How to eject a disk properly on OS X

It is oh-so-tempting to just pull that flash drive out of your USB port when you’re done with it. But resist the urge! Unceremoniously disconnecting an external drive from your Mac can result in all sorts of problems—namely, you could inadvertently damage files on the drive. Do yourself—and your data—a favor and eject your disk the proper way. OS X provides a few methods for doing so—here are three of them.

drag to trash

Drag the disk icon to the Trash can in the Dock.

Dragging the icon: This method of ejecting a disk has been around as long as the Mac itself. Click the disk icon on the desktop (assuming you have your Mac set to show disks on the desktop), then drag it to the Trash icon in the Dock—it’ll turn into an Eject symbol. Wait a few seconds for the disk to disappear from the desktop and remove your disk.

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How to delete apps on your Mac

If you’re relatively new to the Mac, it may not be immediately obvious as to how you would delete an app—after all, OS X doesn’t come with any sort of uninstaller like Windows does. Removing apps from your Mac is usually a very easy process, however, though there are some caveats.

From the Finder

Open a Finder window and navigate to your Applications folder. It should be accessible via the Favorites sidebar by default; if it isn’t there, pop open Spotlight and do a search for “Applications folder” and it should pop right up.

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How to change your Mac's default Web browser and email app

Back in the early days of OS X, Apple’s desktop operating system shipped with an Internet preference pane that let you change, among other things, your default Web browser and email app. At some point, Apple decided to put these settings in Safari and Mail, respectively, but with OS X Yosemite and later, the option to change your default Web browser returned to its rightful home in System Preferences.

If you’d like to change your Mac’s default browser, open System Preferences (look in the Apple menu if you don’t know where to find it), then click General. Next, find the pop-up menu labelled “Default web browser:” Click it, then choose whichever browser you’d like to use as your default.

change web browser

The default browser picker. Not every app that appears here is a proper Web browser, however.

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How to take screenshots on your Mac

If you’re relatively new to the Mac, you may not realize that OS X comes with a full suite of screenshot tools. Apple did a good job at hiding them, but once you know how to use OS X’s screenshot feature, it might just become an indispensable part of your workflow. Let’s take a look.

Take a screenshot using keyboard shortcuts

The easiest way to take screenshots on OS X may be to use one of the following keyboard shortcuts. 

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How to check your Mac's free hard drive space

In today’s era of multi-terabyte hard drives, many of us don’t keep as close an eye on our disk usage as we used to. Still, even the largest drives fill up eventually. If you don’t know how to check your disk space use on OS X, here’s where to look.

Option 1: From the About box

about box storage

OS X’s About box is the easiest way to see your hard drive’s free space.

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Power tips for managing files in Apple’s Finder

While some of OS X’s applications have their own data structures—like Mail and Photos—Finder is likely where you will be doing most of your file organization. After you have created or collected hundreds (if not thousands) of files on your Mac, you might often find yourself needing to move these items around, print them, open them, and delete them so frequently that the basic uses of the mouse become somewhat limiting.

That’s where hidden options, like special hotkeys and modifiers, come in— you can use these to enhance your file management. With practice, you’ll eventually be able to quickly access what you need and organize it accordingly. Here is a handful of our favorite Finder tips and tricks.

Use Spotlight to reveal files 

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