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Mac: Tips and Tricks

1. Copy and Paste between devices

We love this feature that arrived in macOS Sierra.

Universal Clipboard is an extension to the Continuity features introduced in Mac OS X El Capitan. With Universal Clipboard you can cut and copy items on your macOS and iOS devices, and paste them on to other devices.

This means you can copy and paste text, images, photos and even video between devices without having to resort to Airdropping or emailing them to yourself.

It's a seamless process - if it doesn't work, check you have Bluetooth turned on on both your Mac and iPhone.

You just press Control-C on your Mac and then hold down and select Paste on your iPhone (or vice versa). So long as you're logged in using the same Apple ID on both devices, it'll work automatically.

While it's not the most complex feature, we think that Universal Clipboard could be one of the most practical, and useful, new features introduced in macOS Sierra.

It doesn't transfer the file across the internet. Instead, it uses peer-to-peer sharing via Bluetooth (we suspect it's similar to AirDrop).

2. Sign things using your trackpad

If you've got a finger and a Mac laptop or Magic Trackpad then you can sign PDFs within Preview.

Open the PDF you need to sign and click on the toolbox icon at the top right of the Preview toolbar (next to the search field).

Then click the signature icon beneath (it looks like a squiggle). Then click Create Signature, ensure the Trackpad tab is selected, and then click to begin as directed. When you've finished you can select the signature from the menu, then drag it to wherever you want it to appear.

If you intend to make good use of this feature then you might want to use a touchscreen stylus, which will work just as well on a trackpad as it does on an iPhone or iPad. (A biro won't work, so don't try it!)

You'll be able to use your signature scribbles from with Quick Look when macOS Mojave arrives - so you won't even need to open Preview! (See our section on Mojave Quick Look markup features above).

Here's a tutorial that explains more about using Preview to make a signature on a Mac.

3. Record your iPhone or iPad's screen

Since Yosemite, you can now record whatever happens on the screen of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, which isn't just useful for developers to show off the apps and games they build, but can also be great for things like creating little tutorials or even just recording a bug so you can help a developer or a company fix it.

To use this feature, you just connect your iOS device up to your Mac using its cable, then launch QuickTime Player. Then choose New Movie Recording from the File menu and then, if it's not already selected for you, choose your connected iOS device as the 'camera' source from the drop-down menu next to the record button. Choose whether you want to record sound (either from a built-in or external mic or the audio the iOS device itself is producing) from the same menu, then click the record icon. Once you're done, you can trim the clip (⌘T) and then easily share it too, for example, YouTube.

4: Use your iPad as a secondary Mac display

Have you been feeling like your laptop’s display just doesn’t offer enough display anymore for the workload you have? Apple understands, which is why the company rolled out its Sidecar feature in its latest macOS, macOS Catalina. This allows that iPad that's just been sitting around on your coffee table more functionality in your day to day.

Before you start, make sure that you have macOS Catalina installed on your Mac and the latest iPadOS installed on your iPad. Also, you must be signed in to iCloud on both devices using the same Apple ID. Lastly, make sure that you’ve got both Bluetooth and WiFi turned on.

To use Sidecar, just follow these steps: First, click the Airplay icon in the menu bar on your computer then select the iPad you’d like to use. This lets you connect the two devices wirelessly. To use a wired connection, simply connect the two with a compatible cable.

Once the two are connected, whether wirelessly or via cable, the Sidecar icon will replace the Airplay icon on the menu bar. Click the Sidecar icon, and select “Use As Separate Display” if you want to utilise it as an extended display or “Mirror Built-in Retina Display” to use it as a mirrored display.

And there you go! You can now use your iPad as a secondary display. Just remember, to take advantage of this feature, you must have a Mac computer released in 2016 or later and an Apple pencil compatible iPad model.

Compatible iPad models:

• All iPad Pro models

• 6th-generation iPad

• 5th-generation iPad Mini

• 3rd-generation iPad Air

5: Block a sender in Mail

Are you fed up with Mail nagging you with a big red badge announcing that there are 2,500 unread messages? If you want to clear out your inbox and get your email under control a new feature in Catalina Mail will be handy.

You will be able to easily block a particular email sender and at the same time move all their emails into the Trash.

To block a sender just click on their name in any email header and you will see the option to block.