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Posts tagged with "mac"

How to Enjoy the New iMac Hello Screen Saver on Any M1 Mac

The new iMacs announced yesterday will ship with special ‘Hello’ screen saver that pays tribute to the original Macintosh and the color schemes of the new iMac models. On 9to5Mac, Jeff Benjamin has a walkthrough of the new screen saver, its options, and instructions on how to enable it on other Macs.

As Benjamin explains, you don’t need to have the new iMac to run the screen saver, although you need to jump through some hoops. The Hello screen saver is in the macOS 11.3 RC beta that was just released and can be copied and installed on other M1 Macs running the 11.3 beta by following the steps in Benjamin’s video. I haven’t tried to install the screen saver on an Intel-based Mac, but I plan to give it a go once I update my Mac mini to 11.3.

The screen saver includes several settings and three themes. I’ve set up the screen saver on my M1 MacBook Air and selected the ‘All’ theme option to get a mixture of all three themes when my screen saver is enabled. In addition to the themes, you can choose whether the screen saver shows multiple languages and whether it follows your light or dark mode settings.

I’ve enjoyed the Drift screen saver on my Macs lately, but the switch to Hello on my MacBook Air has been nice. The bold, vibrant colors are lovely.

Update: It turns out that the same process for adding the Hello screen saver to an M1 Mac works on an Intel-based Mac running the macOS 11.3 beta too.

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Bartender 4.0 Offers Powerful New Control Over Your Mac’s Menu Bar Apps

Bartender 4.0 was in beta for a long time, and the time and attention to the details paid off. If you were waiting to update until the app was officially released, now’s the time to act because it’s out, and the update is excellent.

I use Bartender on all my Macs, but I appreciate it most on my MacBook Air. The updated app, which manages your menu bar apps, retains its core functionality, allowing you to rearrange your menu bar apps and hide the ones you don’t need regularly. However, with version 4.0, Bartender does a lot more too.

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20 Years Ago, Mac OS X Set the Stage for Today’s Apple

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two decades since Mac OS X was released. I wasn’t a Mac user in 2001, but as a tech fan, I followed the release of OS X and the later switch to Intel closely, which was what finally convinced me to buy my first iMac.

Today, with Mac OS X gone and Intel chipsets not far behind, I thought it would be fun to look back at OS X and the transition to it compared to the recent switch to macOS 11 Big Sur. I started by watching Steve Jobs’ introduction of Mac OS X at Macworld Expo in 2000, which was a perilous time for the Mac. The company was just two and a half years into Jobs’ return as iCEO and had recently filled out its simplified product grid, adding the iBook to the iMac, Power Mac G4, and PowerBook lineup.

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Reflector 4 Updated with Modern UI and M1 Mac Support

Reflector 4, an app for mirroring iPhones, iPads, and other devices to the Mac, has been updated with a new design, M1 Mac support, and new onscreen device frames. Whether you’re making screencasts, demoing apps for a group, or in a classroom environment, Reflector lets you wirelessly transmit your device’s UI to your Mac and record it too. In addition to mirroring iPhones and iPads, which is what I did in my testing, you can also mirror Android, Windows, and Chromebook devices. Think of it as Apple TV and Chromecast’s mirroring and streaming features all on a Mac, thanks to this one simple menu bar app.

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DarkModeBuddy: Automatic Light and Dark Mode Switching Based on Ambient Light

Gui Rambo, the maker or AirBuddy, the Bluetooth headphone and peripheral menu bar utility that I’ve covered before, has released a new app called DarkModeBuddy that can automatically switch between light and dark mode on Mac laptops based on ambient light levels. DarkModeBuddy runs in the background monitoring the ambient light readings from the same sensor that automatically adjusts your screen’s brightness. When the ambient light drops below a threshold you pick for an amount of time that you also choose, DarkModeBuddy automatically switches Big Sur from light to dark mode.

The app is a terrific example of the sort of single-purpose, useful utility available on the Mac. The app’s settings helpfully display the current light reading, which will assist you in deciding what light threshold to pick. The easiest way to dial in a comfortable setting is to choose something you think might work and then adjust it as you work in different lighting environments based on the readings reported by DarkModeBuddy.

If you watch the ambient light readings in DarkModeBuddy, you’ll see they jump around a bit as the lighting of your surroundings changes. That’s why the app has a Delay Time setting, which only switches between light and dark modes if the lighting conditions cross the threshold you set for a certain amount of time. The timer prevents flickering back and forth between light and dark modes based on small, temporary changes in lighting.

