The Best Default Mac Apps That You Shouldn’t Need to Replace

default-mac-soft

When you’re setting up a new Mac, your first instinct is probably to replace as many default apps as possible with third-party alternatives. Before you do that, it’s a good idea to give native macOS apps a chance to impress you. We can’t guarantee that you’ll love them all, but you’re sure to find that not all of them need replacing. The apps below are a case in point. 1. Preview Your Mac’s default file viewer is quite versatile. You can use it to view not only PDFs and images, but also other file types such as spreadsheets, presentations, and…

Read the full article: The Best Default Mac Apps That You Shouldn’t Need to Replace

When you’re setting up a new Mac, your first instinct is probably to replace as many default apps as possible with third-party alternatives.

Before you do that, it’s a good idea to give native macOS apps a chance to impress you. We can’t guarantee that you’ll love them all, but you’re sure to find that not all of them need replacing. The apps below are a case in point.

1. Preview

viewing-a-pdf-in-preview-on-mac

Your Mac’s default file viewer is quite versatile. You can use it to view not only PDFs and images, but also other file types such as spreadsheets, presentations, and Photoshop files.

Want to split or merge PDFs? Preview can do that for you, too. It can also take screenshots, annotate content, convert it to various formats, and edit images—even batch-editing is possible.

In Finder, Preview teams up with the Quick Look feature to display file content in its entirety without having to open the app itself. To make the best of this macOS app, start with a few essential Preview tips and tricks.

2. Safari

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Safari may not be the most flexible or most powerful browser available, but it feels like the optimal choice for Mac users.

Apart from the usual browser-based activities, you can pin and mute tabs in Safari and preview links before opening them. You can also generate passwords, make web pages distraction-free, and float videos over other apps.

It’s handy that you can customize Safari behavior on a per-website basis. For example, you can autoplay content or enable location access and notifications on a select few websites.

If you’re also an iOS user, you’ll appreciate that Safari lets you switch between your Mac and iPhone/iPad browsing sessions seamlessly.

Safari is fast, power-efficient, polished, and improves with every update. (Even user pet peeves such as the lack of favicons have gone away.) With a few tweaks and extensions, you can make Safari even better. That makes it a top choice for your primary browser.

3. Photos

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If you’re a professional photographer, you might need an advanced program like Adobe Lightroom for managing and editing images. But if you’re looking for a sturdy photo management app for personal use, Photos is more than capable fulfilling that role.

It’s fast and well-organized. You can set up albums and folders, tag people in photos, add location information, and compile photos into colorful collections. With the smart albums filtering feature, your photos are easier to organize and retrieve in a few clicks. Photos can become even more powerful if you add extensions like Pixelmator and Affinity Photo to the app.

Thanks to iCloud Photo Library, you can back up your photos to the cloud and keep them in sync across all your Apple devices.

Photos also lets you turn photos into photo books, calendars, and other print products. Our starter tips for managing your Mac photo library will help you get acquainted with the Photos app.

4. QuickTime

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Before you ditch QuickTime for the ever-popular VLC right away, give QuickTime a shot. It might surprise you with its capabilities. The app not only lets you play media, but can also record audio and movies, trim and merge content, and share it to YouTube and Vimeo.

Plus, you have the option to record screencasts with QuickTime. That’s an attractive proposition given that other apps in this space are expensive. QuickTime doesn’t have advanced features like filters and effects, but those are easy enough to get with a video editor. If you need a reliable screen recorder that gets the essentials right, QuickTime is a great choice.

5. Messages and FaceTime

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Apple’s calling and messaging apps are the way to go if you want to keep in touch with other Apple device users. With Messages, you can also send text messages from your Mac to non-Apple users via your iPhone through the text forwarding feature. The Messages app ensures that you get a seamless experience when you switch Apple devices during a conversation.

FaceTime lets you make and receive both audio and video calls for free using Wi-Fi or cellular data.

macOS integrates Messages and FaceTime with other native apps such as Safari, Contacts, and Mail. This means you can start chats and calls from these apps as well.

Automator and Other Mac Utilities

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macOS comes with a stellar automation app called Automator. The app lets you set up various types of automated workflows and actions, all without having to write a single piece of code.

You can use Automator to open specific sets of webpages, batch-edit images, move folder content around, and a lot more. Learn how to use Automator with our handy example workflows.

Automator is not the only efficient macOS app or utility you need to know about. There’s also:

  • Activity Monitor: To keep tabs on your Mac’s performance
  • Digital Color Meter: To identify color values of pixels on the screen
  • Font Book: To preview, install, and delete fonts
  • Time Machine: To back up your data, migrate it to a new machine, and restore your Mac to a previous point.
  • iBooks: To manage, read, and buy books on your Mac. (It works with ePUBs and PDFs.)

