20 Handy Mavericks Tips & Tricks You Probably Don’t Know

Many would have upgraded to Mavericks by now as it was made available as a free upgrade to all Mac users. While the upgrades from Mountain Lion weren’t as groundbreaking (or as polarizing) as Apple’s iOS 6 upgrade to iOS 7, Mavericks does have many cool new features.

After playing around with Mavericks and scouring through the Internet, we’ve compiled a list of Mac OS X Mavericks tips & tricks that you might not know of. Some of these tips & tricks require the use of Terminal, but they are easily reversible, while others are found hidden within the System Preferences. If you know of more, let us know in the comments section.

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macOS is a powerful and feature-rich operating system used by millions. But not all Mac users may know... Read more

1. Hide Icons In System Preferences

We’ve previously covered parental control tips and apps for Mac, but in Mavericks, you can hide certain icons in the System Preferences so someone else who has access to your Mac (e.g. your nosy kids) won’t be able to find it so easily.

To do this, open System Preferences then click on View located on the Menu Bar followed by Customize. You’ll then notice checkboxes on the icons. Uncheck the icons you want to hide and click on Done when you’re finished. The unchecked icons will now be hidden.

Settings Icon

2. Disable Dashboard

If can’t find any use of the Dashboard — that space in the far left where you can put your widgets — you can disable the Dashboard using this command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

After that, key in this command to reset the Dock:

killall Dock

If you find you want to re-enable the Dashboard, enter the command below, and followed by the ‘killall Dock’ command again.

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO

Disable Dashboard

3. Hide Username On Menu Bar

By default, your account username is shown on the Menu Bar next to the date and time. If you want to clean up your Mac’s Menu Bar, you can remove the username from System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Options > Uncheck Show fast user switching menu as.

Note that you might need to first double click the lock at the bottom left corner and type in your password in order to make these changes.

Hide Name

4. Permanently Disable Notification Center

The notification center bugging you with too many updates? Aside from turning it off with the Do Not Disturb feature, you can even remove it from the menu bar.

notification center

Enter the following command in Terminal:

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui KeepAlive -bool false

After that, enter this command in Terminal:

killall NotificationCenter

Then log out of your Mac. When you log back in, the Notification icon on the Menu Bar will be gone.

Disable Notification Center

5. Align Dock On Corners Of The Screen

By default, you can position your dock to the left or right of the screen, or at the bottom. By entering this simple command into Terminal, you’ll be able to align the dock to a corner of the screen instead of the default middle alignment.

This command will align the horizontal docks to the top corners, and the vertical dock to the left of the screen.

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string start

Dock Align

This command will align the horizontal docks to the bottom corners, and the vertical dock to the right of the screen.

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string end

Dock Align

To return to the default, middle alignment, enter this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string middle

Do note that after entering any of the commands above, you’ll have to reset the dock with this command in order to see the changes:

killall Dock

6. Use Emoji In Text

Mavericks comes built-in with Emoji; to access it, use the keyboard shortcut Command + Control + Space to bring up the special Emoji menu on any text area in any app.


7. Find Out Which Application Drains Power

Mavericks’ new Activity Monitor now lets you see more information about your Mac, particularly which app is draining your energy bar. You’ll have to ‘show’ Energy Impact by right clicking on the headers and checking it. Once you check Energy Impact, you’ll be able to see which application is taking up the most power (higher value) and stop it to maximize your Mac’s battery life.

Energy Impact

8. Disable App Nap On Selected Apps

Apple implemented App Nap in Mavericks to further lengthen your Mac’s battery life by temporary slowing down apps that are not doing anything in the background. However, this slightly reduces the start up time of the app.

If multitasking speed is important to you, you can disable App Nap on selected apps by right clicking the app and clicking on Get Info. There, you’ll be able to check Prevent App Nap so that the app doesn’t slow down when it’s not in use in the background. Do note that by disabling App Nap, your battery life drains quicker.

App Nap

9. Move Dashboard Like Spaces

The Dashboard can be moved around now, just by clicking and dragging it to where you want to leave it. You can even move it to your secondary monitor on a dual monitor setup.

Move Dashboard

10. See More On Activity Monitor Dock Icon

On Mavericks, the new Activity Monitor has several dynamic dock icons you can choose from. Right click on the icon then go to Dock Icon to choose between four activities to display or switch back to the regular icon by choosing Show Application Icon.

Dock Icon

11. Enable Offline Dictation

Previously on Mountain Lion, in order to use Dictation you will have to be connected to the internet. On Mavericks, you can enable offline Dictation by going into the System Preferences > Dictation & Speech and checking Use Enhanced Dictation. Do note that it’ll require a 785MB download that might take up some storage space.

Offline Dictation

12. Use The Built-In Text Expansion

If you’ve already mastered keyboard shortcuts to improve your speed and productivity, Mavericks now comes with a text expansion feature that allows you to type a predetermined keyword to then expand it to something longer. You can access these settings in System Preferences > Keyboard > Text.

Do note that this text expansion only works on select Mac Apps.

Text Expansion

13. Enable/Disable Auto App Updates

Just like iOS 7, Mavericks now has automatic app updates for your convenience. However, if you’re one who would read the app update change log and update it yourself, you can disable automatic app update. Go to System Preferences > App Store and uncheck Install app updates.

Auto Update

14. Hide Notifications On Lock Screen

Don’t like lockscreen notifications to pop up on your Mac? Disable notifications on your lock screen, by going to System Preferences > Notifications. Within each app, uncheck Show notifications on lock screen.

Lock Notifications

15. Move Application Windows In The Background

If you need to move a window in the background without switching to it, hold down the Command key before clicking and dragging the application windows.

16. Use The Built-In Spelling And Grammar Checker

Apple has a built-in spelling and grammar checker that you can use on selected apps. All you have to do is enter this keyboard shortcut to bring it up: Command + Shift + ;

Spekk Check

17. Show One Application At A Time

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If multi-tasking is killing your productivity, you can enable a ‘single application’ mode by entering the following command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool true

You must then enter this command in order to see the changes:

killall Dock

This mode allows for only 1 application to be shown at one time. It might slow down your multitasking speed, but you’ll be able to concentrate more on that one application without being distracted by any other applications in the background.

Single App

18. Show Dock On Secondary Screen

Mavericks comes with better dual-monitor support; you can now make the Dock show on your secondary screen by moving the mouse cursor right to the bottom of the other screen. After a one second delay, the Dock will disappear on your main screen and appear on your secondary screen.


19. Disable Startup Sound

If you find the Mac startup sound obnoxiously loud and want to permanently disable it, you can enter the following command into Terminal:

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80

You can return it to its default state by entering the following command into Terminal:

sudo nvram -d SystemAudioVolume

20. Access Hidden Mavericks Wallpapers

Once you’ve updated to Mavericks, you’ll be greeted with new default wallpapers. However, there are also more than 30 other new but hidden wallpapers that come with Mavericks. Run a spotlight search on "Default Collections" and you will be treated with 4 folders with all these awesome wallpapers.

Hidden Wallpapers

From there, you can drag and drop these 4 folders into the desktop background options to use these wallpapers.

Add Wallpaper
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