the extras. Just hold down the Command key and drag an offending icon off the menu bar; you’ll see an X below the dragged icon to indicate that it will disappear when you let up on the mouse button. If you later decide you want it back, look for a “Show icon-name in menu bar” checkbox in an associated pane of System Preferences.
Have you ever found your iPhone showing “No Service” in the upper-left corner instead cell service bubbles, even when you know there should be cellular reception in your location? It doesn’t happen often, but the iPhone has been known to lose connectivity when it shouldn’t. To fix this problem, open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and tap the airplane icon to enable airplane mode. Wait a few seconds, and tap the same icon again to turn airplane mode off and reset the iPhone’s radios. If that doesn’t work, hold the Sleep/Wake button until you see the Power Off slider. Slide it to turn the iPhone off, then press Sleep/Wake again to start it up.
When you work in a Finder window on the Mac, take note of the helpful Status bar. It can tell you how many items are in a folder, as well as how many items you have selected. This latter bit of information is useful if, say, you need to move five items to another folder and you want to verify that you’ve selected all five. The Status bar also shows the amount of free space remaining on your drive and provides a slider to change icon size if the window is in Icon view. Look for the Status bar at the bottom of every Finder window (or the top, if the toolbar is hidden). If you don’t see it, choose View > Show Status Bar.
iOS 10.3, which Apple released in March 2017, had a number of notable changes, along with one minor tweak that could cause confusion. In iOS 10.2 and earlier, if you wanted to change your iCloud, iTunes, or App Store settings, you’d tap Settings > iCloud or Settings > iTunes & App Store. In iOS 10.3, however, Apple combined all these settings and more into a new Apple ID menu item that’s labeled with your name and prominently positioned at the top of the Settings app. In that Apple ID screen, you can control every aspect of your account, including personal information, passwords, security options, payment details, iCloud syncing, iTunes and App Store downloads, Family Sharing, and all your devices. Take a minute to scan through everything that’s possible so the next time you need to adjust one of these settings, you’ll remember where to go.
Apple is increasingly encouraging us all to turn on two-factor authentication for our Apple IDs because it adds an extra layer of security on top of the password. With two-factor authentication, when you log in to iCloud or iTunes for the first time on a new device, it prompts you for both your password and a 6-digit verification code that’s displayed on another of your Apple devices. However, those two-factor authentication dialogs appear only on Apple gear running iOS 9 or later or OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later. What if you also have an older Mac or iPad that can’t be upgraded that far? Here’s the trick: when you’re prompted for your password, type it and press Return to trigger the authentication request. Wait for the 6-digit code to appear on one of your other devices. Next, if your password isn’t still in place, rekey it, and append the code. So if your password is Pa55w0rD (it shouldn’t be—that’s way too weak!) and your code is 039602, you’d type Pa55w0rD039602 all at once in the password field.
If you’re thinking, “Why yes, I do know that in iOS a double-tap on the Space bar after typing a word inserts a period and then a space,” award yourself a virtual gold star. If you weren’t aware of that super useful trick, well, you are now. Getting to the Period key on a small-screen iPhone or iPod touch keyboard requires switching to the number keyboard and back again, so this shortcut can provide proper punctuation promptly.
Is your Mac’s Desktop a cluttered mess? That’s not a criticism—it happens to all of us. A few files here, a folder or two there, and before long you can’t find anything amid all the icons. There’s a solution, of course, which is that the Finder lets you sort the icons on your Desktop just like any other folder. Click once on the Desktop, then choose View > Show View Options. In the window that appears, along with icon size and positioning, you can use the Sort By pop-up menu to choose how icons will sort on the Desktop. Date Modified is often the best, since that puts the most recently changed file or folder at the top right, or directly underneath any drive icons.