Application software

How to Sort macOS Applications by Category in the Finder

If you’re like me, the Applications folder on your Mac is overflowing with apps, most of which you rarely use but still like to keep around. If scrolling through everything to find what you’re looking for is overwhelming, a simple trick lets you sort these applications by categories—like Productivity, Music, Education, and more.

To get started, open your Finder and head to the Applications folder.

From here, press Command+J on your keyboard to open the View Options window. Alternatively, you can click View > Show View Options in the menu bar.

You Can Now Clear Out Wasted Storage in the Twitter iPhone App

iPhone: Twitter has rolled out an update for the official Twitter app that solves the pesky problem of app bloating. Now, you can manually clear out the cache in the app.

A lot of apps on iOS have a problem where they bloat up in size over use, which can cause issues with those of us with 16GB phones. The best workaround I’ve found for this involves downloading a giant app to force iOS to clear the…

How to Stop People From Swiping Through Your Smartphone Photos

If you want to show somebody photos on your phone but don’t want them wantonly scrolling through the rest of your camera roll, there are a few clever tricks you can employ to ensure that they see what you want them to see…and nothing else.

Smartphones have become our take-everywhere, do-everything, all-in-one pocket computers that we manage (and record!) our entire lives on. Unlike handing somebody the little photo book from your wallet that we used to carry around, handing somebody your smartphone gives them access to your personal photos and more. And we’ve all handed someone our phone to show them one photo, only for them to start swiping through to look at everything else.

Rather than simply accept that, you can easily use these tricks to put a lid on rampant camera-roll-scrolling behavior and keeps their eyes just on the photos you want to share.

For Single Photos: Just Zoom In a Little Bit

This tip is a very low effort one, and best suited for showing someone a single photo on your phone while you’re there to supervise them.

On nearly all image gallery apps, including the default gallery apps on iPhone and Android, using the pinch-to-zoom function on a photo “locks” it into place. This locking mechanism isn’t intentionally intended to lock the user onto that photo, but is a side effect of how the activating the zoom function also activates the swipe-to-pan function so you can move around the zoomed in image.

Depending on the operating system and application the photo either stays locked until you zoom out or until you attempt to swipe multiple times—on the iPhone, for example, swiping on the photo bumps into the sides of the screen, and you have to swipe multiple times before it zooms out and resumes normal camera roll functionality.

The only thing kittens love more than yarn is pinch-to-zoom.

To take advantage of this unintended feature, simply pinch-and-zoom every so slightly on the photo (zooming even the tiniest amount will do the trick). Unless the person looking at the photo understands both the concept of pinch-zooming and that the reason their swipe left/right failed, then they’ll likely just scratch their head and hand it back to you. This is a perfect super low effort solution for those times that you’re handing your phone to, say, a relative who doesn’t get the concept of digital privacy (or that you’d even have racy or private photos on your phone in the first place).

Create Albums to Contain Groups of Photos

What about those times you want people to swipe through some photos, but not others?…

Why Mac Apps Occasionally Ask for Access to Accessibility Features

If you use a Mac and any software that controls your keyboard, including text expanders, you’ve probably come across a dialogue box asking you to grant the app access to “accessibility features.” How-To Geek explains what that means.

Accessibility settings are gated off by Apple for security purposes because apps that help with accessibility, like text-to-speech applications or key logging applications, work by controlling certain system level services or other applications entirely. Traditionally, a Mac app is a single container that cannot access system level controls. Accessibility apps get a little more control over system access and can control other apps entirely. How-To Geek explains it like so:

In part, it uses this name because multiple accessibility applications need access to these…

Why Do Some Mac Apps Need to “Control This Computer Using Accessibility Features?”

Some apps, like Dropbox and Steam, will ask to “control this computer using accessibility features.” But what the heck does that even mean?

The wording is confusing, to say that least. What does this permission actually grant? Basically, this gives the app in question the ability to control other programs. Apple outlines their advice here:

If you’re familiar with an app, you can authorize it by clicking Open System Preferences in the alert, then selecting the checkbox for the app in the Privacy pane. If you’re unfamiliar with an app or you don’t want to give it access to your Mac at that time, click Deny in the alert.

But that just leaves more questions. Why do you have to give this permission at all? What does giving this permission mean—will such applications really “control this computer”? And why is this called “Accessibility” access, instead of just system access? Let’s break this down.

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Why Do I Have to Do This?

