9 Essential Windows Apps for Students

essential-windows-apps-students

Technology has changed the way by which students approach their education. Any learner today has access to a vast number of apps across their devices. But students should know which apps are useful for their education, and which ones are a waste of time. Choosing the right kind of apps can help students complete their homework, to gain knowledge, and increase the learning outcome. We’ll show you some essential Windows apps that are sure to come in handy during their academic year. 1. OneNote: Note-Taking App With Rich Features Whether it’s taking notes from lectures or reading, note-taking has been…

Read the full article: 9 Essential Windows Apps for Students

essential-windows-apps-students

Technology has changed the way by which students approach their education. Any learner today has access to a vast number of apps across their devices. But students should know which apps are useful for their education, and which ones are a waste of time.

Choosing the right kind of apps can help students complete their homework, to gain knowledge, and increase the learning outcome. We’ll show you some essential Windows apps that are sure to come in handy during their academic year.

1. OneNote: Note-Taking App With Rich Features

Manage a notebook with OneNote

Whether it’s taking notes from lectures or reading, note-taking has been shown to improve student learning and their outcome. Microsoft OneNote comes with a wide array of features for easy information gathering and managing notes. You can collect text, multimedia content, and all kinds of data in a single section to structure ideas and connect with other thoughts in an efficient manner.

With intuitive navigation bar, you can organize notes in any way and jump between notebooks. You can embed tables, charts, screen clippings, handwritten text, equations, and much more. It seamlessly integrates with other Office apps. You can assign a reference to Word document or a PowerPoint presentation, insert Excel spreadsheet, and transfer tasks to Outlook.

OneNote Class Notebooks is a free add-in for OneNote 2016 and is built into OneNote for Windows 10. It is a personal workspace for every student. With Class Notebook, teachers can create a rich content library for handouts, collaboration space for lessons for real-time feedback and creative activities. If you wish to learn more about OneNote, read this guide on how to efficiently use OneNote at school.

Download: OneNote for Windows 10 | OneNote Desktop 2016 | OneNote Class Notebook (Free)

2. Google Drive: Office Suite With Cloud Storage

Google Drive download for Windows

Device-neutral learning and working environments are everywhere. It is imperative that students have access to their files and creations across many devices. Google Drive enables you to work in the cloud for collaboration and learning with technology. It comes with a suite of office apps: Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms.

Docs will help you write essays with pristine citations. Sheets are great for studying mathematics, statistics, or when you’re in need of organizational spreadsheet, and Slides is excellent for making a presentation and reviewing lecture notes. And when you download Google Drive, you can sync and share documents easily with your classmates and teachers.

But if your school has enrolled in Office 365 for Education, then you can get Office apps and many more classroom tools for free. All you need to get started is a valid school email address. With Office 365 subscription, you can install the suite of apps on your PC, phone, and tablet.

Download: Google Drive and GSuite for Education (Free)

3. Anki Flashcards: Old-School Learning Technique

study notes with anki flashcards

Studying any subject matter involves lots of reading, note-taking, and memorization. But with so many subjects, you can quickly forget things. Anki is an excellent app to make remembering things easy. As you open the app, start by creating decks and note cards. They can include items with some words occluded (cloze), basics with optional reversed cards, and more.

You can also make your card and customize their settings. The built-in card browser lets you locate, view, and edit any note studied or added recently. When learning new cards or re-learning cards that you have forgotten, Anki will show you cards periodically to help you memorize them. As you learn and review the subject matter, the app will sync your progress with the corresponding mobile app.

The review system of Anki flashcard supports both active recall and spaced repetition technique to ensure that whatever you’re learning goes into your long-term memory. If you fall behind in your review, Anki will prioritize cards that you’ve been skipping for a long time.

Download: Anki Flashcards (Free)

4. myHomework: Handy Student Planner

Get assignments done with myHomework

A student planner app can help you to organize homework and keep track of all the activities. With myHomework, you’ll never lose track of your classes, schedule, or homework. The app gives you a clear view of your course schedule, a calendar showing what’s due, and a homework section for all your assignments.

On the homepage, you’ll see a summary of the classes you’ve to attend and view your assignments. The calendar view gives you a quick overview of classes arranged date wise. The homework option has a Kanban-style layout with three lists: Complete, Late, and Upcoming. Within each card, you can create reminders and of repeating tasks, color-code the classes, and more.

The free version of myHomework lets you track assignments, projects, classes, due-date reminders, and unlimited sync. The inexpensive premium subscription provides you with more themes, file attachment, external calendar access, and more.

Download: myHomework (Free, Subscription available)

5. Wolfram Alpha: Research Facts and Figures

Wolfram Alpha windows app

Google crawls the web to give you the best possible information but is not enough for students to learn something new. Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine. It calculates expert-level answers using the breakthrough algorithm, knowledgebase, and artificial intelligence. Whatever subject you’re studying, Wolfram Alpha makes your research a lot easier.

You can use this tool to search for any specific information. Whether you want to get information about statistics, data analysis, units, science, mathematics, this tool gives you detailed facts and figures within a few seconds. When you search for any query, it includes buttons to show you more details. Right at the bottom, you’ll find links for sources, related links, or search the web.

Download: Wolfram Alpha (Web: Free, Subscription available | Windows: $3)

6. Polar Bookshelf: Manager for Web and PDF Files

Polar Bookshelf Document Manager

Polar Bookshelf is a document manager for web content, articles, and books. It allows you to keep all the reading materials in one place and supports tags, annotations, and flashcards for spaced repetition learning technique.

When you open a document, you can start highlighting the paragraph to show up in the annotation’s sidebar. You can also add a comment, flashcard, and jump to any annotation in the main document. The app supports the new concept of tracking inspired from incremental reading called Pagemarks. Pagemarks keep track of what you’re reading and the progress of each document.

It also restores Pagemarks when you re-open documents. With its Chrome extension, you can save HTML content and even annotate them. Since the app is relatively new, you might notice some issues and bugs. But with this kind of features and built-in sync functionality, you should try out this app.

Download: Polar Bookshelf (Free, Subscription available)

7. Zotero: Your Personal Research Assistant

Zotero main interface

Every student has to read books, research papers, lecture notes, and more. So it makes sense to use a reference manager. Zotero is an open-source citation management tool designed to collect, organize, and cite references. Each reference constitutes an item. Item contains different metadata, depending on the type of document.

When you launch the app, you’ll see three panes: the left pane contains all the items under My Library. Items appear in the center pane, and its metadata in the right pane. Install the Zotero Connector extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. When you find an interesting research paper, click the button to automatically clip articles and create an item of the appropriate type.

Zotero populates the article with all the relevant metadata, attach a link, and inserts a full-text PDF if available. You can also add tags or a note to the item. When you’re working on an assignment, you can directly insert references as citations with its word processor plugins. Zotero supports all the major styles including Chicago, MLA, APA, and journal specific styles.

Download: Zotero (Free)

8. Grammarly: Check Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Correct grammar and spelling mistakes with Grammarly

When you write the first draft of your assignment, you’re just putting your ideas together. Spelling errors, poorly written sentences, incorrect use of punctuations are common in early drafts. It’s important to revise and improve it. You can use Grammarly to proofread your articles. The free version of this tool checks critical grammar, spelling mistakes, and suggest synonyms in context.

Grammarly premium checks for punctuation usage, sentence structure, words used in the wrong way, plagiarism, and more. You can proofread your articles by using Grammarly website, apps for all the devices, and plugins for Microsoft Office. Grammarly for education can give you unlimited access to this tool and a wide range of writing support services. Ask your teacher or school for more details.

Download: Grammarly (Free, Subscription available)

9. Writefull: Write Your Assignments With Confidence

Get writing suggestions with Writefull

Students often struggle to find the correct words or phrases in their assignments. Writefull gives you feedback on your writing by checking your text against Google Language databases. The database gets their results from Books, Google Scholar, News, and Web. To use this app, just select the text in any app and press Ctrl + Space. Writefull tells you how often a phrase appears in the selected database.

If you’ve used two similar phrases, you can check which one is used more often. And when you’re stuck while writing and want to know which adjective or preposition suits a context, it’ll suggest you right words and how to use them. The app has a built-in dictionary to define, pronounce the words and even lets you search synonyms in context.

Download: Writefull (Free)

Build More Essential Time Management Skills

With the right kind of tools, students can easily plan, write, organize, and focus on their studies. Most of the apps discussed here are free, so they can easily be part of your educational toolkit.

They can also save you time. As a busy student, time management is critical for you to balance studies, classes, and co-curricular activities.

Read the full article: 9 Essential Windows Apps for Students

7 Android Apps That Add Features to Google Play Store

playstore-extensions-apps

The Google Play Store on your Android device is the heart of Google’s ecosystem to buy apps, games, books, and movies. It gets periodic updates to improve engagement, app discovery, recommendations, and suggest popular apps. But despite these updates, Google still hasn’t added other useful features and tweaks many users have asked for. We’ll show you some apps that let you get more out of the Play Store if you find the standard offering lacking. 1. Purchased Apps: Easy Access to All Your Paid Apps Keeping track of all your apps is impossible, especially when you switch to a new…

Read the full article: 7 Android Apps That Add Features to Google Play Store

playstore-extensions-apps

The Google Play Store on your Android device is the heart of Google’s ecosystem to buy apps, games, books, and movies. It gets periodic updates to improve engagement, app discovery, recommendations, and suggest popular apps.

But despite these updates, Google still hasn’t added other useful features and tweaks many users have asked for. We’ll show you some apps that let you get more out of the Play Store if you find the standard offering lacking.

1. Purchased Apps: Easy Access to All Your Paid Apps

Keeping track of all your apps is impossible, especially when you switch to a new device or do a factory reset. The Play Store’s Library tab lists all the apps you’ve installed and those that aren’t on your device. Unfortunately, it does not show you which apps you bought in the past or reveal any in-app purchases. The Account > Order History page also does not offer much help, as it lists other content along with apps.

