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Merge contacts in OS X Contacts app Apps
This isn't a hidden feature, but it's one that many people may not know. I found it recently when I discovered that I had dozens of duplicate contacts in my Contacts app, caused by quirky iCloud syncing. If you find that you have two cards for the same contact, you can select them, then choose Card > Merge Selected Cards. This will copy all unique information into a single card.

There is also a Card > Look for Duplicates command, but when you invoke it, Contacts will tell you how many duplicates it has found, and ask if you want to merge them, but won't tell you which cards were duplicates before you merge them; I'd rather do this manually so I don't lose any information.
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Add folders of wallpaper to Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane System
If you like to use different wallpaper on your desktop, you might want to add folders of graphics you've collected to be selected at random. You can do this by opening the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane, then clicking on the Desktop tab, clicking on + and navigating to your folder. But there's a quicker way: just drag the folder to the Folders section of the sidebar. You can add one or more folders here quickly.

H/t OS X Daily.
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Find which folder contains an app on iOS iOS devices
I keep all the apps I use regularly on my iOS devices in the Dock or on the home screens, but I have dozens of less-commonly used apps in folders. I often forget which folder some apps are in, even though my folders are labeled clearly. To find which folder an app is in, swipe right to display the Spotlight search screen, then type a few letters of the app's name. The app will display in the list, and to the right of its name will be the folder it's in. Next time, maybe you'll remember which folder to look in, which, for me at least, is quicker than typing in the search field.

Note: this is iOS 6 only.
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Generate list of wi-fi networks a Mac has used Network
You can find out which wi-fi networks a Mac has connected to by going to the Network preference pane, then clicking on Advanced, then on the Wi-Fi tab; they'll be listed in Preferred Networks. But if you want to do this from Terminal - say for a Mac you've connected to via ssh - this hint, posted on OS X Daily, can do it as well:
defaults read /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.airport.preferences RememberedNetworks | egrep -o '(SSID_STR|_timeStamp).+' | sed 's/^.*= \(.*\);$/\1/' | sed 's/^"\(.*\)"$/\1/' | sed 's/\([0-9]\{4\}-..-..\).*/\1/'
The list will be the same as that in Preferred Networks, and you can't alter it, but it my be useful in some situations.
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iTunes 11: Keyboard shortcut to clear currently playing track Apps
Even though iTunes is my bailiwick over at Macworld, I've found the new Up Next feature to be quite confusing. It's taken me a while to suss out all its details and I've figured it out, but I find it quite confusing.

In updating my Take Control of iTunes: The FAQ ebook, my editor, Michael Cohen, noted a useful keyboard shortcut for working with Up Next. If you press Command-. (that's a period), this stops playback and clears the currently playing track from the iTunes LCD. I haven't yet found a way to clear the Up Next queue from the keyboard, however. If anyone's spotted a shortcut for that, feel free to post it in the comments or submit it as a hint. (As a reminder, you can display the Up Next queue by pressing Command-Option-U.)
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iTunes 11: Empty playlists and syncing to iOS devices Apps
If you choose to sync music by selecting specific playlists, you select your iOS device, then click the Music tab to check the playlists you want. I do this for my iPhone and iPod touch. I have found, however, that with iTunes 11, any playlist that is empty gets unchecked.

Here's why this is a problem for me. I have a few playlists that I use for listening to new music or podcasts. I manually place tracks in these playlists, when I have something to put in them. However, there are times when I sync my iOS devices that they are empty. In the past, this didn't matter; the next time I added something to the playlists, they would sync. But in iTunes 11, they become unchecked in the Music tab, and I have to manually go back and sync them again.

My solution is to add a very short silent track to the beginning of each of these playlists.Some time ago, I made these silent tracks to be able to use them as pauses in playlists, and posted them on my blog. The shortest one is .1 second, which I created for this hint. Just put the silent track anywhere in the playlist, but remember not to delete it, so the playlist never becomes empty.
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Change Mission Control Animation Speed (Mountain Lion) Apps
It's possible to change the time it takes for Mission Control to complete its animation. I'm all for decreasing animation times in Mountain Lion, so this is a handy tweak if you're interested in a similar thing.

In Terminal, type the following:
defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.1  ; killall Dock 
where 0.1 is the time; you can set it to any number you want; try several different numbers to see how this changes the animation. Press Return, and Mission Control's animation time is changed.

To revert it back to the default, enter the following in Terminal, then press Return:
defaults delete com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration ; killall Dock 
[kirkmc adds: This is one of those hints that is, in part, "because we can," but I do understand the desire to make certain animations a bit snappier.]
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iTunes 11: Clear currently playing track Apps
With iTunes 11, when you start playing an album, all its tracks go into the Up Next queue. In addition, the first track starts playing, and is displayed in the iTunes LCD. If you display the Up Next queue - click the list icon in the iTunes LCD, or press Command-Option-U - you can click on Clear to remove all tracks from the queue. However, the currently playing track still remains in the iTunes LCD, which makes sense.

