Tips and tricks for Mac OS X 12.1

Here are my notes on the newest Mac OS 12.1 Monterey (the publication date is Dec 25, 2021). The operating system is named after Monterey Bay, continuing the trend of releases named after California locations since 2013’s 10.9 Mavericks.

Before you start

Do regular backups before the update. New HDD is highly recommended. The Time Machine backup functionality excludes more system files in a new OS. However, the new MacBooks a limited in ports, and you may think about a wireless alternative.

General remarks

New OS is very convenient and has a lot of advantages. Dark mode saves the battery and facilitates reading, users can apply arbitrary tags in the Notes application, and finally, Caps Lock could be assigned to the language switch.

Apple also updated keyboard shortcuts and gestures in Safari [apple].

Must have apps

The general set looks like this:

  1. Office. Native MS Office.
  2. Virtualization: Parallels [link].
  3. RSS: Reeder 4. It’s just getting better and better [link].
  4. Archives: Keka. Keka is free, but if you buy it from the App Store, you will be supporting the developer. The app is the same as the version from this website [link] only updated through the App Store.
  5. Messengers/SNs: WhatsApp, Viber, VK, and Telegram have native free apps in the AppStore. The Twitter app is a little bit buggy, I prefer to use web-version instead. Same for Instagram, which doesn’t have a good working free alternative so far.
  6. Media player: iTunes. How to transfer library [link].
  7. FTP client: Filezilla [link].
  8. Lossless Decoder: XLD [link]. X Lossless Decoder (XLD) is a tool for Mac OS X that is able to decode/convert/play various ‘lossless’ audio files. The supported audio files can be split into some tracks with cue sheet when decoding. It works on Mac OS X 10.4 and later.
  9. Clean-up: Onyx [link].
  10. Audiobook converter: Audiobook Builder [link]. It works perfectly but still does not support batch processing.
  11. LaTeX editor: TexStudio+MacTex. TexStudio [link] has numerous features like syntax-highlighting, integrated viewer, reference checking and various assistants. Use the most recent MacTex [link] distribution.

Various little things

Little useful things:

  • Where are the Page Up and Page Down Keys on your Mac then? So, for example, to press Page Up, you hold down the Fn key and press the Up Arrow key. In InDesign, I almost never just press Page Up; instead, I want Shift-Page Up (which is “go to previous page”). To do that, I press the Shift key, then the Fn key, then the Up Arrow key [link].
  • Backslash on Mac OS X is Shift-Alt-7 [link].
  • Screen recording was never that easy [apple]. Just hit Shift-Command (⌘)-5.
  • Next, in case you want to cut the recorded video you can use QuickTime. By the way, QuickTime Player also has a screen-recording feature.
  • How to reset your Mac before selling it [link].
  • Useful Converters: sometimes you need to convert wma to mp3 [link].
  • Sometimes you need to download video from YouTube. Airy will become our best friend [link].
  • How to type accents on Mac the easy way [link].
  • How to output your mac’s audio to two pairs of headphones at the same time [link].
  • How to to schedule an email using the default mail app? Mail doesn’t have this feature out of the box but you can use your native Mac apps to schedule an email. My answer is based on macOS Catalina but it should be practically the same besides some minor differences, placement etc. [link].
  • Several workarounds to get MacOS X to change the data on NTFS disks [link]
  • Sometimes you need to format an APFS hard disk on Windows [link].

The list will be updated continuously.

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