Purchased Apps gives you easy access to all your paid apps. Log in with your Google account, and within a few moments your entire order history will show up. Tap the hamburger menu to show your total number of purchases, money you’ve spent, and their breakdown by category. The app lets you sort purchases by name, date, and price.

You can also filter them by Installation status or Purchase type. Tap on the More menu and then Filter to access these. From the dialog box that appears, check your selection criteria. For example, you can choose to list apps you’ve bought but aren’t installed on your device. You can even export the list as CSV file for safekeeping or sharing with friends.

Download: Purchased Apps (Free)

2. AppSales: Track Paid App Discounts

Developers often put their apps on sale through the Play Store. But there’s no easy native way to find these deals or track the prices of individual apps. AppSales offers you a convenient way to discover and download the best paid apps and games that have gone free or are on sale. Their manual review process cuts out the junk and ensures that you get the best apps.

By default, it shows apps with a minimum discount of 25 percent. They must also have at least 100 downloads and an average rating of 3.5. To change the criteria, tap the hamburger menu and choose Settings > Filter. Drag the slider forward for each section and check Hide expired sales.

You can also filter apps by categories. For example, if you’re not interested in games, then tap Settings > Categories and deselect the entire Games category. AppSales also lets you monitor the apps on your watchlist for price cuts. Open the app’s page in the Play Store, then tap Share and choose AppSales. Check the price history of that app to track pricing patterns over the last 60 days.

Open the hamburger menu and choose Watchlist Charts to see which apps are trending. If you subscribe to AppSales premium, you’ll also get notifications for in-app sales, launch sales, and voucher codes. You can also add unlimited apps to the watchlist and track their price history over a full year.

Download: AppSales (Free, subscription available)

3. App Watcher: See Release Notes Without Installing

There are millions of apps on the Play Store, but it’s not practical to install dozens of apps just to see what features they offer. The Play Store lets you add apps to a wishlist so you don’t forget about them, which can help. But if they get any new features or improvements, you won’t get a notification about it.

App Watcher is a What’s New? app manager that monitors Play Store changelogs for apps you don’t have installed. It provides you quick access to the What’s New? section, letting you know about new features, bug fixes, and level updates for games. To add an app, open its page in the Play Store, then tap Share and choose Add to App Watcher.

If you have any apps on your wishlist, it’ll import the apps for you. Or if you know the app name, you can directly search for it in App Watcher. The updater checks for app updates in the background. When the process completes, it highlights the app in the Recently updated section, and you’ll also get a notification. You can also tag your apps to organize them or synchronize the list with Google Drive.

Download: App Watcher (Free)

4. Beta TestingCatalog: New Apps for Beta Testing

With support for beta testing baked into the Play Store, you can try out cutting-edge versions of your favorite apps before they get released to everyone. But the Play Store doesn’t give you a single place to browse apps available for beta testing, and the beta testing process is not optimized for feedback analysis. Enter Beta TestingCatalog.

It’s a community of beta testers and developers designed to distribute beta apps and exchange feedback. When you open the app for the first time, tap the hamburger menu to explore all the options. Tap Catalog to see a list of popular apps for beta testing, with daily updates. The Installed section retrieves a list of your installed apps that have beta testing available.

Since the community manually reviews the app selection process, you’ll not find every app available here. Once you find an app for beta testing, follow our instructions to enroll in the Play Store’s beta testing program. You’ll find both Opt-in and Join buttons, plus relevant beta details and their changelog in the description. TestingCatalog also lets you search for apps and browse them based on categories.

Download: Beta TestingCatalog (Free)

5. Error Codes & Fixes: Solve Play Store Issues

Whenever you encounter a problem in the Play Store, it’s easy to get frustrated. The cryptic error codes shown by the Play Store don’t offer much help to solve these problems. This app contains guides and troubleshooting steps on how to solve the most common Play Store problems like error code 495, 505, 492, and more.

You can browse the error codes or input a code to see the relevant troubleshooting steps. On the downside, the app displays full-screen ads. While this is a small price to pay for resolving Play Store problems, it’s worth a try if you’re tired of searching Google. Alternatively, you can also browse this massive list of Play Store error codes from XDA.

Download: Error Codes & Fixes (Free)

6. Subscriptions: Track App Subscriptions and Services

Many apps and services on the Play Store rely on subscriptions. Unfortunately, the Subscriptions option in the Play Store doesn’t offer you much help. It shows the due date of your subscription and allows you to set up alternative modes of payment, but that’s it. Thankfully, there’s a better option.

The Subscriptions app lets you track all kind of services, phone contracts, public transportation, and any other service you can think of in a neat and intuitive interface. You can choose from 30+ subscription presets or even add your own. To do this, tap the Plus button and select a subscription service from the list.

If a service or app you use isn’t listed, tap the Plus button in the upper-right corner and type in its details manually. Finally, tap Remind me and choose to receive a reminder either a day or week before the subscription renews to decide whether to keep it. If you use multiple Android devices, your subscription info will sync across them.

Download: Subscriptions (Free, premium version available)

7. App Backup & Restore: Batch Backup and Restore

Developers frequently update their apps to bring new features and fix bugs. But sometimes upgrading to a newer version can cause problems. It might add new bugs, introduce a deluge of ads, or even crash on launch. Also, if you don’t have much space on your phone, you might hesitate to apply updates regularly.

While the Play Store doesn’t let you make a backup of your apps, App Backup & Restore allows you to store, archive, or delete backups directly from its interface. Just check an app and tap Backup. Tap the More menu and then Settings to change the backup path. There are some interesting options to explore in Settings. For example, under the Auto Backup section, check Auto Backup to back up every time you update an app.

If you find the new app version unstable for any reason, tap Restore to reinstall the app from the backup. You can also choose to back up specific apps and send them to other devices via Wi-Fi or through WhatsApp.

Download: App Backup & Restore (Free) | App Backup & Restore Pro ($19)

Don’t Forget Google Play Store Tips and Tricks

The Play Store is just like any other app marketplace. Periodic updates to the Store improve stability and performance, but Google’s focus is entirely on user engagement, app discovery, and revenue. With these apps, you can extract useful features from the Play Store without much extra effort.

Did you know the Play Store has many great lesser-known features and secrets that make it even better? If this interests you, have a look at the best Google Play Store tips and tricks for Android users.

Read the full article: 7 Android Apps That Add Features to Google Play Store

The 5 Best PDF Reading, Editing, and Annotation Apps for Android

android-pdf-edit

We read books both for information and knowledge. Although both are essential aspects of reading, we cannot tell the difference between them. When you annotate, your mind develops a contextual relationship with the book. You include facts, criticisms, and links to related documents or web links. This all gives you better navigational cues. We’ll show you five PDF readers for Android that let you read and annotate ebooks to provide you with a better reading environment. 1. Xodo PDF Reader & Editor Xodo is a feature-rich PDF viewer that lets you read, edit, and annotate ebooks. It comes with a…

Read the full article: The 5 Best PDF Reading, Editing, and Annotation Apps for Android

We read books both for information and knowledge. Although both are essential aspects of reading, we cannot tell the difference between them. When you annotate, your mind develops a contextual relationship with the book.

You include facts, criticisms, and links to related documents or web links. This all gives you better navigational cues. We’ll show you five PDF readers for Android that let you read and annotate ebooks to provide you with a better reading environment.

1. Xodo PDF Reader & Editor

Xodo is a feature-rich PDF viewer that lets you read, edit, and annotate ebooks. It comes with a built-in file manager, cloud storage support, and collaboration tools to annotate ebooks and review them in real time. You can fill forms and sign PDF documents. It’s also compatible with the latest Adobe Acrobat specifications, which makes annotations consistent with other PDF viewers.

Annotate and View Notes

To create a highlight, tap the center of your screen to bring up the Action Bar. Tap the Annotation Toolbar, then the Highlighter icon. Drag the marker with your finger to the end of a sentence or paragraph to highlight the text. To change the color of the highlight, tap and hold the text to bring the popup menu. Tap Style to change the color, opacity or even annotation type.

If you wish to add a note, tap the selected text, then tap Comment Note to add a comment. Xodo supports many annotation tools including strikeout, underline, link, text, and more. You might also want to enable some options in the Settings screen.

Tap the Hamburger menu and toggle the Continuous Annotation Edit switch. The annotation toolbar will no longer swap with the hand tool, letting you focus on annotating the book. Also, toggle the Copy Annotated Text to Note switch. While adding a note, the selected text gets automatically copied into the annotation’s note.

Export Notes

After marking up a whole chapter, tap the center of your screen to bring up Bookmark icon on the bottom navigation bar. Tap the Annotations tab, then choose Export located at the bottom of the screen. A new document (PDF) will open in a new tab, with a summary of annotations you did on a chapter. Long-press this tab and tap Show in Folder to jump to the file location.

If you’re viewing the same PDF on an app that doesn’t support annotations, you can save a flattened copy of the document. Tap on the Overflow, then choose Save a Copy > Flattened Copy. The flattened copy’s annotations are no longer editable, but you can see the edits in any PDF viewer.

Download: Xodo PDF Reader & Editor (Free)

2. PDF Viewer Pro by PSPDFKit

PDF Viewer Pro is an all-in-one app that lets you annotate, fill forms, sign documents, and edit them. It comes with a built-in file manager, support for cloud storage, and collaboration tools to review edits with your team. The app writes annotations as per standardized Adobe specifications, so you can view them on any device.

Annotate and Export Notes

Open the document you would like to annotate. Tap the Annotation Edit button on the toolbar, then drag a finger to select the text. If you want to change the color of the annotation, tap the selected text and choose a different color from the toolbar.

To add a note, tap the selected text and choose Comment from the toolbar. You can add text annotations, comments with different styles, and callout annotations. Thankfully, the toolbar is not cluttered with a bunch of options. It’s neatly categorized into groups, and you can even drag the toolbar to other locations.

After doing all your markups, tap the Share icon in the toolbar and select an app to share your annotations. You can choose to either Embed or Flatten the annotations. When you embed annotations, they remain editable in other PDF viewers.

