Troubleshoot Apple's Touch ID fingerprint reader

Serenity Caldwell Associate Editor, Macworld

Serenity has been writing and talking and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, writes, acts, sings, and wears an assortment of hats.
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There’s been a lot of talk about Touch ID troubles in the news lately. Ars Technica’s Christina Bonnington wrote an excellent explainer about the iPhone 5s’s sensor itself, along with some typical issues users might run into over time, while engineer and pundit Dr. Drang wonders if your recorded fingerprint data might decay after a few months of misreads, given that the Touch ID sensor is continually trying to improve the information it has on your fingerprint.

Touch ID certainly isn’t perfect: As someone who’s been using it since I picked up my iPhone 5s on launch day, I’ve had my fair share of frustration—especially because I swapped out my simple 4-digit passcode with a multi-character alphanumeric version.

But despite its occasional malfunctions, Touch ID has become one of my favorite features on the iPhone. To make sure it stays one of yours, too, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve found to keep Touch ID working properly, as well as some advice about when you shouldn’t use it at all.

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Save time with OS X's sidebar

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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OS X’s Finder is your window onto the documents, spreadsheets, photos, and other files you’ve tucked away on your Mac and other connected computers and drives. One often overlooked Finder tool is the sidebar, the left-hand section of every Finder window where you see small icons and names for folders or other items. The sidebar is intended to give you one-click access to the items you use the most. To make sure it does, tweak the way the sidebar displays and what it contains.

See more or less

Choose what you want to see in the Finder sidebar by using this preferences window.
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Automator workflow of the month: An easier way to burn movies to DVD

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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It’s no secret that Apple has little-to-no interest in DVDs. Just take a look at the removable media drives...now missing from all new Macs. However, there are still many Mac users who not only wish to play these discs, but also create them, especially now that the holidays are at hand. What some have found particularly irksome is that iMovie 10 () has no option for sharing movies to iDVD. Although this feature is unlikely to return, you can create something a bit like it with Automator. Here’s how.

Work the workflow

To begin, you’ll naturally need to have a copy of iDVD. You’ll find it bundled with older copies of the iLife suite. (Updates are available on Apple's site, but require a previous copy of the app.) If you don't have a copy lying around, you can buy iLife '09 from Amazon.

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How to add your PDFs to iBooks and organize them

Serenity Caldwell Associate Editor, Macworld

Serenity has been writing and talking and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, writes, acts, sings, and wears an assortment of hats.
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Thanks to the new iBooks app in OS X Mavericks, it’s easy to store and read your ebooks—be they purchased from the iBookstore or elsewhere (as long as they’re in the .epub or .ibooks format). But you can also keep PDFs in iBooks, too, and even organize them to your liking—though Apple’s tools still leave a bit to be desired on that front.

Add your PDFs

Adding PDFs to the iBooks app is easy. Just drag and drop them onto the iBooks screen, or go to File > Add to Library (Shift-Command-O) and select the applicable file.

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16 secrets of Google Drive

David Chartier Contributor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

David has been covering Apple and how to get the most out of its products since 2005. Now a freelance tech writer, he runs Finer Things in Tech, jots down thoughts at DavidChartier.com, occasionally starts outlining the great American tech novel, and might still get to snowboard Breckenridge one more time.
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Google Drive—formerly Google Docs—has come quite a way in nearly a decade of existence. Originally launched as Writely, a startup’s clever collaborative word processor, Google quickly acquired the app, changed the name to Google Docs, and released it as a new way to help people work together more efficiently using little more than a browser.

Google changed the name again to Google Drive in April 2012, reflecting the ever-expanding goals and capabilities of the suite. Google Drive’s many and varied capabilities—from chat with collaborators in a document to the ability to automate your entire Drive—can sometime be surprising. I rounded up a few tips to help you get even more out of this online productivity platform.

1. Search by person

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How to work with iWork's new file formats

Ted Landau Senior Contributor, Macworld

With the recently released 2013 versions of iWork for OS X and iOS, syncing documents across Macs, iOS devices and even iWork for iCloud is now a seamless transparent process: Open and edit a document in one location, and the changes are instantly reflected at every other location that has access to the file. With very few exceptions, a document’s appearance remains identical on each platform. Warnings about file conversions and omitted features have all but vanished.

For anyone who has struggled with iWork file syncing over the years, this is fantastic news. It wasn’t always this way.

In the beginning…

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How Mac experts set up their desktops

Lex Friedman Senior Contributor, Macworld

Lex uses a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, a Kindle 3, a TiVo HD, and a treadmill desk, and loves them all. His latest book, a children's book parody for adults, is called "The Kid in the Crib." Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife and three young kids.
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These days, I work on a 13-inch MacBook Air. On workdays, I connect it to a second display—a 17-inch ViewSonic monitor. My laptop serves as the primary screen, with my Dock at the bottom, and windows arranged somewhat haphazardly: Almost all apps live on the right (laptop) display, with extra Safari windows offloaded to the second monitor.

This approach is totally normal to me. But I’ve come to realize that while maybe no man is an island, almost every Mac is: Everyone uses a different desktop setup. And it’s interesting to learn how other folks use their Macs, because it might influence how you do things.

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