You’ll find these apps either in the Applications folder in Finder, or under Applications > Utilities.

Don’t Ignore the Apps That Come With Your Mac

Native macOS apps blend into the Apple ecosystem both functionally and visually, which means you can set them up and use them with minimum fuss. Of course, if they aren’t perfect for you, it’s best to replace the default Mac apps with better alternatives.

For further reading, consult our complete guide to default Mac apps. It offers a quick overview of each app and its usability factor, so you know what apps to keep and which ones to replace.

Read the full article: The Best Default Mac Apps That You Shouldn’t Need to Replace

The 7 Best iPhone Camera Hacks You Must Try

iphone-camera-hacks

You might think you know everything about how to use your iPhone camera. After all, how hard can it be? You just point and shoot, right? Well, yes. But there’s more to it. Of course, you should apply some basic photography principles to get the best possible shot, but there’s also far more to the iPhone camera than meets the eye. Here are seven of the best iPhone camera hacks that you must try. 1. How to Turn Off the Camera Sound on iPhone Most smartphones—the iPhone included—make a shutter noise when you take a photo. It alerts you (and…

Read the full article: The 7 Best iPhone Camera Hacks You Must Try

iphone-camera-hacks

You might think you know everything about how to use your iPhone camera. After all, how hard can it be? You just point and shoot, right?

Well, yes. But there’s more to it. Of course, you should apply some basic photography principles to get the best possible shot, but there’s also far more to the iPhone camera than meets the eye.

Here are seven of the best iPhone camera hacks that you must try.

1. How to Turn Off the Camera Sound on iPhone

Most smartphones—the iPhone included—make a shutter noise when you take a photo. It alerts you (and those around you) that fact a photo has been taken, while simultaneously harking back to a more traditional era of photography.

But there are times when you don’t want to hear a noise—such as in the theater or if you’re trying to snap something secretly.

To prevent the phone from making a noise, flick the Mute switch on the side of your device into the On position (with orange showing) before you open the camera app.

iPhone-Volume-Switch

You can also use the volume down button to mute the sound. Again, make sure you do it before you open the camera app. Once open, the volume keys make the iPhone take photos in Burst mode.

Note: In some East Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea, the law requires all smartphone camera shutters to make a noise. If you live in one of these regions, even the tips described above will not override the sound—it’s hard-coded by the manufacturers.

2. How to Set a Timer on the iPhone Camera

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The first trick you should utilize if you want to take great selfies is to ditch the whole straight arm routine. Instead, place your iPhone on a nearby surface and use the timer.

This timer feature is one of the most underused iPhone camera hacks. It’s particularly useful when you’re trying to take a photo of a large group—the typical selfie approach is sure to cut someone off in their midriff.

Using the iPhone camera’s timer is easy:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Press the Timer icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. The first press will set the timer for three seconds; the second press will set it for 10 seconds.
  4. Tap the shutter.

The iPhone’s flashlight will flash every second, then flash rapidly for the final three seconds. It will take images in Burst mode.

3. How to Zoom In on the iPhone Camera

One of the most well-known iPhone camera hacks is the standard optical zoom feature. Just open the Camera app and pinch with two fingers to zoom in. A “reverse pinch” with two fingers will zoom out.

However, did you know that digital zoom is also available? On the iPhone X, 10x zoom is available on photographs, with 6x for videos.

To use the digital zoom, press the 1x icon at the bottom of the screen. Keep tapping to toggle through the different zooms.

4. How to Scan a QR Code With the iPhone Camera

ios qr code

Since Apple rolled out iOS 11 in late 2017, iPhones have had the ability to scan and read QR codes natively. Previously, you needed to use a third-party QR reader.

In case you’re not aware, QR codes are like 21st-century barcodes. When scanned, they can direct you to a website, unlock coupons, reveal contact information, or even act as a ticket for a concert or festival.

Apple could not have made it any easier to scan QR codes with the iPhone camera. Just open the app and point the camera at the code. You don’t need to press the shutter or tell your device that it’s looking at a QR code.

Once your phone has scanned the code, it will provide you with an on-screen notification to access whatever information it contains.

5. How to Recover Deleted Photos in Camera Roll

Everyone accidentally deletes a photo from time to time. If you’ve inadvertently wiped images from your gallery or your iPhone’s camera roll, you have a few options to get them back.

