If you’ve downloaded a lot of applications from the Mac App Store, your Purchases list may get really long—too long to be useful or navigable. If your Purchases list is getting unwieldy, you can hide some of the apps on it. OS X Hints reader rombaldi found a way to do just that—and then undo it later if you wish. Note that this trick is similar to, but distinct from, a technique that works in the iTunes App Store.
In the Mac App Store, go to the Purchases tab and hover your cursor next to the Install button of an app you want to hide. A small X will appear; click on that to hide the app.
Bringing hidden apps back is simple, too, if slightly less intuitive: Click on the Account link on the main page of the Mac App Store under Quick Links. Enter your password, then click View Account. If you’ve deleted at least one app, you’ll see an iTunes in the Cloud section in that account window. In that section, click View Hidden Purchases, then click on the Unhide button for any apps you want to return to your Purchases list.
With the switch from Snow Leopard to Lion, some users have reported a peculiarity in the way OS X handles multiple workspaces. (Those virtual desktops were managed by Spaces in Snow Leopard, by Mission Control in Lion): If you try to assign a given app to a specific Mission Control workspace, that assignment doesn’t always stick. And if you try to tell an app to appear in every workspace, that may not stick, either. If you’ve been experiencing this sticking problem, an anonymous Hints reader found a workaround solution.
Typically, you assign an app to a specific workplace in OS X Lion either by dragging it from one workspace to another in Mission Control or by going to the workspace you want, opening the app there, then right-clicking on the app’s Dock Icon and selecting This Desktop from the Options menu. To assign an app to every workspace, you need to go to that same Dock icon menu and select All Desktops instead.
If those assignments aren’t sticking, try switching them around: In other words, if you’ve tried to assign a given app to one specific workspace, go to the Dock icon and select All Desktops instead. Close the menu, then open it back up and select This Desktop. In the same way, if you want an app to appear in all desktops, go the Dock icon menu, select This Desktop, close the menu, open it up again, and select All Desktops. Toggling those selections may make the app behave the way you want it to.
Many Mac OS X hints involve quick trips into System Preferences. The app, built into the operating system, gathers together all sorts of systemwide options—which is why it can get a bit cluttered.
An anonymous Hints reader shared a great tip for cleaning up System Preferences by hiding those icons that you need to access less often. This technique was introduced with Lion, but we realized we hadn't yet written it up.
In the System Preferences app (launched from the Dock or from the Applications folder), go the View menu and select Customize. Or, alternatively, click and hold on the Show All button in the System Preferences header, and then choose Customize at the very bottom of the pop-up menu. In either case, you'll see all of your available Systems Preferences icons, with a checkbox next to each one.
The Stickies app built into Mac OS X isn’t for everyone, but its devotees—and I count myself among them—can’t live without it. Using the app, which lets you play Post-It-style notes on your desktop, is pretty simple. But a pair of hints from Keir Thomas’s excellent Mac Kung Fu streamlines the steps for starting a Sticky so simply that you’ll soon be Stickying more speedily than ever before.
The first option Thomas shares involves using a built-in Service. We’ve extolled Services plenty, but one such Service makes the act of creating a new note as easy as highlighting the text and/or images you want to jot down and pressing a keyboard shortcut. That shortcut? Command-Shift-Y. (That’s the same as going to the current application’s self-named menu, choosing Services, and then selecting Make New Sticky Note.) Your new note will near-instantly appear on your screen, containing the text you just had selected.
With Lion, Apple introduced local Time Machine snapshots. This mostly-silent feature lets your Mac use free space on your main drive to create iterative backups of your files when you’re away from your external Time Machine disk.
By default, Apple disables local snapshots on desktop Macs; the assumption is that you only need them when you're using a laptop, and that your trusty desktop machine is always connected to a Time Machine drive. But what if that’s not always the case? Perhaps you disconnect your Time Machine drive to connect other USB peripherals, or maybe you share the drive with other folks in your home. In any case, there's a way to enable local Time Machine snapshots on desktop Macs that Keir Thomas (author of the excellent Mac Kung Fu) discovered. All it takes is a quick trip to Terminal.
Quick Look is a delightfully simple way to browse the contents of the files on your Mac without launching their parent apps. (Select a file, press the space bar, that's it.) But if you’re looking at, say, a PDF or Word document, Quick Look can frustrate, because it doesn't provide any way to select and copy text; if you find a snippet of text you’d like to copy and paste, you still need to launch the parent app. Unless, that is, you know a secret shared by Keir Thomas (author of the excellent Mac Kung Fu).
To make text selectable in Quick Look previews, you just need to enable a hidden Finder setting. Select and copy the code below, open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities), paste that code at the prompt, then press Return:
Launchpad takes the iOS home screen springboard and recreates it on your Mac. Some users love this new Lion feature; others aren't sold. If you're among the latter, you can ignore Launchpad pretty easily: Remove its icon from your Dock, turn off the Launchpad gesture, and you can live fairly Launchpad-free from then on. But what if you want to get a fresh-start with Launchpad, configuring it to give you quick access only to those apps you choose?
You could manually remove entries from Launchpad while it's onscreen by holding down the Option key and clicking on the jiggling apps. But that won't work on stock Apple apps, which seem permanently affixed to Launchpad’s surface. And it's a laborious process if you have a lot of apps.