Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your Mac running El Capitan, the latest version of OS X.
1. Hide the menu bar
The menu bar has been a fixture on the Mac since it launched in 1984, but for the first time ever, you can hide the menu bar in OS X El Capitan. Open System Preferences, go to General, then click “Automatically hide and show the menu bar.” When you tick this box off, the menu bar will reappear as you glide your mouse arrow towards the top of the screen, allowing you to get at all your menus.
2. Change how Notifications Center groups notifications
Prior to El Capitan, OS X defaulted to grouping items in Notification Center by app. In El Capitan, Apple switched things up and now groups them by date instead. For instance, all your notifications from today will show up together, which can be useful for seeing what you missed while you were stuck in that all-day meeting. If you prefer the old per-app grouping, though, go to System Preferences > Notifications, then change the sort order as you please: look for the pop-up menu labelled “Notification Center sort order.” Play with the different options and see which one works for you.
3. Start dictation with a spoken command
OS X El Capitan adds some welcome new features for those who use the built-in Dictation feature. First, you can now set your Mac so it will begin accepting dictation upon a spoken command—useful if your computer is on the other side of the room. You can also have your Mac automatically mute any audio output while you’re dictating, which can help reduce errors. Open System Preferences, go to Accessibility, then choose Dictation from the left-hand sidebar and give these new features a spin.
4. New system font
OS X includes the same font found on the Apple Watch. This new custom font, called San Francisco, provides better readability for on-screen text, as well as sharper text when using a Retina Mac. Since Apple has been shipping a lot more Retina Macs, this makes total sense, and is something we’re really pleased to see come to the Mac.
OS X adds a new feature called “Rootless” that keeps the root user found on Unix-based systems from being able to be run. This can cause some troubles for disk management and backup utilities, so they included a way to turn it off. Open the Terminal and type sudo nvram boot-args=”kext-dev-mode=1 rootless=0″;sudo reboot to disable rootless and reboot your Mac. Only disable rootless if you know what this feature is used for, and you are experienced with the OS X command line.
6. View side-by-side apps in full-screen mode
As useful as OS X’s full-screen mode for apps may be, it can also hinder productivity. For example, while you may like browsing in full-screen mode on your laptop, constantly switching back to peek at a chat window can be a bit of a chore. OS X El Capitan tries to bridge this gap with a new feature Apple calls “Split View,” which lets you view two apps side-by-side while in full-screen mode.
To use it, press and hold the green Full-Screen button in the window’s title bar for a couple seconds, then drag the window to either side of the screen. Next, find the other window you want to use in Split View, then clickyou’re in Split View, you can choose how much horizontal space each window gets by clicking and dragging the vertical bar separating the two.
7. Drag and drop apps to create new Desktop
Mission Control has been revamped, and now lets you create a new desktop to house a full-screen app very simply. Simply open Mission Control by pressing the keyboard shortcut, then drag an Exposé app towards the top of the screen. You’ll see a “+” appear, and when you drop it on the new Desktop, the app will be full screened inside of that new Desktop.
8. Title Bar options
In prior versions of OS X, you could make it so double-clicking a window’s title bar would minimize that window to the Dock. In El Capitan, you can set your Mac to “zoom”—that is, to toggle the window between a larger and smaller window size. Go to System Preferences, click Dock, then check the box labelled “Double-click a window’s title bar to” if it isn’t already. Next, choose “Zoom” from the drop-down list.
9. Swipe to delete messages in Mail
If you have a Apple notebook or use Apple’s Magic Trackpad, you can swipe across any message in Mail to delete it, just as you can on iOS. Mouse over the message in question as it appears in the message list along the left, then swipe with two fingers from right to left. Keep swiping, and the message will be deleted. It’s a quick and easy way to scan and delete emails you don’t need.
10.’Found in Mail’ Calendar
The Calendar app has a new “Found in Mail” that keeps track of any events it finds in email messages received through El Capitan’s Mail app. It’s a handy way to see upcoming events that you might have otherwise missed – assuming it properly recognizes events, anyway.