You can also share a particular page of the PDF. And the app lets you decide if you want to keep annotations, flatten them, or remove them altogether.

Download: PDF Viewer Pro by PSPDFKit (Free, subscription available)

3. ezPDF Reader

ezPDF is the only Android PDF viewer with embedded multimedia capabilities. The app has a slightly old, skeuomorphic interface, and the red/orange action bar makes the interface non-intuitive. But despite the old interface, the app comes with many useful features. Annotating a document is just the start.

Annotate and Export Notes

The top action bar is always visible while viewing a PDF. It allows you to make all sorts of annotations—adding text, commenting, highlighting, attaching files, creating shapes, and more. The controls are a bit confusing, as some options have an undo button and others rely on the eraser. Tap the Settings icon at the top bar and de-select any options you don’t use to reduce clutter.

To highlight the text, drag the marker to select a desired portion of the text and tap Highlight. To do more with the text you highlighted, tap the AddAnnot option. Here, you can add a note with different colors, attach a file or image, write on a text box, and more.

After you’re done marking up, tap the Annotations List on the action bar and select the annotation types you want to display or export. Then tap the Overflow menu and choose Export. Save or send the file as XFDF, FDF, or plain text. The FDF file format is compatible with Adobe specifications, so you don’t have to worry about annotations disappearing.

Download: ezPDF Reader Free Trial (Free 15-day trial) | ezPDF Reader ($4)

4. PocketBook Reader

PocketBook reader is your virtual library that lets you read ebooks in multiple formats, including PDFs that use Adobe DRM. It enables you to read ebooks in foreign languages with a built-in dictionary and listen to them with its text-to-speech function. The app even includes a barcode scanner to detect metadata, plus much more.

Annotate and Export Notes

To create a highlight, drag the marker to the end of a sentence or paragraph. In the popup that appears, tap Highlight. Then from the color picker box, select the color of your choice. If you marked the wrong text, select the highlighted text and tap Delete.

If you wish to add a note, select the highlighted text and tap Note. Enter your note and tap Save. The note sign will appear on the page. To view or edit the note, just touch the icon. After you’ve marked up as you wish, go to the Reading menu and choose Notes and chapter. Here at the bottom of the Reading menu, tap the Export option.

The note saves in the PocketBook folder as an HTML file. What makes this app unique compared to others is its natural reading settings. At any time, tap the center of your screen to evoke a radial menu. You can adjust brightness, the page display mode, zoom settings, and even create a highlight without going through tedious options.

Download: PocketBook Reader (Free)

5. Moon+ Reader

Moon+ Reader is an innovative app designed to give you complete control over your screen experience. You can fine-tune the screen brightness and tap the screen to effortlessly switch between day and night mode.

In PDF Options, you can change the view mode, increase or decrease the render quality, and enable thumbnail previews on the bottom bar. In Visual Options, you can set the font type, size, alignment, spacing, and more.

Annotate and Export Notes

To have the best experience while reading PDFs on this app, you must tweak specific options. Tap Overflow menu > PDF Options and choose View Mode as Continuous with Render Quality as High. Set the quality to Low if the PDF you’re reading has lots of images.

To create a highlight, drag the blue marker to the end of a sentence or paragraph. In the popup that appears, tap Highlight. You can also underline or strikethrough text with different colors. From the color picker box, choose the color you want to highlight with. Tap Note to add a comment on the selected text.

When you tap Save, a sticky note will appear on the text. After you’re done marking up, tap the Bookmarks button, then Share, and choose to export notes and highlights as TXT or HTML. Do remember that scanned PDFs don’t support any markups. The only option you have is to use OCR on the image, but even then, markups may or may not work.

Download: Moon+ Reader (Free) | Moon+ Reader Pro ($5)

You Can Annotate EPUBs Too

It’s difficult to think critically when you only passively consume information. Deep work requires you to think harder beyond the simple context. Creating annotations is your first step for developing a knowledge-based mindset because you begin to establish connections with different ideas.

The Android PDF apps discussed here will help you become a better reader and thinker. But you can annotate EPUB files too. Some excellent EPUB reader apps lets you annotate and take better notes. If this interests you, check out the best Android ebook reader apps with amazing annotation features.

Read the full article: The 5 Best PDF Reading, Editing, and Annotation Apps for Android

8 Ways to Email Large Attachments

Many email servers prevent you from sending (or the recipient from receiving) messages over a certain size. When this problem happens most users don’t know how to send large files. To send large files via email, you can either upload your attachment to cloud storage and get a link to email the recipient or use a file sharing service. Whatever method you choose, in the long run, you won’t be restricted by size limits and you can reduce the clutter from your inbox too. We’ll show you some easy ways to send large files for free. 1. Google Drive: Use…

Read the full article: 8 Ways to Email Large Attachments

Many email servers prevent you from sending (or the recipient from receiving) messages over a certain size. When this problem happens most users don’t know how to send large files. To send large files via email, you can either upload your attachment to cloud storage and get a link to email the recipient or use a file sharing service.

Whatever method you choose, in the long run, you won’t be restricted by size limits and you can reduce the clutter from your inbox too. We’ll show you some easy ways to send large files for free.

1. Google Drive: Use With Gmail

With Gmail, you can send attachments limited to 25MB and receive files of up to 50MB. It makes sense to use the built-in Google Drive to send big files. Open your Gmail account and click the Compose button. Click the Google Drive icon at the bottom of the compose window.

click the google drive icon to attach files

The Insert files using Google Drive window appears. Select the files you want to attach. At the bottom of the page, decide how you want to send the file.

  • Drive link works for any files stored in Drive, including files created using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms.
  • Attachment only works for files that weren’t built using Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

Then click Insert.

insert files using google drive

Gmail checks to see if your recipients have access to the file. If they don’t, it’ll prompt you to change the sharing settings of your file stored in Drive before sending the message. You can set permissions to prevent the file from getting misused and send them to selected recipients.

2. OneDrive: For Outlook and Outlook.com

When you try to attach one or more files that are over 33MB in size, Outlook.com will prompt you to upload the files to your OneDrive account. If you follow this prompt, the file gets uploaded to the OneDrive Email attachments folder. The recipient will receive a link to the file instead of the file. You can also share a file from OneDrive with a limit of 2GB.

upload attachment with onedrive

Once the file gets uploaded, choose if people can edit the file or only view it. Select Change permissions and decide what you want to do with a file you just shared. There are two options you can choose from.

  • Recipient can view: Others can copy or download your file without signing in.
  • Recipient can edit: Others can edit, add or delete files in a shared folder.

change permission of the file in onedrive

3. Dropbox: Integrate With Gmail

If you use Dropbox, then the Dropbox for Gmail Chrome extension can let you send, preview files and links without leaving your Gmail window. The extension adds a Dropbox icon to the compose window. Click the Dropbox icon and choose the file from your Dropbox account. A link gets attached, instead of a file in the email message.

As a recipient, you get rich previews of all Dropbox links shared in emails. Just like attachments, you can use these links to download the files directly from Gmail or add it to your Dropbox. With a free Dropbox account, you get a maximum file size limit of only 2GB.

send large files with dropbox

If your file transfer fails, then it could be due to multiple reasons— your shared link or request could have generated a large amount of traffic or exceeded the bandwidth and download limits. For more details, see the Dropbox bandwidth restrictions page.

4. iCloud Mail Drop: Use With Apple Mail

If you want to send large files via email, you can use iCloud Mail Drop feature. When you send an email of size more than 20MB, Mail Drop automatically kicks in. Instead of sending the file through the Apple email server, it uploads the file to iCloud and posts a link or preview to your recipients. The link is temporary and will expire after 30 days.

use mail drop for attaching large files in apple mail

If the recipient also has macOS 10.10 or later, the attachment gets quietly auto-downloaded in the background. And if you’re sending it to another email provider, the message contains an indication of the file’s expiration date and a Click to Download link.

With Mail Drop, you can send big files up to 5GB in size. You can send them from Apple Mail, the Mail app on iOS, and iCloud.com on Mac and PC. Mail Drop support every file types and attachments don’t count against your iCloud storage. For more details, see Apple’s Mail Drop limits page.

5. Firefox Send: Use With Any Web Browser

Firefox Send is a useful option to transfer big files with people who don’t want to rely on Google, Microsoft, or Apple. It lets you upload and encrypt large files (up to 1GB) to share online. To use Firefox Send, you don’t have to install an add-on. Point your web browser to the Firefox Send homepage and click the Select a file to upload button.

upload files with firefox send

Once the uploading gets completed, Send creates a link which you can then send it via email. At a time, you can send a link to 20 recipients (one download per recipient). You can also set a password to encrypt the file. Each link created by Send will expire after 24 hours. The file also gets deleted from the Mozilla server and leaves no traces.

sharing files with firefox send

6. pCloud Transfer: Simple Encrypted File Transfer

pCloud Transfer is a part of the pCloud storage that lets you send large files for free without any registration. Go to pCloud Transfer page and add your files using the Click here to add files option.

You can email large files up to 5GB, and every single file should not exceed 200MB. Then click Encrypt Your Files option and set a password.

share files with pcloud transfer

pCloud will not send the password to your recipient on your behalf. You can share your files with 10 recipients at once. Type in their email addresses in the Send to field. Type an optional message and click Send Files. Your recipients will receive an email link after a few hours. The link remains valid for seven days. You’ll get a reminder a day before the expiration date.

7. DropSend: Send Large Files From Any Device

DropSend allows you to quickly send large files from its homepage without signing up. Type the recipient’s and your email address, browse to the file location, and click the Send Your File button.

Before sending the file, make sure to complete the verification procedure. The free plan gives you a maximum file size limit of 4GB and five sends per month. The link remains valid for seven days.

share files with dropsend

The premium plan increases the limit to 8GB with 15–45 sends per month. There is no limit on the downloads, and you can specify the validity of the link from 1–14 days. DropSend uses 256-bit AES security to keep your files secure.

The paid plan also gives you access to DropSend Direct. It’s a nifty drag-and-drop uploader for Mac and PC to upload and send large files. DropSend also offers Outlook plugin and mobile apps for Android and iOS.

