A handful of hidden 10.5 tips

As you’ve read about in any number of articles here over the last week or so, OS X 10.5 (Leopard) has improvements to be found across the board, from brand new features ( Time Machine, Spaces ) to greatly improved applications ( Automator, Finder, iCal ). As you’ve seen from our articles, there’s a lot to learn about these major features.

But even beyond the 300-plus OS X 10.5 features that Apple categorized, there are numerous additional small improvements. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a number of these quick-and-easy but not necessarily obvious little tips—the stuff that Apple did, but didn’t feel like telling anyone about. (Dan Frakes has already covered one of my favorites, the permanent removal of the 3-D dock.)

Fast access to System Profiler: You’ve always been able to launch System Profiler from the Apple menu—just select About this Mac, then click the More Info button. But in OS X 10.5, it’s gotten even easier: just press the Option key down, either before or after activating the Apple menu, and you’ll see that About this Mac changes into System Profiler. (And here’s a side hint about System Profiler—it can now show you the potential burning speed of your recordable media. Just click on the Disc Burning entry in the Contents column, then insert your recordable media. System Profiler will then tell you the speed at which it can write to that media.)

Easier private browsing in Safari: If you use Safari’s private browsing feature a lot, you’re probably tired of the “are you sure?” confirmation dialog that appears every time you use this mode. In OS X 10.4, you couldn’t do much about it. In OS X 10.5, though, just hold down the Option key when you select Safari -> Private Browsing, and you’ll bypass the confirmation dialog.

Put the Finder in all Spaces: While Spaces is a very cool feature, one thing that can get annoying is how the Finder behaves—certain Finder-related events in certain programs may shift your active space to one showing a Finder window. You can avoid this problem by assigning the Finder to every space. In Spaces’ System Preferences panel, click the plus sign to add a new assignment. When the file browser shows up, navigate to /System -> Library -> CoreServices, click on Finder, then click the Add button. Back in the Assignments window, click the Space column next to Finder, and set it to All Spaces. Now you’ll see Finder windows in all of your spaces.

The opposite of this hint can also be used—even if you don’t want the Finder in all spaces, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the first space; you can assign it to any space you like. If you have nine spaces, for instance, it might make the most sense to have Finder assigned to space number five, which is the central spot amongst your Spaces.

There you have it; three OS X 10.5 tips to get your week started. (If you haven’t upgraded yet, don’t worry—I’ll still have tips on older OS X releases as well.)

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