If you want to clear this track as well, and stop playback, display the Up Next queue and click the Clear button again. This is particularly useful if you want to stop playing the current track and add items to the Up Next queue. Since they don't replace the current track, this is one way to do this. (You could also click on the Next button in the playback controls to just skip over it.)
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Keep Yahoo IM Messsages accounts online Apps

If you use a Yahoo IM account in Messages and have a MacBook, you'll find your Yahoo account won't go back online whenever the Mac awakes from sleep mode. Apparently, AOL IM accounts are affected in this way too. Here's one simple solution to the problem that uses crontab to run a simple Applescript that periodically takes all the accounts online.

I write more about this on my blog, including a couple of caveats, but here are the basic steps:

1. Ensure Messages starts at login by right-clicking its Dock icon and Options > Open at Login. Remember that, in OS X Mountain Lion, apps not used for a while will appear to quit automatically, but don’t worry — these steps take that into account.

2. Open a Terminal window. You’ll find Terminal in the Utilities folder of the Applications list within Finder.

3. At the command-line prompt, type crontab -e

4. This will open your (probably) empty crontab file within the vi text editor. Press I to switch to insert mode, so you can type text. Then copy and paste the following, which is all one line:

*/15 * * * * osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to tell application "Messages" to log in'

Note that if you copy and paste the line, the quotation/single quote marks might be “curly,” depending on which browser you use. This will stop the command working. You might need to delete the quotes, then type them again using your keyboard.

The command causes the AppleScript we specify to run every 15 minutes, which seems reasonable to me because I became a little wary that any more frequent running of the command might impact battery life of my MacBook. But you can change the 15 at the start of the line to any other value, such as 5 minutes.

5. Press Escape, then type :wq which will save the file and quit the editor.

That’s it. You can test it however you wish. Perhaps you might want to take all your accounts offline, then wait up to 15 minutes to find that you’re back online automatically in the background.


[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this.]
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Re-enable old style auto-save for TextEdit (with a real "Save As..."). System 10.8
While better than Lion's behavior, the lack of a true "Save As..." in Mountain Lion frustrates me. I never really saw anything wrong with the old style Autosave feature, where a temporary file gets saved periodically until you close the original file. I liked being able to edit a document and then retroactively apply all changes since the last save to a new file with a different name and location from the old file.

This is what's wrong with the "Duplicate" command, which, when it duplicates the file, includes all the changes since the last save. This forces the user to be prescient about what sorts of changes they may want to make to the file at some point in the future, whereas the old "Save As..." helpfully allows you to move all your recent changes to a different file. Unfortunately for most Apple applications, you are stuck with the new behavior. However, for TextEdit, there appears to be a way to revert to the software's Autosave and "Save As... " to that used by computers since the dawn of time.

In this hint I described how to turn off the auto-save feature for an application, which at least in TextEdit causes the true "Save As..." menu item to re-appear in the File menu and enables the Command-Shift-S shortcut to act as the real "Save As...," not "Duplicate."

When doing this however, there was one problem: the new sandboxing "feature" of OS X does not allow the old auto-save feature of TextEdit to make changes to the document's working directory, so you get annoying pop-up error messages every time TextEdit tries to make the Autosave file. Here how you can fix that.

WARNING: We will be replacing the developer's code signature for TextEdit in this hint. If you have qualms about disabling security features on your computer, stop reading here.

First, open a Terminal window and make a back-up of the application, in case we break something:

cd /Applications

ditto TextEdit.app TextEdit.backup.app


Now, we're going to use codesign to force (-f) the application to use a alternate signing identity (-s). The one we'll use is the dash (-) sign identity. This means the code will use an ad-hoc signing identity, which supposedly means that significant restrictions apply (see the man page for codesign ), but it does seem to allow TextEdit to write to a user's directory so it seems like in this case it's significantly unrestricting the app's permissions. Note that when you do this next step, it will reset the preferences for TextEdit. Also note the second dash after the dash-s, "-s-":

sudo codesign -f -s- TextEdit.app

The normal way to disable the new auto-save is the following:

defaults write com.apple.TextEdit ApplePersistence -bool no

But I couldn't get that to work. The only thing I could think of to do was get rid of the lockfile (not sure this part is needed?) and then copy TextEdit's .plist file to a directory where I could write to it, and then copy it back. Note that in this next part, I am putting a copy of the .plist lockfile and the .plist itself into root's home directory (/var/root) before doing things to them:

sudo mv /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TextEdit.plist.lockfile /var/root

sudo cp /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TextEdit.plist /var/root

sudo cp /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TextEdit.plist ~

cd ~

sudo open com.apple.TextEdit.plist


Change ApplePersistence from YES to NO. Save, and go back to the Terminal Window.

sudo mv com.apple.TextEdit.plist /Library/Preferences/

That's it! Now go enjoy your favorite text editor behaving the way it should be. This trick won't work for any other applications (e.g., Keynote); the "Save As..." menu item doesn't reappear when you disable the ApplePersistence.

[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this. The warning at the beginning should be sufficient for anyone squeamish about trying something like this.]
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