8. SendThisFile: End-to-End Encrypted Transfers

SendThisFile is a different kind of file sharing service. It places limits on the number of transfers you do rather than on the individual file size itself. Create a free account and click the Send Files button to start uploading files. Type in the recipient email address and click Send. The free plan lets you send files up to 2GB with unlimited file transfer.

share large files with sendthisfile

The premium plan starts with 25GB encrypted file transfer and remains valid for six days. The paid plan also includes Outlook plugin, option to use password protected download capabilities, and embed files on your website with access control features. All plans include AES–256 encryption and 128-bit TLS encryption for end-to-end-transmission.

Managing Large Email Attachments

When you want to send large files via email, it’s always wise to rely on specialized, secure cloud storage and transfer tools. The services discussed in this article are some of the best ways to send large files without any issues and for basic use they’re free.

Also, remember that emails travel across multiple servers on its way to the recipient. An attachment you send from an email service can get rejected by another email provider. If you use Apple Mail, make sure to read this piece on how to avoid common issues with attachments.

Image Credit: Fenton/Depositphotos

Read the full article: 8 Ways to Email Large Attachments

How to Install Mac Apps in Terminal Using Homebrew

brew-install

After you’ve configure a new Mac from scratch or reloaded macOS, installing a dozen or more apps is an overwhelming job. Visiting all the right websites and setting the apps up according to your needs is a hassle. You can solve this problem with a package manager. Homebrew is a package manager for macOS that simplifies the installation of free Unix tools and GUI apps. We’ll show you how to install apps with Homebrew and keep them up-to-date without any trouble. What Is Homebrew? Homebrew a free and open source package manager that lets you easily install command line tools…

Read the full article: How to Install Mac Apps in Terminal Using Homebrew

brew-install

After you’ve configure a new Mac from scratch or reloaded macOS, installing a dozen or more apps is an overwhelming job. Visiting all the right websites and setting the apps up according to your needs is a hassle.

You can solve this problem with a package manager. Homebrew is a package manager for macOS that simplifies the installation of free Unix tools and GUI apps. We’ll show you how to install apps with Homebrew and keep them up-to-date without any trouble.

What Is Homebrew?

Homebrew a free and open source package manager that lets you easily install command line tools and GUI apps on macOS. With a single command, you can search, install, uninstall, or update free Unix tools. Before installing Homebrew, you’ll need the following:

  • Terminal, located in the /Application/Utilities folder.
  • macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or higher.
  • Command Line Tools, or Xcode from the Mac App Store.

How to Install Homebrew on Mac

If you have Xcode installed, there’s no need to install Command Line Tools, since the package is already baked into Xcode. But if not, you don’t have to install Xcode just for Homebrew.

After installation, Xcode consumes around 10GB of disk space, which is no small amount. If you’re just getting started with these commands, then installing Command Line Tools (roughly 150MB) will get the job done.

Step 1: Install Command Line Tools

To install Command Line Tools, press Cmd + Space to launch Spotlight and search for Terminal. Then type:

xcode-select --install

As you type this command, a popup will appear with the message The “xcode-select” command requires the command line developer tools. Would you like to install these tools now? Click the Install button to proceed with the installation.

In my case, since the package is already installed, this shows an error message.

install command line tools

Step 2: Install Homebrew

To install Homebrew, copy and paste the following command into the Terminal:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

When you paste this command, you’ll see a series of lines about what the script will install and where. Press Return again to continue, or any other key to cancel.

install homebrew with a single command

Then enter the administrator password to begin the installation. Installation takes a bit of time, depending on the speed of your Mac and internet connection. On completion, you’ll see an Installation successful message.

successful installation of homebrew

Step 3: Verify the Homebrew Installation

Run this command to validate the Homebrew installation and check for any errors:

brew doctor

If you see any Warnings messages, you can safely ignore them, but you should check out common issues that might affect a Homebrew installation. In most cases, you won’t see any errors if your copy of macOS and Command Line Tools/Xcode are up to date.

You should this check for any pending updates in the App Store before you install Homebrew.

verify the homebrew installation

Installing Popular Unix Tools With Homebrew

Since Homebrew is a package manager, it automates the entire process of installing, updating, and removing apps from the system. It compiles packages and handles all the dependencies for you.

For example, one app might rely on two others to work properly. Rather than installing those other apps yourself, Homebrew installs them and configures them to work with your requested app without any issues.

Here are a few handy tools you can install with Homebrew:

  • youtube-dl: Lets you download videos from YouTube and other more sites.
  • geoip: Gives you the geolocation data for a particular IP address. Useful for system administrators, security researchers, and web developers.
  • wget: Lets you download data from the web and FTP. You can download a file or even an entire website with this tool.
  • cask: This one lets you install macOS apps with a GUI.
  • htop: Command line alternative of Activity Monitor. It gives you thorough information on CPU, memory, processes, and more.

Manage Unix Tools With Homebrew

Running these Homebrew formulas is easy. Just type:

brew install [formula name]

To install youtube-dl, for instance, type in:

brew install youtube-dl

Type the following to see the list of commands that Homebrew supports:

brew help

You can browse a big list of available commands on the Homebrew formulae page. And use the following commands for more options:

  1. search: Search for a formula
  2. uninstall: Uninstall a formula
  3. list: List all the installed formulas
  4. upgrade: Fetch the newest version of Homebrew from Github
  5. upgrade [formula name]: Install updates for a particular formula

brew help to list all commands

How to Install Homebrew Cask on Mac

Homebrew Cask extends Homebrew and lets you easily install macOS GUI apps directly from the command line. With this simple script, you can install and manage many apps without needing to download them individually and go through the typical drag-and-drop routine.

To install Cask, type this into Terminal:

brew tap caskroom/cask

Just after installing Cask, type this:

brew tap homebrew/cask-versions

The second Cask command is intended for installing alternate versions of Casks. For example, they include betas, development versions of browsers you might want to install, latest versions of legacy open source apps, and more.

With Cask installed, you can also enter this command:

brew cask

This syntax will tell you commands that Cask supports. Every time you use a command, don’t forget to prepend with brew cask. The most frequently used commands you need to remember are:

  1. install: Installs the given cask
  2. uninstall: Uninstalls the given cask
  3. list: Lists installed casks
  4. outdated: List all outdated casks
  5. upgrade: Upgrades all outdated casks

brew cask commands

You don’t have to remember the commands. If you ever forget a command, type in brew cask to see the list. You can also take a printout of the manual page and open it in the Preview app.

This syntax will export the man page output to Preview.

man -t [Command Goes Here]|open -f -a /Applications/Preview.app

For example, the below string will open the manual page for brew cask in Preview:

man -t brew-cask|open -f -a /Applications/Preview.app

printout of the man page

Once the man page opens in the Preview app, choose File > Export As PDF to save the file as a PDF document for future reference.

Installing Mac Apps With Cask

You probably have a list of frequently used apps you install on every new Mac. Instead of doing so individually, you can install those apps through Cask. To search for an app, use this syntax:

brew search

Let’s see if there’s a Cask for Firefox. To do so, type this into Terminal:

brew search firefox

As you might know, Firefox supports many different release channels. Mozilla uses these channels to slowly roll out updates to users, starting with daily Nightly builds to more Stable builds. If you want to install Nightly build of Firefox, you would type:

brew cask install firefox-nightly

install firefox nightly with homebrew cask

Or to install the Google Chrome Beta, try this:

brew search chrome

Once you get relevant matches, enter:

brew cask install google-chrome-beta

install chrome with homebrew cask

Sometimes, you might not remember a particular app name. Thankfully, you just need to enter some relevant keywords and Cask will search for apps that contain them. The below screenshot shows what happens when you enter this command:

brew search sync

brew search tactics

Uninstalling Apps With Cask

To uninstall Chrome Beta, simply type:

brew cask uninstall google-chrome-beta

For uninstalling Firefox, use:

brew cask uninstall firefox-nightly

The app gets uninstalls completely with no traces left behind. Once you install an app with Cask, it’s fine to update the app even if Cask doesn’t show updates. Don’t forget to check for configuration issues to further mitigate any problems. You can do so with this command:

brew doctor

Before checking for any Cask upgrade, don’t forget to periodically update the Homebrew core and casks. To do this, type:

brew upgrade

GUI Versions of Homebrew and Casks

Although there is no GUI app to install Homebrew and Casks, there are third-party apps that lets you update Homebrew core, check configuration issues, install and update apps from Cask repository, and much more.

Cakebrew is a free, open source app that works in tandem with Homebrew. It lets you see the list of formulas you’ve installed, plus it can run a quick search and show the description of formulas you want to install. This is functionality the command line version doesn’t have.

If you like Homebrew, but don’t want to use the command line for every purpose, this app will prove useful to you. To install Cakebrew, type in:

brew cask install cakebrew

cakebrew app for homebrew

Homebrew and Cask Workflow for Alfred lets you easily install, uninstall, and manage Homebrew and casks in tandem. The script filters brew and cask with support for doctor, install, list, search, uninstall, and more.

Then launch Alfred, type in brew or cask, and you can manage your apps right there in Alfred. You need to have the Alfred Powerpack installed to use this and other workflows.

manage homebrew and cask with alfred

Install These Open Source Mac Apps

Homebrew is a great package manager to install free Unix tools and macOS apps. If you’re setting up a Mac from scratch or work in a company where you manage multiple Macs, Homebrew can save you a lot of time and energy.

It’s easy to get lost with all these commands, but you don’t have to hurry. Go slow with these steps and take notes frequently.

Although you might want to install common Mac apps at first, take a look at some lesser-known open source Mac apps and install them with Homebrew Cask too.