I generally run my Macs in dark mode full time, so I’m not planning to run DarkModeBuddy all the time. However, I like Gui’s approach to light and dark mode switching better than Apple’s. If I’m in a dark environment, light mode, especially with Big Sur’s emphasis on bright white UI elements, can feel like having someone point a spotlight at your face. You may find yourself in those conditions because it’s nighttime, but the time of day doesn’t account for when you’re working in a poorly lit room, which is where DarkModeBuddy really shines.1

DarkModeBuddy, which is an open-source project, is available with a ‘name your price’ model via Gumroad.


  1. Sorry (not sorry) for the bad pun. ↩︎

Dato Review: Calendar Events and Time Zones From Your Mac’s Menu Bar

My calendar needs are pretty simple. I have a shared family calendar to keep tabs on personal obligations and a personal MacStories calendar for work-related events. I also share a calendar with Federico for scheduling podcast recording times and other events, but that’s about it.

If you spend lots of time in a calendar app because you have lots of meetings, having calendar sets, tasks, scheduling, video call support, weather, and other pro features inside your calendar app makes sense. My work is far more task-focused than event-focused, though. I don’t want to lose track of important events, but most days, Apple’s calendar widget on my iPhone is all I need.

The Calendar widget doesn’t quite cut it for me on the Mac, though. Widgets are out of sight in Big Sur, and there’s no way to trigger the widget panel with a keyboard shortcut. So, instead, I’ve been using a Mac menu bar app called Dato for quick glances at my calendar. The app isn’t new, but the recent addition of time zone support caught my eye, and it has played an important role in my daily workflow ever since I began using Apple’s Calendar app again.

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Apple Announces Availability of New M1-Based Macs and macOS Big Sur

Today Apple announced pre-order and delivery dates for the new MacBook Air, 13” MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, all of which feature the new Apple-designed M1 chip. All three Macs are available for pre-order today with deliveries starting November 17th and 18th.

Apple has also released a second Release Candidate for macOS Big Sur. The company said during its presentation that Big Sur will be available this Thursday, November 12th, which is also when we’ll publish our comprehensive review of Big Sur on MacStories as well as an eBook version for Club MacStories members.


You can follow all of our November event coverage through our November 2020 event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


Catalina Developer Beta Changes How Mac Laptops Charge to Extend Their Batteries’ Lifespans

The developer beta release of macOS 10.15.5 has a new feature in the Energy Saver section of System Preferences called Battery Health Management that changes the battery charging behavior of Mac laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports. According to a story by Jason Snell at Six Colors, Apple says:

…the feature is meant to reduce the rate of chemical aging of the MacBook’s battery, thereby extending its long-term lifespan—but without compromising on day-to-day battery life.

The feature works by analyzing the temperature of the battery over time, as well as the charging pattern the laptop has experienced—in other words, does the laptop frequently get drained most of the way and then recharged fully, or is it mostly kept full and plugged in?

Battery Health Management can be turned off by unchecking a box in System Preferences.

As Snell points out, Apple’s approach here is in contrast to what it did with the iPhone’s battery in 2017, which embroiled the company in controversy and ultimately, led it to issue a public apology. It’s good to see Apple take the initiative to explain how the new power management feature works and give users a way to turn it off when it makes sense, though I expect to leave it turned on most of the time myself.

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Service Station Review: A Handy Utility to Customize Your Finder’s Contextual Menu

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of Finder Sync Extensions. I haven’t run across many apps other than Dropbox and HoudahSpot that support the feature. Finder extensions allow third-party developers to customize the Finder on the Mac with buttons in the Finder’s toolbar or changes to the contextual menu that’s displayed when you right-click on a file.

Service Station adds apps and scripts to the top level of your Mac's contextual menu based on rules you define.

Service Station adds apps and scripts to the top level of your Mac’s contextual menu based on rules you define.

Service Station is a new Mac utility that takes advantage of Finder extensions by letting users create rules to control when and which apps are displayed in the right-click contextual menu. The app can also be used to kick off AppleScript and shell scripts and Automator workflows. These are all tasks that macOS already supports in one way or another, but Service Station surfaces them as top-level contextual menu options and can be customized to suit your individual needs, which makes this a very handy tool.

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