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Interesting Apple Ecosystem Features

Note: Features in iOS also work on iPadOS. So, iPadOS only contains features specific to the iPad. Also, Siri related features work on all devices. Some specific applications by Apple, such as Safari may have common features among all the operating systems.

MacOS

  1. Handoff Transferring a file from iOS files app to the macOS file manager via airdrop is OK but has many steps. Instead, with a handoff-linked iPhone and Mac (bluetooth+iCloud), a file can be copied on the iPhone and pasted on the desktop or anywhere in the file manager on Mac. Of course, it works cross-device every way with iPad as well.
  2. iPhone If an iPhone is connected to the Mac (wired), then the iPhone screen can be shown in a video recording on macOS in QuickTime player.
  3. Finder Finder on all devices can allow creating a PDF from multiple images (Quick Actions on Mac).
  4. Hold ⌘ Icons on the menu bar can be moved in position by holding down ⌘ and using the mouse to drag them around.
  5. Dock To force quit an application from the dock, right click on it while holding down ⌥ to view the option to Force Quit.
  6. Screen Sharing Screen sharing support can be delivered/received on MacOS just like on Windows. There is an app called “Screen Sharing” which can be used to connect to another Mac by entering the hostname (for the same network) or the Apple ID (for a remote network). The receiving Apple ID will show a prompt on the receiving Mac to allow full control or shoulder surfing only. The microphone and speakers are automatically enabled for both sides.
  7. Hold ⌥ In the Control Center, hold down the ⌥ key and then click the ❯ (visible when hovering) besides the sound bar. This allows selecting input and output audio devices right from the Control Center without going into Settings.
  8. Hold ⌥ When resizing windows with the mouse or touchpad, hold down ⌥ to perform resize symmetrically from all sides aligning from the center of the screen.
  9. Hold ⌥ Within Finder, hold down ⌥ while dragging a file to duplicate it. This can be done within a folder as well as across folders.
  10. Hold ⌥ Hold down ⌥ when pressing the volume up/down buttons to open the sound preferences within settings.
  11. Hold ⌥ Hold down ⌥ when expanding a folder in the list view within Finder to expand all nested folders and sub-folders as well.
  12. Hold ⌥ The ⌥ key showcases multiple options within the menu items for many apps. These can be pretty useful when an expected option is nowhere to be found.
  13. Hold ⌥ When copying files to a destination, MacOS doesn’t show the option to skip files that already exist, instead just shows the options to delete, stop or keep both. To show the skip option, hold down ⌥ when the prompt is active.
  14. Hold ⌥ Hold down the ⌥ key when clicking the wifi item on the status bar to reveal information such as IP address, router information and channel.
  15. Hold ⌥ Use ⌘ + ⌥ + Delete to permanently delete a file without moving it into System Trash.
  16. Hold ⌘ When there are multiple windows open and an action needs to be performed on a window that is not in focus, then hold down ⌘ while clicking on the out of focus window to perform the action without bringing the application into focus.
  17. Preview The Preview application on MacOS has a “Redact” tool under the Tools menu which can black out text from a PDF completely without a scope of recovery by any means (which might be otherwise possible when done by overlaying black boxes for example).
  18. Reminders When using the Reminders app, click return on an empty reminder to close the keyboard and hide the cursor i.e., write reminder then return to start writing the next reminder, or press return again when the field is empty to end writing the session (kinda like “that’s it”).

iPadOS

  1. Swipe with two fingers on the iPad keyboard in the enlarged state to move the cursor along the text.
  2. Touch and hold with two fingers on the iPad keyboard in the enlarged state to begin selection and then swipe to expand the selection around the text.
  3. With a Picture in Picture video running in a window, a full screen app like a game is launched without sound to disallow disruptions in the video while allowing full control in the full screen game.
  4. Within the Notes app, if handwritten text is erased, it leaves a blank area where it originally existed. To get rid of this area single tap above the next body of handwritten text and select “Insert space”. Using the movable margin that appears, the space above it can be reduced as well, which effectively gets rid of the empty space.
  5. If a handoff-enabled iPad is near the Mac, then getting into the Markup tool inside Preview on Mac will automatically launch the Markup feature on the iPad to allow instant edits on it, which get synced instantly once “Done” is pressed.

Apple Watch

  1. Covering the watch screen with your palm turns the screen off until the crown or the button is pressed again. In this state, the crown dial can be used to incrementally increase the brightness of the watch face from a very low brightness level. The incremental increase also works in Theater mode.
  2. Double finger hold on the watch face to let Siri read aloud the time. Single tapping on the Mickie Mouse face prompts The character to speak the time.
  3. When typing on the watch, if your iPhone is unlocked, then a popup appears on the iPhone to allow better control over whatever you were typing.
  4. Using voice memos on the Apple Watch, recordings are stored in a dedicated Watch recordings section in the iOS voice memos app.
  5. Siri can be triggered using the “Hey Siri” phrase like other devices. However, the best way to trigger it is by bringing the watch closer to your mouth and directly speaking to the assistant.
  6. The reminders complication on the watch face always shows the next reminder on the list. However, it can be used to one’s advantage by not adding a time instead just adding a date. What this does is put a set of reminders for the current day in a list called today, which is displayed serially on the watch. If the list is structured in an order of priority, then throughout the day, the watch displays the highest priority task that is pending for the day.

iOS

  1. Upload an image to Safari, click on Show Selected and then on Actual Size to select uploading in a smaller size.
  2. When moving the cursor with haptic touch, tap on the greyed out keyboard with another finger and it will start text selection mode.
  3. In the music app, tapping on a song will play it followed by all other songs on that same album, playlist, etc. To play just that song and nothing else, tap on the three dots and select “play last”. This will not add other song to the current list.
  4. To save content of a webpage, open it in reader mode and copy from top to bottom. Then paste it inside Apple Notes, which also includes the images. This isn’t possible directly from a Siri Shortcut because scripting loses images or copies then as HTML tags.
  5. Holding an option on the Apple keyboard persists it for the duration it is held. Example → hold the ⇧ key and type to output everything in uppercase and leave it for going back to normal. Another example would be to hold the “123” button to view numbers and symbols while it’s held.
  6. When music is playing on the iPhone, trigger spotlight (drag down on the home screen) to get more rich internet information about the artist on some occasions under Siri Suggestions.
  7. While conversing with someone over, text message in any app, iOS 16 allows instant selection and translation of text to, and from any language through the Translate app. Additionally, the translated text can be instantly replaced with the selected text using the pop-up options that appear after the translation.

Siri

  1. Siri understands context for setting reminders. Ask Siri “remind me about this tomorrow at 9 PM” and it will understand that you need to be reminded about what’s on your screen, example - Safari webpage. Another useful example is Apple Notes which embeds a small notes icon on the reminder to jump directly into the note.
  2. Ask Siri “where am I” and Siri will give the closest address or the current address in lookup sheet as well as an option to navigate to/from that place.
  3. To share a webpage currently being viewed on safari, following the contextual Siri commands from point one, say something like “send this to Marcus via WhatsApp”.
  4. Make a Reminders list called “Shopping List” which can also be interacted with using Siri by saying something like “add milk to my shopping list”.
  5. With iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and MacOS Ventura, Siri can be asked to reboot the device and she can do it after a confirmation dialogue.
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