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  1. Computer Skills
  2. OS X
Computers

The Top Five Most Annoying Parts of Using a Mac and How to Fix Them

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In my opinion Macs are almost perfect.  They have very low failure rates and their operating system is second to none.  Rarely, if ever, do users see a blue/gray screen of death.  For lack of a better phrase, they just work.

They aren’t totally perfect though.  In this tutorial I'll identify the top five most annoying things about Macs and, more importantly, how to fix them.

I'll show you how to:

  • Remove the quacks/clicking sounds whilst adjusting the volume
  • Combat notification overload
  • Add a secondary click to your mouse or trackpad
  • Lock your mac if you need to step away for a bit
  • Adjust the scroll to a more natural feel

Let’s get started!


Screencast


The Top Five Most Annoying Parts of Using a Mac and How to Fix Them

The Quacking During Volume Adjustment

That quack you hear as you move your volume up or down can get really old really quick.  So I recommend holding down the shift key as you change your volume.  And just like that; no more quack!  I only wish someone had shown me this trick sooner.

Adjust Mac volume without making a sound
Adjust Mac volume without making a sound

Notification Overload

“I need more things popping, dinging, or doing something to interrupt my train of thought as I work”--No one. Ever.

If you are growing tired of all the notifications from every program you install, it may be worth taking the time to either turn them off entirely or setting some Do Not Disturb hours.

Go to System Preferences, then Notifications.

A list of all the applications using Notification Center.
A list of all the applications using Notification Center.

A scrolling list of applications with notification access will appear on the left and some great Do Not Disturb settings will appear to the right. Adjust to your preferred level of sanity and enjoy!


Setting Up a Secondary Click

Regardless of whether you are using the trackpad or a Magic Mouse, you may have noticed a distinct lack of an secondary-click.  But fear not!  There are a few different ways to send that illusive secondary-click signal to your computer.

The easiest way is to hold down the control key while clicking.  This will send the proper signal and yield the expected result.  However, constantly control-clicking could get annoying too.

To implement a more permanent solution, go to System Preferences then either mouse or trackpad.  Look for the Secondary Click setting.  Make sure it has been enabled, and choose the part of the trackpad or mouse you would like to use to trigger it.

Enable secondary click on the Trackpad
Enable secondary click on the Trackpad

Lack of a Built-in Lock

Nowadays our computers hold extremely sensitive personal and professional information. It is only natural, therefore, that you would want to password lock it anytime you step away.  Unfortunately Macs don’t make this intuitive to setup.

The remedy will actually be a two step process.  Step one will be to set your screensaver to require a password every time it gets stopped.  The second step will be to set a hot corner to fire up that screen saver as needed.

To complete step one, go to System Preferences then Security & Privacy.  Make sure the box next to Require password after sleep or screen saver begins is checked.  Also make sure the drop down in there is set to immediately.

Require a password after screensaver or sleep
Require a password after screensaver or sleep

To complete step two, return to System Preferences and choose Desktop & Screensaver.  Look for a button on the bottom right called Hot Corners.  Choose the corner you would like to use and choose Start Screen Saver from the drop down box.

Start the screensaver using hot corners
Start the screensaver using hot corners

Going forward, whenever you move your cursor to the selected corner, the screensaver will fire up.  As soon as someone tries to start using the computer again, they will be prompted for the password.


Setting the Correct Scroll Direction

When I bought my new Macbook Air, one of the biggest problems I ran into was the scroll on the trackpad.  I would flick up and it would scroll down.  I would flick down and it would scroll up.  It felt like I was in a bizarro world.  I’m told this particular type of scroll feels more natural to the masses, but it was anything but natural to me.

To invert the scrolls and set them back to a more natural feel for you, go to System Preferences.   Then choose mouse or trackpad (depending on what you are using).  Under the scroll section look for the box next to Scroll Direction: Natural and make sure it it not checked.

Uncheck natural scroll on the trackpad
Uncheck natural scroll on the trackpad

This will return the "un-natural" scroll that, in reality, feels so very very natural.


Conclusion

I have just shared my top five annoyances and how to overcome them.  There may be one or two in here that apply similarly to you.  If so, I trust the fixes I have provided bring a bit more sanity to your user experience.  If not, leave a comment below with your top annoyances.  

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