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Quick Tip: Text Replacement in iOS and Mac

Text ReplacementApple has baked in text replacement (aka, text substitution) in Mac OS X and iOS. This can take the drudgery out of typing frequent things like your email address whether on your Mac or iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch). You just need to know it’s there and how to configure it. Both of which are simple.

Mac OS X

  1. Click System Preferences.
  2. Click Keyboard.
  3. Click the Text tab.

To create a new replacement, click the plus-sign (+) under the list.

To edit an existing replacement by clicking once to highlight the row then click onto the text in either the Replace or With cells to change them.

You can delete a replacement by clicking to highlight the row and then click the minus-sign () at the bottom of the list to delete that item.

iOS

  1. Tap the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Keyboard.
  4. Tap Text Replacement.

To create a new replacement, tap the plus-sign (+) in the upper right corner. Under Phrase type the long text string (like your email). Under Shortcut, enter the short text string that will invoke the replacement action. Then tap Save.

To edit an existing replacement, tap the row. Then, like described above, edit the Phrase and Shortcut and tap Save.

To delete a replacement, swipe your finger to the left on a row to expose the red delete button. Tap Delete.

Handoff Problem for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8

HandoffI was eager to upgrade my MacBook Air from Mavericks to Yosemite to give the Handoff feature a try. I downloaded the update and installed it.

And Handoff refused to work.

I checked all the settings. I searched the forums. I maddeningly checked the settings and forums again again. Everything was right, but nothing worked. At least not consistently.

Until I turned off Handoff in my iPhone and turned it back on. Bingo! It all came to life.

I also rebooted the iPhone (see how to do that the right way) and the MacBook. I even waited a while to test it again. No hiccups. Everything continued to work fine.

Here are the main steps:

  1. On iPhone, go to Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps.
  2. Ensure Handoff is toggled on (this is the setting I turned off and back on to get everything working right).
  3. Make sure your iPhone Bluetooth is on under Settings > Bluetooth.
  4. On the Mac, go to Settings > General, then scroll down a bit and ensure that “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices” is checked.
  5. To be safe, reboot your Mac and iPhone (do this the right way).

I hope this helps someone else suffering the same frustration.

 

Flash, Safari & Mavericks

OS X Mavericks

 

One of my favorite features of OS X Mavericks on my MacBook Air is its power saver. During the Mavericks keynote, Apple showed how animations ceased when they were obscured by other windows. Inarguably a great feature to save a laptop’s battery.

But I found another great feature related to this power saver: It prevents Adobe Flash advertisements from playing automatically. Hallelujah!

Suspended Flash Element

 

When Steve Jobs initiated his assault on Flash by flat-out ignoring it in iOS, I saw his point. Seeing how Apple has continued their drive to kill Flash, it kinda makes smile and chuckle. If a day comes when I don’t get prompted to update Flash, it won’t come too soon. Oh, and let’s not forget that Adobe “shared” my username and password with hackers. Good on ya, Apple.

Have Your Mac Listen to You

Mac Mic Icon

Do you hate to type? Do you have a late-model Mac? Then you’ll love this tip!

Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.x) has a surprisingly robust voice dictation engine built right in, but it’s not on my default. The only catch is that it requires an Internet connection.

So let’s enable it:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. In the System category, click Dictation & Speech.
  3. For Dictation:, click the radio button for On.
  4. Review other settings to  further customize your experience if you wish (check the Text to Speech  tab, too*) and then close the Dictation & Speechwindow.

Listen Now

* In the Text to Speech tab, you can even have the system announce when you have an alert, and it might be cool once or twice before you turn it off.

Double tap the fn key (lower left of your keyboard) to begin the voice recognition. Press the Return key to end it.

Here are a few other tips to get more value from using this feature.

Remember to say punctuation like “comma” and “period” and “exclamation mark”. Say “new line” for a carriage return and “new paragraph” for (you guessed it) and new paragraph. For ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, say “all caps” before each word. The system supports names, proper pronouns, money, and dates, so speaking naturally should work fine. Apple has a resource that details all the supported commands.

Safari on the Mac: Show Status Bar for Better Security

By default, Apple’s Safari Web browser on the Mac does not show the Status Bar. While this makes the interface simpler and arguably more aesthetically pleasing, it also removes a key tool for browsing the Web more securely.

MacBook Laptop with Safari Open

How does the Status Bar offer better security? Well, when you hover over a link with the Status Bar is visible, you can see the URL for that link. This is helpful when you get an “urgent” email from your bank about a possible breach in their username and password database. You can hover your cursor over the “See if you are affected” link in the message and see where it will take you before you actually click it. So if it shows “https://wellsfargo.com/login”, you have some confidence that the link is ligitimate. If you see “http://wellsfargo.r9dzz.co.rr/”, you know there’s a real reason to be suspicious.

Show Status Bar

To show the Status Bar:

  1. Click View on the menu bar across the top of your screen.
  2. Click Show Status Bar.

Pretty easy, eh?