If you’ve set up your iPhone to make backups in iCloud automatically, the simplest way to recover the lost images is to restore one of your backups and grab the content you want.

However, given iCloud’s meager 5GB of free storage, lots of people don’t make regular backups. If you don’t have any, you can check the recently deleted photos folder. You can find this by opening the Photos app, tapping Albums in the lower right-hand corner, and scrolling down to Recently Deleted.

Lastly, if the images aren’t in the Recently Deleted album, you can try to use third-party software. The success rate of the apps is hit-or-miss, but if you’re desperate, they are worth a shot.

Some of the most well-known third-party recovery apps include iMyFone and Dr. Fone. Sadly, they are not free.

To prevent it happening in the future, back up your photos to the cloud using a more generous provider. For example, Google Photos lets you upload an unlimited number of photos for free.

Note: If you’ve paid for additional iCloud storage, there are lots of ways to put your extra space to good use.

6. How to Disable the Camera on an iPhone

ios restrict camera

Did you know it’s possible to disable the camera on an iPhone entirely? It will stop people (like your children!) from using it to take unwanted photos. Best of all, the setting is password restricted, meaning your tech-savvy offspring cannot simply turn it on again at their leisure.

To disable the camera on an iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app and go to General > Restrictions. If you’ve entered the menu before, you will need to enter your restrictions passcode. If you haven’t, you need to make one first.

Next, scroll down the Camera listing and slide the toggle into the Off position. The camera app will now disappear from the home screen, and it will not show up in search results.

7. Enable the “Level” Feature

Taking a top-down or bottom-up shot on a smartphone is tricky. Typically, your phone will not be level with the floor or ceiling, so the image will look a bit distorted.

To remedy the problem, you should enable the iPhone camera’s Level feature. But how? It’s not immediately apparent; there’s no switch or toggle within the camera app itself.

Alas, don’t fret. Just follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Camera.
  3. Turn on the Grid view.

That’s it; the on-screen level will now be visible. When your phone is perfectly level with the floor or ceiling, the crosshairs will turn from light yellow to gold.

Even More iPhone Camera Tips for You

We’ve touched on seven underused features that’ll let you hack your iPhone’s camera, but there are many more ways you can become a power user.

If you’d like to learn more, check some of the best iPhone camera accessories and iPhone camera settings that’ll help you take better photos.

Read the full article: The 7 Best iPhone Camera Hacks You Must Try

4 Practical Ways to Use Your Mac’s Image Capture App

mac-image-capture-app

macOS has some really great pre-installed apps, but not all of them are well-known. The Image Capture app is a case in point. If you’ve ignored it so far, it might be time to fix that and see how useful Image Capture can be. Let’s explore four common tasks this modest app helps you perform. 1. Import or Delete Photos From External Devices Yes, you can import photos from iOS devices, cameras, or SD cards to your Mac with iTunes or Photos. But if you’re having trouble with these apps or if you would prefer an app with a simpler…

Read the full article: 4 Practical Ways to Use Your Mac’s Image Capture App

mac-image-capture-app

macOS has some really great pre-installed apps, but not all of them are well-known. The Image Capture app is a case in point. If you’ve ignored it so far, it might be time to fix that and see how useful Image Capture can be.

Let’s explore four common tasks this modest app helps you perform.

1. Import or Delete Photos From External Devices

Yes, you can import photos from iOS devices, cameras, or SD cards to your Mac with iTunes or Photos. But if you’re having trouble with these apps or if you would prefer an app with a simpler interface, try Image Capture. It works with videos too.

After you plug the source device into your Mac and open the Image Capture app, you can:

Import Photos Directly to a Folder

First, use the Import To dropdown menu to specify the Finder folder where you want the imported photos to show up.

image-capture-import-to-dropdown-menu-mac

Next, decide if you want Image Capture to automatically delete photos from the connected device after import.

If yes, select the Delete after import checkbox in the sidebar. Is the checkbox missing? Click on the tiny icon at the bottom left of the app window to reveal it. (The icon resembles a square with an upward-pointing arrowhead within it.)

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Now, if you want to import the entire camera roll from the connected device, click on the Import All button. Otherwise, select the thumbnails of the photos you want to grab and click on the Import button.

If you have trouble finding the photos you want, here’s a way to make your search easier: click on the List View icon to the right of the sidebar at the bottom of the app window. This view lets you sort photos using various criteria such as Kind, Date, File Size, Width, and Height.

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Delete Selected Media in Bulk

Select the photos you want to delete from the external device and click on the Delete icon (circle with a slash through it). You’ll find it to the left of the Import To dropdown menu. When you see a prompt to confirm the deletion, click on the Delete button within it.