The process of enabling Accessibility Settings is a bit convoluted. You need to open System Preferences, then head to Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility. From there you need to click the lock icon in the bottom-left corner, enter you password, and only then can you grant your application access.

So why do you have to do this? The answer, in short, is to protect your security.

By default, Mac apps are self-contained, and can’t change the way you interact with the system or other applications. This is a very good thing. It prevents sketchy things from happening, like games you’ve downloaded logging your keystrokes or malware clicking buttons in your browser.

But some applications need to control other applications to…

How to Use Handwriting Input on Windows 10

Windows 10’s handwriting keyboard allows you to enter text into any application with a pen or other stylus. It even works on old desktop applications.

This feature is separate from the Windows Ink Workspace, which directs you to applications with special support for pen input. The handwriting keyboard allows you to use a stylus in any application.

Finding the Handwriting Keyboard

This feature is built into Windows 10’s touch keyboard. To open it, tap the touch keyboard icon next to the clock on your taskbar.

If you don’t see the keyboard icon on your taskbar, right-click or long-press on your taskbar and enable the “Show touch keyboard button” option in the context menu.

Tap the keyboard button at the bottom right corner of the touch keyboard.

Tap the handwriting keyboard icon, which looks like a pen over an empty panel.

The handwriting input keyboard appears. By default, it spans the entire width of your display. To shrink it, tap the “Undock” button to the left of the “x” on the top right corner of the panel.

Touch the title bar of the panel with your stylus or finger to drag it around your screen and position it wherever you want it.

Once you switch to the handwriting input panel, it will automatically appear whenever you tap or click the keyboard icon on your taskbar. You’ll need to tap the keyboard button at the bottom of the touch input keyboard to select the default touch keyboard if you want to use it.

Writing With the Handwriting Keyboard

You can input text in any application with a text input field. For example, we’ll be using Notepad…

How to Receive a Push Notification When Your Echo’s Timer Goes Off

If you set up a timer on the Amazon Echo and walk out of the room, you may not hear the timer go off. The good news is that you can receive a push notification on your phone when the timer’s up, no matter where you are.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a built-in feature on the Echo. You’ll need to use an online service called If This Then That (IFTTT), which you can hook up to your Amazon Echo to do all sorts of cool stuff.

If you haven’t used IFTTT before, check out our guide to getting started for info on how to create an account and connect apps and services. Then, come back here to create the necessary applet. Start by heading to IFTTT’s home page and click “My Applets” at the top of the page.

Next, click on “New Applet”.

Click on “This” highlighted in blue.

Type in “Alexa” in the search box or scroll down and find it in the list of products and services below that. Click on it when you…

What Is “Developer Mode” in Windows 10?

If you dig through Windows 10’s settings, you may come across something called “Developer Mode”. When put into Developer Mode, Windows allows you to more easily test apps you’re developing, use the Ubuntu Bash shell environment, change a variety of developer-focused settings, and do other such things.

How to Enable Developer Mode

This setting is available in the Settings app. To access it, head to Settings > Update & Security > For Developers and select “Developer mode”.

Your Windows 10 PC will be put into Developer Mode. This works on all editions of Windows 10, including Windows 10 Home.

Sideload Unsigned Apps (and Debug Them in Visual Studio)

This option is located below “Windows Store apps” and “Sideload apps“. Select “Windows Store apps” and Windows will only allow you to install UWP apps from the Windows Store. Select “Sideload apps”, the default setting, and Windows will also allow you to install apps from outside the Windows Store, as long as they’re signed with a valid certificate.

But if you select “Developer mode”, you can install UWP apps from outside of the Windows Store, even if they’re not signed. This is a crucial option for UWP app developers, who will want to test their apps on their own PCs while developing them. This option replaces the need for a “developer license” on Windows 8.1.

Developer Mode also allows you to debug UWP apps in Visual Studio. In fact, if you open a UWP application project in Visual Studio without Developer Mode enabled, you’ll see an “Enable Developer Mode for Windows 10” prompt message that instructs you to enable Developer Mode. You’ll then be able to run an app in debug mode directly from Visual Studio, testing it on your PC before uploading it to the Windows Store.

Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10

If you want to use Ubuntu’s Bash shell on Windows 10, you must first put your device into “Developer Mode”. Only once your device is in developer mode can you enable the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” and install the Ubuntu environment in Bash.

If you disable Developer Mode, the Windows Subsystem for Linux will…