Read the full article: How to Install Mac Apps in Terminal Using Homebrew

7 Ways to Organize Apple Notes for Smarter Productivity

apple-notes

Apple Notes is more than an ordinary note-taking app. It got a functional makeover and new features starting in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. If you’ve just started using Apple Notes or want to migrate from Evernote, you’ll want to make the best use of its features and day-to-day usage workflows. The simplicity and uncluttered interface of Apple Notes hide some of its best features and organizational capabilities. We’ll show you how to organize Apple Notes and take advantage of the built-in features to get your work done faster. 1. Organizing Notes in Folders Apple Notes lets you…

Read the full article: 7 Ways to Organize Apple Notes for Smarter Productivity

Apple Notes is more than an ordinary note-taking app. It got a functional makeover and new features starting in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. If you’ve just started using Apple Notes or want to migrate from Evernote, you’ll want to make the best use of its features and day-to-day usage workflows.

The simplicity and uncluttered interface of Apple Notes hide some of its best features and organizational capabilities. We’ll show you how to organize Apple Notes and take advantage of the built-in features to get your work done faster.

1. Organizing Notes in Folders

Apple Notes lets you organize your notes into folders for ease of wading through them. To create a new folder, choose File > New Folder, or click New Folder below the list on the left. Type in the name of the folder and press Return. Then drag your notes into the folder.

If you hold Option as you drag a note, you’ll make a copy of it in the new folder instead of moving the original. You can also create a new note within a folder. To do this, click the folder’s name first and type your note. If you don’t click any folder’s name, then the note you create goes into the default Notes folder.

create new folder in apple notes

On the iOS, tap New Folder from the Folders screen. Name your folder, then tap Save. In the notes list, tap Edit.

Tap the note or notes you want to move, then tap Move To and choose a folder or create a new one. The list of accounts and folders you create on your Mac shows up on your iOS device as well.

move notes to a new folder in ios

2. Nest Folders Onto Others to Organize Notes

nest folder onto another on mac

Apple Notes also let you create subfolders to further organize folders and their notes. On a Mac, just drag and drop a folder on top of another. It adds a disclosure triangle next to the folder and places the moved folder into the other.

On iOS, you can’t nest a folder insider another. However, Notes on iOS will sync the subfolders you create on your Mac.

3. Use the Attachments Browser to Organize Files

The Attachment Browser gives you a visual way to hunt through the files you’ve attached to notes, organized by category in a single screen. It includes photos, videos, audio, web links, scans, and documents. No other popular note-taking apps, including OneNote and Evernote, take this approach to letting you browse content.

On your Mac, click the Attachment Browser (grid with four squares) button on the toolbar, or press Cmd + 1. Click a category to see those types of attachments.

On iOS, the Attachment Browser button is located at the bottom-left of the Notes list.

attachments browser in apple notes

With this feature, you can organize notes and their attachments. To do this, right-click an attachment in the Attachment Browser and choose Show in Note from the contextual menu. Now drag and drop the content into another note, or delete it.

If you forget why you added an attachment in the first place, then you can take a quick peek with the Quick Look feature. Right-click the attachment and choose Quick Look Attachment from the context menu. With Quick Look, you can preview dozens of notes without opening them.

open notes in attachment browser to organize notes

4. Use Emojis in Folder Names

Having too many folders is a problem because Notes doesn’t let you customize folder names. You can’t choose a background, assign colored labels, or set tags. It results in dull lists of folders with no visual differentiation, making them difficult to identify.

But you can put an emoji either before or after the folder name. If you place an emoji before the name, Notes alphabetically sorts those with emojis at the top of the list. You’ll end up with a folder underneath the top-level Notes folder.

When you place an emoji at the end of a folder name, they just get highlighted.

emojis in folder names to differentiate folders

You have multiple ways to type emojis on a Mac. But the built-in emoji picker is slow. Sometimes its search does not reveal emojis for a particular context, and navigating the picker is time-consuming. For a better way, use this emoji picker workflow for Alfred to speed up the process.

insert emoji with an alfred workflow

On iOS, you’ll need to enable the emoji keyboard. To insert an emoji on a folder name, tap on the text input field. After you type in the folder name, press the key between the 123 and Dictation keys that has a smiley face on it.

inserting emoji on ios

5. Use Custom Images to Differentiate Notes

Images are powerful visual cues. You can attach an image for every note, or only the important ones. With this simple trick, you can find the right notes faster and also help your memory organize notes in different folders.

Put the cursor just below the title of a note. Then choose Window > Photo Browser and drag the photo from the browser to the cursor location. Right-click the image and select View as Small Images from the context menu.

Instead of a picture, you can also paste a logo or symbol if you prefer.

use custom images to find notes

6. Use Hashtags to Quickly Search Notes

One feature that Apple Notes lacks is tags. But if you need tags to organize your notes, it’s possible to use this feature in Notes with a small hack.

After you type your note, put a hashtag at the beginning or end of the note. Press Cmd + Space to launch Spotlight. Then put a hashtag along with the word you used in a note. Spotlight will pick up that note from the hashtag, but does not pinpoint the tags to their actual location in a note.

search Apple Notes tags with spotlight on mac

On iOS, the hashtag system works in a similar way. Swipe down from the middle of the Home screen to open a search field, where you can type your search term. Spotlight searches your notes and will pinpoint the tags to their actual location in a note.

Do remember that this hashtag system doesn’t work well with multiple tags.

searching tags in apple notes for ios

7. Integration With the Calendar and Reminder Apps

The built-in apps Calendar and Reminders work great with Notes, although this might not be obvious in the beginning. To create a reminder from Notes, select a text snippet and choose Share > Reminders from the context menu.

add a note to the reminders app

In the dialog that appears, either keep the default text (in this case, the text snippet you selected) or type your own. Click the Info button to add a time-based alarm to a reminder.

Select the On a Day checkbox, change the date, and click Add. In the Reminders app, click the tiny Notes icon to open the linked notes directly in Apple Notes.

create a custom alarm for a note

On iOS, open the note you want a reminder about, then launch Siri and say Remind me about this. Siri will copy the content of the note to a reminder and link to it.

If you find it awkward to use Siri in public, then go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Tap Siri and toggle Type to Siri. Then you can enter commands via the keyboard instead.

To create a calendar event from Notes, hover your mouse over a date until the popover menu appears. Then choose Quick Look Event from the context menu.

create an event from apple notes in mac

Click the Details button, type in the title, and add notes or a URL to the event. Lastly, click Add to Calendar.

add details to the calendar

You can use this feature to track online subscriptions, for example. Create a table and list all your subscriptions. Make two columns for Purchase Date and Expiry Date. Then add the details of the event and save it.

You might want to set the alert a week earlier so that you take necessary steps to either continue or cancel the subscription in time.

Tips for Faster Note-Taking

Apple Notes does lack a few features, but these omissions don’t detract from the usefulness of the app. In the future, Apple should make these features easier to discover. In the meantime, you can use these tips to start better organizing your notes.

What if you find the entire process of note-taking cumbersome? It takes time and practice to develop a systematic workflow. To improve yours, check out some great time-saving shortcuts to take notes faster.

Read the full article: 7 Ways to Organize Apple Notes for Smarter Productivity

The 8 Best Mac Apps That Enhance Finder’s Functionality

mac-finder-enhance

The plethora of third-party file managers for macOS could potentially replace Finder in your workflow. But Finder is a customizable file manager. And its extensibility allows third-party apps to natively integrate with it. We’ll show you some of the best apps that blend with Finder to let you perform extra functions. 1. Mountain: Manage External Drives From Menu Bar If you manage lots of external hard disks, having to constantly switch between the Finder and Disk Utility to eject and mount the disk is a hassle. Plus, forgetting to safely remove your drives can lead to data corruption. Mountain is…

Read the full article: The 8 Best Mac Apps That Enhance Finder’s Functionality

mac-finder-enhance

The plethora of third-party file managers for macOS could potentially replace Finder in your workflow. But Finder is a customizable file manager. And its extensibility allows third-party apps to natively integrate with it.

We’ll show you some of the best apps that blend with Finder to let you perform extra functions.

1. Mountain: Manage External Drives From Menu Bar

mountain app mount external volumes in menu bar

If you manage lots of external hard disks, having to constantly switch between the Finder and Disk Utility to eject and mount the disk is a hassle. Plus, forgetting to safely remove your drives can lead to data corruption. Mountain is a menu bar app that lets you manage all external volumes with ease. You can unmount, eject, and mount volumes with just two clicks.

It automatically ejects external volumes when your Mac goes to sleep and mounts the drives again when waking from sleep. The app also automatically identify apps that block volumes from getting ejected. It quit those apps, then safely ejects the drives. If you use external drives for backups, this tool could make the backup process a lot easier.

Download: Mountain (Free trial, $6)

2. Mountain Duck: Mount Remote Storage in Finder

access remote storage in the finder from mountain duck

If you need to manage multiple cloud storage services at once, switching between different interfaces can hinder your workflow. Mountain Duck is a nifty app that lets you mount server and cloud storage as a local volume in the Finder. Open System Preferences > Extensions and check Mountain Duck to integrate the app with the Finder toolbar.

Click the app’s icon in the menu bar to connect and disconnect from cloud storage service with a few easy clicks. As you connect with a particular service, it’ll appear in the Finder sidebar to let you browse contents and move files. The app supports FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Backblaze B2, and more.

Download: Mountain Duck (Free trial, $39)

3. Default Folder X: Streamline Opening/Saving Files

default folder integrates with open and save dialog

The built-in Open and Save As dialog boxes don’t have any customization options. When you choose to open and save a file, it’s easy to waste time searching for the right folder. To avoid this, some people save all their data on the desktop, making Finder cluttered and less useful.

Default Folder X is a utility that replaces the Open and Save As dialogs with many useful options. The app attaches a toolbar with a series of buttons to give you quick access to the Default folder, Home directory, Favorites, and Recent folders. You can also set the default folder for a particular app and assign a shortcut to save the file directly with a single key press.

The menu bar interface lets you view all Finder windows and access various folders no matter where they’re located. The app also allows you to add Spotlight comments, labels, and tags within the Save dialog. If you’re focused on efficiency and file organization, then Default Folder X will definitely improve your workflow.

