Tutorial

How to customize system app icons in Mac OS X

My colleague Timothy Reavis shared just a couple of years ago how you can customize the icons of apps on your Mac. On the other hand, it would seem the process to do this has changed slightly in OS X El Capitan.

In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you a method that works on Apple’s latest operating system release for Mac.

Ensuring your Mac is receiving updates about new malware and compromised web plug-ins

Among the plethora of built-in OS X features that help keep your Mac secure is something called File Quarantine, a download validation technology that checks any downloads for known malware when you try to open them.

File Quarantine is also available in compatible applications like Safari, Messages, iChat and Mail that download files from the Internet or receive files from external sources, such as email attachments.

Additionally, OS X blocks compromised versions of web plug-ins from functioning, including Java web apps and Adobe Flash content, to further limit your Mac’s exposure to potential zero day exploits.

In this tutorial, we’ll discuss how you can make sure that File Quarantine updates are turned on, which will allow your Mac to receive latest malware definitions and information about compromised web plug-ins from Apple.

How to create blank disk images with Disk Utility

Should you ever find yourself in the need to create blank disk images, OS X’s built-in Disk Utility is your friend. A disk image usually has a .dmg extension and appears, looks and behaves like any ordinary file, with one key exception: launching it prompts OS X to mount the volume on the desktop.

These mountable disk images can be useful in a number of situations. For example, you may want to create blank disk images for storage.

Furthermore, disk images can be used as a virtual disk for software distribution, to burn CDs or DVDs and so forth. In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn how to create blank disk images in Disk Utility, at any size, with optional password protection, formatting options and more.

Tip: quickly turn off your Mac’s screen with this handy keyboard shortcut

If you don’t want a bystander to read what’s on your Mac’s screen or just want to temporarily shut off the display—for instance, to save battery—you can take advantage of several built-in OS X features.

For that purpose, I’d typically define hot corners in Mission Control settings so that moving the mouse pointer to the upper left corner would instantly start my screen saver. The problem is, even a blank screen saver won’t completely shut off the display.

As it turns out, OS X makes your life even easier by providing a dedicated keyboard shortcut to quickly turn off a Mac’s display without having to define a screen saver or use dedicated third-party applications.

The ultimate guide to protecting your private information in Notes from the prying eyes

According to Apple, Notes is one of the most popular and most-frequently used stock applications on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

People use Notes for everything from memorizing recipes to keeping track of errands, creating shopping lists, storing inspirational quotes and even passwords, codes and medical data.

Not all notes contain sensitive information, but many do. Beginning with iOS 9.3 and OS X El Capitan 10.11.4, you can protect your notes with a password or Touch ID.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to set up Notes protection, secure items on a note-by-note basis so no one can view their contents and more.

About OS X System Integrity Protection aka ‘Rootless’ and how to disable it

All Macs with OS X El Capitan installed on them have a new layer of security known as System Integrity Protection, which has been given the nickname ‘Rootless’ because it closes off a lot of system files to user access to prevent malicious programs and code from causing harmful changes to the core of OS X.

For some, the added security feels like a must for protection of your personal information, but for more advanced users who poke their noses into system files quite often, the feature can get in the way and prevent user modifications to the operating system. In this tutorial, we’ll give you an overview of System Integrity Protection and show you a way to disable it.