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Life Hacks: 

6 ways to make the most of OS X Yosemite

OS X Yosemite

OS X Yosemite is here! But what can it actually do?

On downloading Apple’s latest desktop operating system OS X Yosemite, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all that has changed is the wallpaper. As ever it’s a refinement rather than a reinvention, but hidden somewhere behind that giant rock are a handful of great new features for you to get to grips with.

Apple has been testing and tinkering the update in Beta since late July, but it’s now free for all to enjoy. Rather than leave you to figure it out for yourself, here are 6 of the best new additions to get you started.

1) Make phone calls and send SMS


Apple’s desktop and mobile operating systems have been gradually aligning for years, but for all intents and purposes your Mac is now an iPhone. You can now send and receive SMS as well as iMessages, and as long as your devices are sharing the same WiFi, you can make and answer phone calls from your Mac as well.

Apple’s investment in giant phones doesn’t end with the iPhone 6 Plus, then – but at least this one won’t bend in your pocket.

2) ‘Handoff’ between devices

OS X Yosemite

Another way in which your Mac is getting closer to your iPhone or iPad is Handoff – a new feature which allows you to switch devices and pick up where you left off. Whether its typing texts, browsing Safari or composing an email on your mobile device, you can switch to Mac at any time by clicking the icon that appears in your dock. All you need to do is have both OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 installed first, and make sure Handoff is turned on in both your device’s settings and the system preferences on your Mac.

3) Markup for Mail

OS X Yosemite

One of the most useful changes for Yosemite affects the Mail app, which now enables you to make quick annotations to screenshots. After attaching your image, turn on Markup by hovering your cursor in the right-hand corner and clicking the icon. You should now find a handy toolbar above your image, allowing you to point, circle, cross-out and correct to your heart’s content.

4) New and improved Spotlight Search

OS X Yosemite

Spotight Search for Mac improves which each new update to its OS, but now it will search your mail, maps, search history and Wikipedia to help you find what you’re looking for. It’s getting smarter too – type in a cinema and be presented with film times, while searching for restaurants will pull up directions, Yelp ratings and more.

5) Join the dark side

OS X Yosemite

Apple is famously conservative about allowing users customise its products, but a recent Macbook Air ad hinted that the technology titan could be loosening its grip. There’s little sign of that attitude crossing over to Yosemite, although for a subtle mood shift you can try enabling ‘dark mode’ (system preferences > general > Use dark menu bar and dock).

6) Send enormous files

OS X Yosemite

There’s always one person in your office who brings down the system by trying to send a 50MB email – but that’s no longer an issue. With Yosemite you can send practically anything through Mail (up to 5GB), as Maildrop automatically uploads larger files to iCloud and provides a download link for the recipient. Neat!

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