Download: Default Folder X (Free trial, $35)

4. Quick Look Plugins: Preview Files Without Opening

preview markdown file with quicklook

Quick Look offers a full or near-full size preview of pretty much any kind of file with a press of Space. With it, you can preview documents, images, and videos. But you can enhance the Quick Look function with better file support through plugins.

Quick Look plugins come as qlgenerator files. All you need to do is to extract the ZIP file and drag them to the ~/Library/QuickLook folder. To bring your plugins into effect, open the Terminal and type in the following:

qlmanage -r

Press Enter and relaunch Finder. You can find a list of useful plugins with different functions described below:

  • QLColorCode: Preview source code files with syntax highlighting.
  • QLStephen: Preview plain text files with or without unknown file extensions.
  • QLMarkdown: Preview markdown files.
  • BetterZipQL: Preview archive or zip files.
  • qlImageSize: Display image size and resolution.

Download: sindresorhus Github page | QuickLookPlugins.com (Free)

5. Resilio Sync: Keep Files Synced Across Devices

resilio sync main window

Resilio Sync (formerly BitTorrent Sync) uses a synchronization method based on peer-to-peer technology to sync files and folders without using cloud servers. The app integrates with Finder through macOS extensions. It gives each folder a unique ID and tracks metadata to sync files and folders.

To sync a folder, click the Plus button, then choose either a Standard or Advanced folder from the dropdown menu. Although they look the same, see Resilio’s help page for the differences.

A Share window will then automatically appear. Choose the permission type and set the expiry date of your link. Then copy and paste the link on another device.

The Pro version of Resilio Sync allows you to link computers and mobile devices with a single identity without sharing any secret keys. It also has a selective sync feature, which works just like Dropbox. This is useful for mobile devices with less storage space, and gives you flexibility in downloading only selected files.

Download: Resilio Sync for Windows and Mac | Android | iOS (Free, $60 Pro version)

6. ColoFolXS: Compact Icon Tool for Coloring Folders

colofolxs app to color folders

Changing the color of a folder in macOS is a great way to dress up your desktop and add visual identity to folders. But the manual procedure for changing the color of a Mac folder has some issues in Mojave, and it’s pretty clunky.

ColoFolXS is a utility app that lets you change the color of any folder effortlessly. The app features a minimalist yet comprehensive interface to change the color. It has a collection of predefined cell colors, plus adjustment sliders of different hue and intensity. To use this app, just drag and drop any folder from Finder directly onto one of its color cells.

Download: ColoFolXS (Free trial, $5)

7. Power Menu: Workflow-Enhancing Finder Extension

power menu integration with the finder

Power Menu is a configurable Finder extension that adds powerful actions to the right-click menu and toolbar. When you open the app, it automatically activates the FinderSync extension so the actions menu appears there.

The menu comes with preset actions for missing Finder features, like moving and copying a bunch of files with one click, converting images to different formats, creating new files, opening the selected directory in a new Terminal window, and more. The app also supports custom shell scripts.

To create a shell script, click on the Plus button next to the Actions List title in the Manage Actions menu. They have many uses; I use shell scripts to clean up garbage HTML tags and weird formatting errors, and to convert Markdown to PDF and DOC formats with Pandoc. If you work in Finder all day long, this app will save you time and improve productivity.

Download: Power Menu ($10)

8. Extend the Power of Finder With Services

use searchlink to generate links

The Services menu in macOS is probably its most underused feature. The sole purpose of this menu is to give you more options for the tasks you perform regularly by borrowing features from other apps.

For example, you can select text from a website in Safari and send an email using the selected text. You can access Services item via the app menu or with a right-click. If you don’t use Services to its full potential, then try these utilities.

Markdown Service Tools is a collection of macOS Services that lets you do more with Markdown text. It includes utilities to clean up smart punctuation, convert HTML to Markdown, indent or outdent text, a feature to automatically grab links from clipboard, and more.

SearchLink is a system service that lets you search multiple sources and automatically generate links for text. If you write on your Mac, this tool will save you time compared to manually pasting links into your writing app.

Download: Markdown Service Tools | SearchLink (Free)

Finder Is a Great File Manager on Mac

Newcomers to Finder might find it tough to utilize the manager effectively because many features are out of sight. You’ll find lots of tweaks hidden behind menus and keyboard shortcuts. And to go deeper, these third-party apps integrate directly with Finder for tons of extra features.

If Finder doesn’t suit your workflow out of the box, you can customize it according to your needs. Check out our tips on how to use Finder more efficiently

Read the full article: The 8 Best Mac Apps That Enhance Finder’s Functionality

How to Download Anything on the Web for Free: 12 Tips and Tools

download-anything

There are lots of useful things online that aren’t easy to download. Photos, music, videos, maps, and other exciting content don’t come with a download button. It’s also possible they’re no longer free or they may be gone from the web altogether. We’ll show you how to download all the stuff from the web that you thought you couldn’t for free but without breaking the law. How to Download Content That No Longer Exists 1. Apps Not Available From the Play Store Google usually ban apps that are potentially malicious or deceptive but also object to apps that undermine its…

Read the full article: How to Download Anything on the Web for Free: 12 Tips and Tools

download-anything

There are lots of useful things online that aren’t easy to download. Photos, music, videos, maps, and other exciting content don’t come with a download button. It’s also possible they’re no longer free or they may be gone from the web altogether.

We’ll show you how to download all the stuff from the web that you thought you couldn’t for free but without breaking the law.

How to Download Content That No Longer Exists

1. Apps Not Available From the Play Store

Google usually ban apps that are potentially malicious or deceptive but also object to apps that undermine its business model. Some apps are not available because of geo-restrictions. Also, the newer version of a particular app may not work well or has removed the features you need. You can download such apps from F-Droid and APKMirror.

While you should avoid installing apps from third-party app stores, these two marketplaces are an exception. They’re both community-run software projects and implement strict security practices to keep you safe from malicious apps.

To install the app, you’ve to enable sideloading. Read this guide on how to manually sideload apps on your Android device.

2. Old and Discontinued Software

oldversion home page

Developers frequently update their apps to bring new features and fix bugs for modern operating systems. But sometimes upgrading to a newer version can cause problems. It may not be compatible with older OS, may get bundled with adware and nefarious APIs, and much more. You can download an older copy of the app from OldVersion and OldApps.

These repositories offer thousands of old versions of apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux across many categories. Just click the name of the program and choose the version you want to download. Before you download, ensure that the app meets the system requirements, is free from junk, and avoid installing outdated browsers as it puts your PC at risk.

3. Websites Taken Down From the Web

wayback machine home page

Websites vanish from the web every day—perhaps abandoned by the creators, banned due to legal problems, or pulled down due to hacking attempts. Wayback Machine stores more than 341 billion snapshots of web pages. The search bar on the homepage lets you quickly access the archived online index, and with the help of third-party apps, you can download defunct sites.

Wayback Machine Downloader lets you download any website from Internet Archive. Sign up for the account and click the Add new site button. Type in the domain name, specify the level of site pages you want to save and choose a snapshot date from the dropdown menu.

download website with wayback machine

Then click the Save button to start converting the site and download it as a zip file. While you can save a copy of the old site to your machine, there are many other types of content for you to download at Internet Archive.

How to Download Content Without Paying Anything

4. Get Personalized Ringtones

Default ringtones that come pre-installed with your device are boring. Personalized tones are popular, but you may have to pay for them. To make your phone sound more interesting, try these apps.

Zedge has more than million free ringtones to download via its website or the app. It comes with built-in tools to save favorite ringtones in personal lists and access them from any device. Once you download your ringtone, tap the Set button to set it as a ringtone, notification sounds, and individual contact ringtones.

Download: Zedge for Android | Zedge for iOS (Free, premium version available)

Audiko has an impressive collection of nearly 2 million top and fresh ringtones from every genre. You can download the ringtone either from the website or the app. But Audiko also lets you upload your favorite track, cut your segment, and download it to your phone. You don’t need third-party apps or music editing skills to create your personalized ringtone.

Download: Audiko for Android (Free, subscription available)

5. Audiobooks of Classic Literature

If you’re fond of classic literature, then you can get ebooks for free, but the audiobooks version is still pricey. To get free audiobooks, try the LibriVox site and its app.

LibriVox provides free audiobooks for books that are in the public domain. The books are read by volunteers and you download it for free without registering for the site. The site gives you many options to browse the catalog by author, title, genre, and subject.

The free Android app lets you browse catalogs by favorite lists. Try the “Best of Sherlock Holmes”, “National Geographic’s” archived articles, sci-fi novels, and much more.

Download: LibriVox for Android | LibriVox for iOS

6. Paid Software for Free

Sometimes a paid version of the software offers more features and power with no ads or bundled junk. You can download paid software for free every day with the help of these sites.

Giveaway of the Day and Giveaway Club offer free licensed software for Windows, Mac, and games you’d have to buy otherwise every day. The software is available for 24 hours or more. The vendor gives you the license keys and is completely legal without any limitations.

giveaway of the day deal page

Just sign up for the newsletter or follow them on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates. Although some of the apps and games are obscure, you’ll occasionally find great apps. Then if you’re hungry for more free apps, try these tips and tricks to find Mac and iOS App Store discounts.

7. Full Commercial Games for Free

Popular games for Windows and Mac sometimes cost a lot of money. But there’s always a chance you can get fantastic game titles for free. Visit this dedicated Wikipedia list of commercial games released as freeware. You’ll see dozens and more titles listed with the download links in the footnote at the bottom.

We also recommend /r/FreeGames and /r/FreeGamesOnSteam on Reddit for all kinds of freebie offers and deals. Often, big game publishers like Steam, GOG also release free titles to attract customers. To know more, read how to download premium games for free with these sites.

How to Download Without a Download Button

8. Entire Wikipedia and TED Talks

offline wikitionary in kiwix app

Saving an individual article from Wikipedia is simple. Just click the Download as PDF on the left-hand side of the page. But having complete offline access to Wikipedia is helpful in situations when there is poor internet connectivity.

