Random OS X Tips


macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
What random tips do you have for OS X users? I've been using OS X since late 2006 and have learned a lot, but there's always something new here and there. Maybe you know of something or do something a certain way that others may just never have thought of.

I'll start.

Here's a section of my main finder window:

"Files" is a folder I made within my user directory to store all documents, photos, and any other files. If I want to do a clean install, I simply copy that one folder, which grabs all but my iTunes library which sits in it's default spot.

"Apps" is a folder I made with aliases to the main applications folder, and the most frequently used apps that aren't in the dock. I like to keep the dock somewhat small. If necessary, I can go to the main apps folder to look for a program that is hardly used.

"Maintenance" as you can see is just things to monitor, backup, or edit stuff on the mac. I like having it all in 1 place.

I use Safari since I don't require anything fancy for my browsing requirements. I couldn't find a home page I liked, so I simply made one myself, which most people probably wouldn't think of. Just a background with links to certain sites.

I have my bookmarks organized a certain way too. Within the "Bookmark Toolbar" are folders rather than book marks. Within the folders, are bookmarks to sites.
One is named "Archive" where I'll save random things here and there,
"Wallpapers" for any site with wallpapers,
"Sites" for places like this,
"Resources" which are mostly tools or information sites like speedtest.net.


I've recently discovered GeekTool, which is pretty cool. If you haven't tried it, you should give it a shot. It displays info on the desktop in almost any way you want, lots of customization. I currently have the date on one side, and on the other is the Top 5 running processes, system information, CPU usage, uptime, network traffic (in/out), firewall log, and console log.

Desktop lyrics is something to display song title/lyrics from currently playing iTunes tracks. I like it, maybe others will too.

Just Looking Simple Image viewer which I prefer over Preview for viewing pictures. It can scroll through pictures within a folder, and play animated .gifs aswell.

A lot of people seem to run Transmission but have a problem with the port being blocked. If you can't seem to unblock it via port forwarding, then OS X is probably blocking it. In that case, entering the firewall settings in System Preferences> Sharing, and opening the port from there with a new rule may fix it.

Apple Scripts

I don't have much of these since I'm basically programming illiterate. I'm sure if I could program I could come up with a lot more useful ones. The only ones I have that work are usually someone else's that I've found.

Oh well, so far I've got one that is a droplet. When I drop an image on, it sets that image as the desktop background. Another just shows me the newly added item in the main "applications" folder, and the rest are rsync scripts I made to backup to an external HDD.

iTunes artwork

This isn't for everyone, but if you have songs that aren't actually from albums, or just don't have cover art, then there is a way to fill in those empty coverflow spots. What I did was just google search most artists to get a logo or something displaying their name, and added that as the main artwork for every song regardless of the album. If I couldn't find a suitable image, I used an image generator to make something since I suck at photoshop. I just used this generator which has different styles: http://glowtxt.com/

Now everything is filled, and when lyrics are displayed on the iTouch, you can see what artist it is in the background. As I said, it's not for everyone, some people like having the original cover art on their albums.


macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
Safari isn't bad but I have a preference for Firefox myself for me its got some of the best add ons I especially enjoy the search features I can add on, I use Tin-eye to do research to find origins of images I happen to run across it can cross check a pic somebody posts and show the results tracing the images original or earliest known online source. Stumbleupon is addictive as hell but useful when I'm bored, I get the weather just by looking at the bottom of the browser, and I can even get a few neat little hacking tools.

File sharing is important since we have 5 computers in the house too so we use VNC for remotes and e/aMule for file sharing most of the time.

if you do any graphic work Gimp is a good one to have its comparable to PS (the version I use requires X-11, but I have been digging around for the standalone version for OSX--I used to have that version of Gimp but lost it after I did my mod and reinstalled 10.5 and haven't been able to find it again since)

I have a preference for Open source over paid licenses for most things if they work well enough I have a few apps that are licensed through Apple though because some things don't port well from Linux


macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
don't think I've ever heard of eMule. I know I wanted a P2P app before on mac but have since abandoned all use for it.

I do have Gimp which requires X11 on Tiger 10.4 but I don't really know how to use it. I also use LiveQuartz which does simple things. It allows transparent layers, I can fade images by adjusting their transparency, paint lines, and use some effects built-in to OS X, such as those effects used in Photobooth.

Quicktime Pro is a decent basic video editor, but I'm disappointed that it lacks the ability to save things. For example: You can adjust the audio levels of different tracks, it's fully capable of it, but it won't save that to the file itself. Those seem like simple options but they're missing, and I don't much like iMovie. It seems to reject most file types, as if it's specifically made for .dv files from HD camcorders. Haven't searched recently, but I've never found another video editor. People just say "use iMovie" or "final cut" which costs like $900
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