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You can’t use this delete process if you have enabled iCloud Photo Library. You’ll have to use the Photos app only. With cloud sync enabled, the delete icon will appear grayed out or be missing altogether from the Image Capture app.

A Word About Image Formats

The images on your iPhone save in the new High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF). But when you view them in Image Capture, they’ll appear as JPEGs or PNGs and import as such.

Want to import the images in the original format? You’ll have to go to Settings > Photos > Transfer to Mac or PC on your iPhone and switch from the Automatic option to Keep Originals.

It’s best to test the import function with a dummy photo or two before you import photos (and videos) in bulk. This way you can be sure that what you’re seeing is exactly what you’re importing.

Also, once you get familiar with your Mac’s Automator app, you can weave the Image Capture plugin into an automation workflow. This will allow you to, say, automatically rename imported photos or back them up to a cloud service.

2. Create Contact Sheets

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If you want to take a closer look at a few of the photos stored your device, displaying them together on a contact sheet is quite useful. You can generate one without leaving the Image Capture app. All you have to do is:

  1. Select the photos you want to include in the contact sheet.
  2. Click on MakePDF from the Import To dropdown menu.
  3. Click on the Import button.

If you aren’t happy with the layout of the contact sheet, you can select a different preset from the Layout menu. Click on Layout > New Layout if you want to create a new customized layout.

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To zone in on the details of individual photos using Preview, you can save the contact sheet as a regular PDF file.

More “Import To” Options

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You might have noticed a Build Web Page option in the Import To dropdown menu while creating the contact sheet. You can use it to display selected photos as thumbnails on a webpage instead of a contact sheet. Clicking on a thumbnail toggles its full view.

The Photos, Preview, and Mail options in the dropdown menu are also pretty useful. Photos and Preview let you edit imported photos on the fly. And with Mail, you can attach selected photos to a new email directly.

3. Scan Documents

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Scanning documents with the Image Capture app is usually a straightforward process. You don’t need the software that came with your scanner, as your Mac installs the latest scanner software automatically.

When you connect a scanner to your Mac, you should find it listed in the Devices section of the Image Capture app without any work on your part. But in some cases, you might have to set it up via System Preferences > Printers & Scanners. Once your scanner is up and running, it’s a matter of hitting the Scan button to scan your documents and images.

Want to change the image format or auto-select elements in the scanned image? You’ll need to access scan settings by clicking on the Show Details button to the left of the Scan button.

4. Assign New Default Apps for Connected Devices

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If you’re tired of having the Photos app pop up every time you connect your iPhone, you can prevent the app from appearing in future. All it takes is setting the Connecting this [device] opens dropdown menu to No application.

That’s not all. You also get to match external devices with new default apps from this dropdown menu.

For example, if you want Image Capture to open automatically when you plug in your iPhone, select Image Capture from the menu options.

Do you want to import media automatically from an external device every time you connect it to your Mac? Select the AutoImporter from the dropdown menu in that case. You’ll find the imported images in a subfolder within your Pictures folder at /Users/[Your Username]/Pictures.

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Of course, to assign an app default for a new device, you’ll have to plug the device into your Mac at least once.

A Simple and Useful Native Mac App

While Image Capture is not one of those must-have Mac apps, it’s useful in its own quiet way. Though you’ll probably only open it when you need it, you’ll be glad it’s there.

By the way, it’s not the only lesser-known tool worth a look. You might also want to explore these other in-built Mac tools for everyday tasks.

Image Credit: simpson33/Depositphotos

Read the full article: 4 Practical Ways to Use Your Mac’s Image Capture App

Clean Up Bad iPhone Photos With These 5 Decluttering Apps

clean-up-iphone-photos

If you’re snap-happy, organizing your iPhone’s camera roll can become tedious. Two tasks are especially so: comparing similar photos to select the best of the bunch, and weeding out bad photos. Why not let a smart app make these chores quick and easy for you? Pick one from the list below. Before We Begin… You should note a few important points before proceeding: Keep in mind that deleted photos end up in the Recently Deleted folder of the Photos app. Until you empty this folder, you won’t reclaim the space created by trashing the photos from your phone. To manually…

Read the full article: Clean Up Bad iPhone Photos With These 5 Decluttering Apps

clean-up-iphone-photos

If you’re snap-happy, organizing your iPhone’s camera roll can become tedious. Two tasks are especially so: comparing similar photos to select the best of the bunch, and weeding out bad photos.