Kiwix is a free app that lets you search and read the whole encyclopedia. The app is available for every desktop and mobile operating systems. Navigate to Kiwix Internal wiki library and download the ZIM file. Then browse the articles from within the app. The wiki library also lets you download popular TED talks, StackExchange sites, Wikipedia sister sites, and more.

Download: Kiwix for Android | Kiwix for iOS

9. Images From a Web Page

If you want to save multiple pictures from a web page in one go, then the process of saving every file becomes tedious. You can use these extensions to save time and hassle.

Imageye Image downloader for Chrome lets you find and download all images on a web page with a single click. The extension has a built-in filter to select criteria for image size, URL, and dimensions. It also supports Facebook, Twitter, Google Images, and more.

imageye downloader for chrome

Download all Images for Firefox allows you to find, filter, and save all images in the opened tab. The filtering tool is powerful. You can limit pictures based on their dimension, size, and image type. But you can also use custom regular expression filter to filter images based on the URL.

download all images settings pane firefox

10. Capture Audio From Any Website

We all want to own copies of cool stuff you hear every day. While downloading audio from the browser is simple, capturing live radio shows, web-based voice calls, or podcasts is not easy.

Chrome Audio Capture lets you record any audio that’s playing in the opened tab, and save it to your computer in MP3 or WAV file format. Click the Start Capture button to start recording. You can save or cancel recording at any time and also mute tabs to avoid audio spoilers.

chrome audio capture extension for chrome

The maximum capture time is 20 minutes. If you have longer duration audio, you can either continue the recording and sacrifice audio quality or stop and restart the capture.

11. Photos and Videos From Instagram

Instagram lets you request a file containing every photo and video you’ve shared on the site.

  1. On the desktop, click the Profile icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Click the Settings gear next to the Edit Profile button.
  3. From the menu, choose Privacy and Security.
  4. Scroll down to the Data Download button header and click Request Download.

download data from instagram

DownloadGram allows you to download your own/someone else photos on mobile and web. If the photo is yours, tap the three-dot button above the post and choose Share > Copy Link. To download someone else’s photos, tap the three-dot button again and select Copy Link.

Open the browser and paste the link to save the image. If you want to download videos, then read this article on how to download videos from Instagram.

12. Photo Albums From Flickr

Flickr is still a popular service for saving and sharing photos online. In the recent update by Flickr, they decided to limit new members to store up to 1000 photos of 200MB each. Free users storing more than 1000 pictures have a deadline till February 2019. Remember to respect copyright before downloading other’s photo albums.

To download a bunch of pictures of another Flickr member, click their username, then choose Albums. Hover your mouse or click the album thumbnail to make a download icon appear. Click this, then select Create zip file. A download link will appear after some time.

batch download photos from flickr

You Can Download (Almost) Anything Online

With so much stuff online, you can download virtually anything from the web. But the internet is much deeper. Search engines serve only 1% of the crawlable content. There are lots of valuable information buried inside online databases and dynamically generated pages.

They include patents, census data, climate data, academic data with scientific papers in every category, space exploration data, and secret onion websites accessible through Tor software. If this interests you, we have a complete guide on the journey into the hidden web for new researchers.

Read the full article: How to Download Anything on the Web for Free: 12 Tips and Tools

6 Android Ebook Reader Apps With Great Annotation Features

android-reading-apps

Reading is not a dialogue between you and the author, but rather an expression from the text to your brain. When you annotate, your mind develops a contextual relationship with the document. This includes facts, criticisms, links to related documents or web links, better navigational cues, and more. You can annotate your ebooks with a highlighter tool, comment tool, underlines, callout arrows, and much more. We’ll show you six EPUB readers for Android that let you annotate ebooks and export notes in different formats. 1. Amazon Kindle Amazon Kindle is a multi-platform ebook reader featuring marketplace, reader, and library management…

Read the full article: 6 Android Ebook Reader Apps With Great Annotation Features

android-reading-apps

Reading is not a dialogue between you and the author, but rather an expression from the text to your brain. When you annotate, your mind develops a contextual relationship with the document. This includes facts, criticisms, links to related documents or web links, better navigational cues, and more.

You can annotate your ebooks with a highlighter tool, comment tool, underlines, callout arrows, and much more. We’ll show you six EPUB readers for Android that let you annotate ebooks and export notes in different formats.

1. Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle is a multi-platform ebook reader featuring marketplace, reader, and library management features. The Kindle app gives you many options to set up the reading environment according to your needs. You can adjust the screen brightness, set your preferred screen orientation, switch to night mode, customize the font, and much more.

Annotate and View Notes

Touch and hold a word, then drag the highlighter to the end of the sentence or paragraph. The highlighting tools will pop up as you lift your finger from the screen. From the color picker box, choose the color you want to use. To add a note, select the highlighted text and tap Note. When the note window appears, type in your notes and tap Save.

The Kindle app doesn’t let you export notes directly to your device. Instead, you can view the saved highlights organized under the titles located in your Amazon Kindle highlights. The most recently updated books occupy a column on the left, with annotations on the right panel.

Export Notes With Third-Party Apps

Bookcision is a Javascript bookmarklet that lets you easily extracts highlights and notes from ebooks. The bookmarklet produces a single page of clearly styled highlights and notes. You can either copy it to the clipboard or download the annotations as TXT, JSON, or XML.

Clippings.io is another web app to manage annotations. Install the extension from the Chrome Web Store. Then go to the Amazon Kindle Highlights page and click on the extension. The web app lets you edit, search, tag, and annotate your clippings. It also enables you to search book notes by title, author, content, and type.

Download: Amazon Kindle (Free)

2. Google Play Books

Google Play Books is an all-in-one app to buy and read books across all the devices you own. The interface is simple and customizable to give you a smooth reading experience. You can change the font, font size, screen brightness, switch to sepia or black themes, and much more.

Annotate and Export Notes

Open your ebook and long-press the words you want to highlight. With your finger, drag the blue marker to the end of the sentence or paragraph. In the popup that appears, tap Highlight. To add a note, select the highlighted text and tap Note.

After you’re satisfied with your markup, tap the center of the page, followed by Contents at the top-right of the screen. Here, you can browse the table of contents, bookmarks, and notes you’ve written. Play Books doesn’t let you directly export notes. Instead, it saves them in a Google Docs file.

To keep your notes handy, enter the Hamburger menu > Settings and turn on Save notes, highlights, and bookmarks in Google Drive. By default, the file gets saved in a folder named Play Books Notes. But you can rename the folder through Settings. Now go to Google Drive and you can save the file as TXT, HTML, or PDF.

Add-on Features

Play Books distinguishes itself from other bookstores by allowing you to upload your collection of ebooks. When you do this, you can download those books to any device and sync annotations as well.

If you’re learning a new language, then Play Books also lets you learn new words. Select the entire text that you’ve highlighted, then tap Translate. The translation feature uses Google Translate in the background.

Download: Google Play Books (Free)

3. Moon+ Reader

Moon+ Reader is an innovative ebook reader designed to give you complete control over your reading experience. You can fine-tune the screen brightness and simply tap the screen to switch between day and night modes.

In Control options, you can change the controls for short press, long press, and multi-touch gestures to your liking. In Visual options, you can set the font type, size, alignment, spacing, and more.

Annotate and Export Notes

To create a highlight, drag the blue marker with your finger to the end of a sentence or paragraph. In the popup that appears, tap Highlight. From the color picker box, choose the color you want to highlight with. You can also underline or strikethrough text with different colors. Tap Note to add more information on the selected text.

When you tap Save, a transparent sticky note will appear on the text. After marking up a whole chapter, tap the Bookmarks button, then Share, and choose to export notes and highlights as TXT or HTML. If you like, you can then make a section in OneNote and start taking better notes.

The app also lets you sync reading positions and annotations (in the MRPO file format) with Google Drive. Tap Miscellaneous, then check Sync reading positions via Google Drive. When you tap Backup or Restore, it lets you sync and restore reading positions on other devices.

Download: Moon+ Reader (Free) | Moon+ Reader Pro ($5)

4. eLibrary Manager

If you manage hundreds of ebooks on your device, then it’s frustrating to deal with metadata and book information. You likely have books with incomplete information such as title, genre, and author. eLibrary manager solves this problem by letting you edit, extract, and manage metadata property in bulk.

eLibrary manager also lets you manage your ebook library with Calibre. You can set a content server, and the app will automatically import books along with their metadata. The free edition of the app lets you organize a library; you must buy the premium version to get annotation-related features.

Annotate and Export Notes

To create a highlight, long-press your finger over some text and choose Highlight from the context menu. The highlight toolbar contains the color palette box—select the color of your choice and tap Save. If you marked the wrong text, select the highlighted text again and tap Delete.

eLibrary manager also lets you mark specific locations in a book you’re reading as bookmarks and optionally add notes with more information. To create a bookmark, long-press your finger over text and choose Bookmark/Notes. You can write a note and attach it to your bookmark or highlighted text.

The app also lets you see an overview of all highlights and bookmarks. Tap More > Annotations to look at the entries with page number, summary, and the color of the highlight. To export the annotations, tap Export option from the book list. The exported data file (JSON) gets saved to a folder on your device.

Download: eLibrary Manager Basic (Free) | eLibrary Manager ($1.50)

5. FullReader

FullReader is a multifunctional reader that lets you read ebooks, comics, text files, and audiobooks. When you launch the app for the first time, it’ll scan your device for books and read their metadata. Based on this metadata, it classifies books according to genre, series, title, and author.

The app uses several options to optimize the display of ebooks. To optimize the display of ebook annotations, open Hamburger menu > Settings. Then tap Optimizing and check Annotations in file system. To highlight the text, drag your finger to the end of the sentence and tap Note on the popup. From the color picker box, choose the color of the note from either ready-made tints or the palette.

You can also create bookmarks to save your reading position and switch between pages. To create a bookmark, tap the Bookmark icon the bottom panel. After you’re done marking up, tap Bookmarks and notes to see a list of everything you’ve saved. Then tap the More menu to export your notes as a TXT file.

