System Preferences

How to make your Mac turn on and off on a schedule

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Your Mac can be made to power on and shut down on a custom schedule. Having your computer start up 15 minutes or so before you get up from bed in the morning is a great way to have your emails, photos, messages, calendars and other personal information items updated and refreshed before you even touch the keyboard. This helps reduce the time necessary to wait to use the machine.

Conversely, you may want to set your Mac to shut down at a specified time rather than sleep in order to save power. For instance, my custom power schedule is set to automatically shuts down my MacBook Air about half an hour after I finish working on workdays.

You can use the scheduling feature in your Battery settings to set a time for your Mac to automatically start up, wake, sleep, restart or shut down. This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how and why to set up a custom power schedule in macOS and when it might be more convenient to put your Mac to sleep instead.

How to automatically hide (and show) the Dock on Mac

MacBook desktop with the Dock hidden from the screen

By default, the Dock is always visible at the bottom of the screen of your Mac, sometimes taking important screen real estate, especially if you are using a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. If you don't like having the Dock permanently show on your screen, you can easily set it up so it automatically hides and shows. In this short tutorial, we'll show you how to do that.

How to change the behavior of Control, Option, Command and Caps Lock keys on Mac

macOS provides an enhanced keyboard remapping feature that allows you to change the behavior of the special modifier keys on your Mac's keyboard, such as Caps Lock (⇪), Control (⌃), Option (⌥) and Command (⌘).

For example, you could remap the Caps Lock key to trigger the Escape command.

This feature is especially useful if you’re familiar with a keyboard layout different from your current keyboard or are an experienced touch typist who finds some of the default modifier key actions a bit awkward to use. In this tutorial, you'll learn about remapping the Mac's modifier keys to non-default actions.

No Escape key on your MacBook Pro? Sierra lets you remap its function to a modifier key

With less than 24 hours away until Apple's “Hello again” Mac event, images of an unreleased MacBook Pro found in the latest macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update have all but confirmed a rumored OLED touch bar replacing the row with hardware function keys.

The Internet immediately complained about the apparent loss of the hardware Escape key that seems to have fallen victim to these programmable OLED keys. While the OLED Bar could display a soft-Escape key in the left corner, users can now assign its function to one of the hardware modifier keys.

As Jeff Geerling first noted yesterday, the latest macOS 10.12.1 Sierra update now conveniently lets you remap an Escape action to a Caps Lock, Control, Option or Command modifier key—which wasn't possible in earlier macOS editions.

Dark Mode discovered in Safari and System Preferences on macOS Sierra

It looks like iOS 10 may not be the only Apple operating system to include dark interface assets as Mac developer Guilherme Rambo tweeted out a number of screenshots showing a dark interface theme in several stock applications on macOS Sierra, including Safari and System Preferences.

This mode is different in appearance than macOS's existing setting for enabling dark menu bar and the Dock in System Preferences → General.

11 System Preferences tricks every Mac owner should know

System Preferences, a built-in macOS application analogous to Settings on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, lets you customize the Mac to your liking.

You can, for example, adjust the size and location of the Dock, change your desktop background, set your computer’s clock to a different time zone, add or remove user accounts, dive deep into network settings and much more.

Whenever you feel like making changes to your Mac's settings, System Preferences is the one app you're most likely going to use. Despite it being one of the most-frequently used applications on the Mac, some folks are unaware of its less-visible features designed to make finding the right setting a breeze.

In this tutorial, you will learn about the most important System Preferences shortcuts and how you can leverage them to make the most from the app.

How to quickly locate a specific setting on your Mac

Just like the familiar Settings application on an iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, the macOS System Preferences is probably the most frequently used application on your Mac.

If you're new to the Mac, System Preferences—much like the Control Panel on Windows—is a one-stop shop for adjusting various settings on your computer. Various settings are categorized into logical sections and laid out as a grid of  preference pane icons.

In this post, we're going to outline five different time-saving ways to jump quickly into any specific setting nested within System Preferences.

How to customize your view of System Preferences icons on your Mac

Like iOS's built-in Settings app, the System Preferences application on OS X lets you customize the various aspects of your Mac to your liking.

For instance, you can adjust the size and location of the Dock, select a desktop background, set your computer’s clock to a different time zone, customize how your keyboard, mouse and trackpad work and much more.

With System Preferences, changing your computer's settings happens in one easily accessible central place. Our recent tutorial has shown you how to manually remove a third-party pane from System Preferences if it stays intact after uninstalling its container app.

Today, we're going to discuss customizing your view of System Preferences and teach you to organize System Preferences icons and show and hide individual icons from the view.

How to manually remove System Preferences panes from your Mac

Some third-party apps you install on your Mac might nest custom panes within OS X's System Preferences, mostly those distributed outside the Mac App Store due to sandboxing requirements. Uninstalling such an app automatically removes the underlying pane from System Preferences but not always, leaving you scratching your head.

Case in point: Tuxera's MacFUSE, a dynamically loadable kernel extension.

I needed to mount files to an NTFS-formatted drive the other day so I installed MacFUSE. After removing the app a few days later using its own uninstaller, I noticed its pane in System Preferences was left intact. Should that happen to you, here's how you can safely remove stubborn System Preferences panes from your Mac.