Why not let a smart app make these chores quick and easy for you? Pick one from the list below.

Before We Begin…

You should note a few important points before proceeding:

  1. Keep in mind that deleted photos end up in the Recently Deleted folder of the Photos app. Until you empty this folder, you won’t reclaim the space created by trashing the photos from your phone.
  2. To manually get rid of the deleted photos for good, first open the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app. Next, tap Select at the top-right and then Delete All at the-bottom left. Your phone will also clear photos from this folder after they sit in it for 30 days.
  3. It’s best to go through the photos and other media that an app has lined up for bulk deletion. This will ensure that you don’t lose any valuable files accidentally.
  4. You’ll need to be extra careful while deleting photos from your iCloud Photo Library. Otherwise, you might end up losing important ones from all your Apple devices and iCloud as well.

Now let’s take a look at the apps we have chosen for you.

1. Remove Master for Camera Roll

The app lets you trash photos, Tinder-style. Once you’ve installed it, you can sift through your photos one-by-one, swiping left to delete a photo and swiping right to keep it. After every swipe, the next photo comes up automatically for review. It’s also handy that you can select photos by month.

Remove Master is not the only app that takes a Tinder-like approach to photo deletion. PhotoTrash ($1) and Cleen Photos (Free) are a couple of Remove Master alternatives you can check out.

Love the whole swipe-left, swipe-right approach to apps? Try the Tinder experience for email, jobs, food, and more.

Download: Remove Master for Camera Roll (Free, premium version available)

2. Remo

After scanning your photo library, Remo lines up all exact duplicates in one tab and all the similar photos in another. In both tabs, you can select the checkbox for the entire set of duplicates/similar images at once. You also have the option to select/deselect photos individually before you delete them.

Don’t worry that you’ll end up dumping all photos in a set without meaning to. Remo will stop you from doing that with an error message.

Want to exclude certain photos and sets while scanning your library in future? You can mark them as exceptions to notify Remo of your choice. You might also want to optimize the threshold for how closely you want Remo to match similar photos. To do this, head to the app’s settings.

If you want a free, simple app to remove duplicates and similar pictures in bulk, install Remo. It’s just a pity that it’s not as accurate as Gemini Photos, the next app on our list.

Download: Remo (Free)

3. Gemini Photos

Wondering if Gemini Photos has anything to do with the duplicate file finder Mac app Gemini? Yes, it does. MacPaw, the developer of Gemini, decided to clean up your iPhone’s camera roll as well with Gemini Photos.

The iPhone app automatically selects the bad photos cluttering up your phone and serves them up for review. You’ll see everything from blurry photos and duplicates to screenshots and photos with text. Whether you want to follow the app’s recommendation and trash these photos in bulk or keep any of them is up to you.

You’ll also find sets of similar photos and a “keep” recommendation by the app for the best photo in a set. But this feature is available only with a free trial for the first three days after you install the app. After that, you’ll need a paid subscription for it.

Want to leave certain photos out of future scans? No problem. All you have to do is add them to the app’s Ignore List. With Gemini Photos, you can also delete your whole photo library in one shot.

Download: Gemini Photos (Free, subscription available)

4. Dr. Cleaner

This app groups not only the redundant photos on your phone, but also screenshots, burst photos, and videos hogging too much storage space.

Once Dr. Cleaner scans your photo library, it lists these categories as tabs. You’ll find the deletion-worthy photos (according to the app) automatically selected. The app also shows you how much space you can recover with each bulk deletion.

Dr. Cleaner is not your regular photo decluttering app, as it does more than just hunting down duplicates on your iPhone. The app doubles as a duplicate contact finder, a storage maintenance app, and a photo vault.

Download: Dr. Cleaner (Free, subscription available)

5. Bulk Delete

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Bulk Delete allows you to select photos with a swipe and delete them in bulk. But that’s no big deal, since the Photos app lets you do the same.

But unlike the Photos app, Bulk Delete:

  • Makes it easier to distinguish between selected and unselected photos
  • Lets you delete your entire photo library if you wish to start from scratch

The real benefit of the app is time-based deletion. With this feature, you can choose to delete all photos taken in the last hour, or in the last 30 days, for example.

Download: Bulk Delete ($1)

Banish the Clutter From Your iPhone Photos

You stand to gain quite a bit of free space on your phone once you’re done deleting all the chaff from your camera roll.

Sure, you can always use the built-in iPhone features to manage your photos. But with the help of the apps above, you might even enjoy the process.

Read the full article: Clean Up Bad iPhone Photos With These 5 Decluttering Apps