Download: FullReader (Free)

6. eBoox

eBoox is a well-designed and intuitive reader that lets you read ebooks, comics, Word documents, and magazines. By default, the app comes with optimal reading settings. You can load books from folders on your device and even import books from free ebook libraries.

To highlight text, drag your finger to the end of a sentence and tap Quote on the popup. If the phrase you’re highlighting is on the next page, the page will turn, and you’ll be able to continue highlighting the text. To add a note to your highlighted text, tap Write a note to a quote.

It’s also possible to sync your reading position with Google Drive. Sign in with your Google account, then any highlights and notes (and even books) you create get synced with other devices. You can also export your notes and directly share them with a note-taking app. Tap Export all quotes, then choose OneNote, for instance.

Download: eBoox (Free)

Learn More About Annotations

It’s difficult to think critically when you only passively consume information, especially online. If you find it hard to think beyond the simple context, creating annotations can help. When you do this, you think hard about how ideas connect with each other.

The reader apps discussed here will help you become a better reader and thinker. But annotations go beyond ebooks; they’re a part of the whole web. If this interests you, we have a complete guide on how and why to use annotations.

Read the full article: 6 Android Ebook Reader Apps With Great Annotation Features

6 Easy Ways to Reduce Mac Backup Sizes and Save Space

reduce-mac-backup

When you take regular backups of your Mac (which you hopefully do), you’ll eventually run into storage-related problems. After some time, you’ll run out of space on the external drive that holds your data. Or you might find that you’re paying too much for a cloud because it charges by the gigabyte. Meanwhile, a slow internet speed can make large backups slow and painful. One approach to these problems is to reduce the total amount of data you’re backing up. We’ll show you several easy steps to cut the backup size and make sure you backup only important files on…

Read the full article: 6 Easy Ways to Reduce Mac Backup Sizes and Save Space

reduce-mac-backup

When you take regular backups of your Mac (which you hopefully do), you’ll eventually run into storage-related problems. After some time, you’ll run out of space on the external drive that holds your data. Or you might find that you’re paying too much for a cloud because it charges by the gigabyte. Meanwhile, a slow internet speed can make large backups slow and painful.

One approach to these problems is to reduce the total amount of data you’re backing up. We’ll show you several easy steps to cut the backup size and make sure you backup only important files on your Mac.

1. Use Optimized Storage

In macOS Sierra and later, the iCloud Optimized Storage feature lets you save space. It does this by storing files you seldom use in iCloud and makes them available on demand. To get started, open Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage and click Manage.

open the system information window

In the list on the left panel, click Recommendations and explore the four options on the right panel. We cover three of them below.

optimized storage window Mac

Store in iCloud

Click the Store in iCloud button to store all files, photos, and messages in iCloud and save space on your Mac automatically when needed. Check Desktop and Documents to move the data from these locations to iCloud Drive and make them available on all your devices.

Similarly, check Photos to keep full-resolution photos in iCloud Photo Library and optimized versions of those items on your Mac. Keep a note of space the items in those folders occupy to avoid any surprised with the impact on your iCloud storage space and internet data caps.

store files in iCloud

Optimize Storage

Click the Optimize button and follow the prompts to have macOS remove movies and television shows that you’ve watched. You can also tell Apple Mail to Download only recent attachments or no attachments at all. Later on, if you need those items, you can download them on demand.

optimize storage option to remove huge files

Once you enable these features, macOS will perform the necessary tasks in the background. You’ll be less likely to run out of disk space and thus significantly reduce your backup size.

Empty Trash Automatically

The Trash is just another folder residing on your Mac. Moving files or folders to the Trash doesn’t delete them. Its contents continue to take up space and could result in longer backups. Right-click on the Trash icon and choose Empty Trash to clean it out manually.

To do this automatically, enable the option here to erase items that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days.

empty trash from optimized storage window

2. Uninstall Apps You Don’t Need

If you’ve installed dozens of apps, then your backups might take longer to complete. With so many apps, it’s also hard to remember the apps you last opened. Thankfully, there’s a way to tackle this problem.

Click the Applications shortcut located on Finder’s sidebar. Right-click on the column header and check Date Last Opened. You’ll then see a date and time next to all the apps.

In list view, click View and choose Arrange By > Date Last Opened. As you do this, the apps will arrange in descending order from today backwards.

sort the apps by date last opened

Then decide on apps you use frequently and which ones you can remove. While here, we recommend you make a list of apps installed on your Mac and keep it safe.

When you delete Mac apps by simply dragging them to the Trash, some files remain on your Mac. They consume disk space and thus affect backups. Consider using AppCleaner to remove extra files while uninstalling an app.

3. Split the Photo Library

The Photos app lets you create multiple photo libraries. You can keep separate photo libraries for independent personal and work photos, saving iCloud space, reducing backup size, and more.

To get started, quit the Photos app. Then press and hold the Option key while relaunching the app. In the Choose Library dialog, click the Create New button. Enter a library name and choose the location—preferably an external hard drive.

create a new photos library

A fresh copy of Photos app will launch. Import old archives, screenshots, and photos you don’t want to keep in the main collection. To switch between libraries, quit the Photos app and hold Option while restarting it again. When you see the Choose Library dialog, select the library you just created and click the Choose Library button.

switch between photo libraries

While you do get the benefit of reduced backup size, remember that Photos only lets you choose one System Photo Library. Only this library can sync with iCloud and your iOS devices. If you care about the other photo library, then consider Google Photos to back up that library.

4. Remove Duplicate Files

If you have two or more identical copies of a file on your Mac, all but one of them is a waste. With the right tools, you can quickly find and delete duplicate files that bloat your backup size.

PhotoSweeper

remove duplicate photos with photosweeper

PhotoSweeper is a fast, precise, and efficient tool to remove similar or duplicate photos from your photo collection. It works with Photos, Lightroom, and even photos scattered across your hard drive. Click the Media Browser on the toolbar to add your Photos library.

Then photos from your Photos library get added to the Photo List. Now click the Compare button and select Similar Photos mode. Adjust Time Gap and Matching Level to your needs.

Download: PhotoSweeper (Free trial, $10)

Gemini 2

gemini2-duplicate-files-scan

Gemini 2 helps you find duplicate and similar files on your Mac, including those on Photos, iTunes, and external drives. Its easy-to-use interface and smart selection algorithm lets you clean files in no time.

To get started, drag and drop a folder onto the window. Once the scan is complete, review the results and click Smart Cleanup. Gemini will move duplicates to the Trash.

Download: Gemini 2 (Free, $20 premium version available)

5. Clean Your Desktop and Downloads Folder

Your Desktop and Downloads folders likely contain a bunch of files. These folders quickly become unmanageable and clogs up backups slower. You’ll save space on your disk and make backups faster with these tricks and built-in tools to clean up folders.

Ask Where to Download Files

change the downloads folder location in safari

Instead of downloading files to a set location, you can set the browser to ask you where to download files every time. In Safari, go to Preferences > General > File download location and change it to Ask for each download.

While it’s a hassle to select folder every time, you can altogether avoid the navigation and save files easily with Default Folder X. This app lets you save a file to any directory with the press of a hotkey.

Keep Downloads Folder Clean

Most files stick around in your Downloads folder for some time. You can use Automator to automatically move any files older than, say, 90 days to the Trash.

Open Automator and create a new document. Choose Folder Action.

choose folder action in automator

Using the Choose Folder picker, find your Downloads folder.

In the left pane, click Files and Folders, then drag the Find Finder Items action into the right pane. Click the Options tab and check Ignore this action’s input. Otherwise, the file that you just downloaded will get deleted too.

setting up the rule in automator

Change the Search folder to Downloads and choose a Date Last Modified range that suits you. Click back to the Results tab and click Run to ensure you see the files you want.

In the last step, drag the Move Finder Items to Trash action to the workflow. Then save the Automator action you just created and you’re all set.

final setup of rule in automator

Hazel: Sort and Delete Files Automatically

hazel automation app

Hazel is an automation app for Mac that monitors changes in a folder, based on rules you set, and then performs a particular action. The app lets you set complex rules to sort and delete files in a single workflow.

Download: Hazel (Free trial, $32)

6. Archive Files With Cloud Storage Services

Backup and archiving serve different functions, yet you’ll often hear these words used interchangeably. Archiving lets you move files you rarely use but want to keep into secondary storage. Backup is for saving a copy of files you regularly use and don’t want to lose.

Unfortunately, most people don’t decide which files to archive instead of backing up. As a result, their backups increase in size.

If you have files suitable for archiving, you can subscribe to a service that gives you tons of storage space at a fraction of typical costs.

Backblaze B2

backblaze b2 cloud storage service

Backblaze B2 is a “cold storage” cloud service for storing files. The cost for B2 is variable based on the amount of data, bandwidth used, and transactions performed. The baseline cost of storage is $0.005 per GB per month, with the first 10GB free.

To get started, sign up for a Backblaze account. Once you enable B2 for your account, you’ll get access to Account ID and Application keys in your account settings. B2 does not include any client apps, but you can use various third-party apps that integrate with its API to upload and download data.

Amazon Glacier

Amazon Glacier is a secure, durable, and low-cost cloud storage service for data archiving and long-term backup. The baseline cost for storing data is $0.004 per gigabyte per month, with the first 10GB free. Amazon Glacier provides three options for access to archives, from a few minutes to several hours.

To get started, set up and log into your Amazon AWS account. Get the Application Keys and create a vault in Amazon Glacier. Regardless of whether you use S3 or Glacier, there are excellent third-party apps available to upload and download data through it. Some choices are CloudBerry Backup, Arq Backup, and Duplicati.

Slimmer Mac Backups, Happier Drives

Doing regular backups keeps your data safe. But if you’re not careful, you’ll run of disk space in no time. Going through these steps will keep you from having to buy a new external drive or pay for more cloud storage so soon. Plus, backups will be much faster.

And remember, you don’t have to stick with Time Machine. Check out our favorite alternate tools for backing up your Mac.

Read the full article: 6 Easy Ways to Reduce Mac Backup Sizes and Save Space