OS X Mavericks beta, while not quite an overhaul as iOS 7, still carries quite a few new enhancements and features that you might not necessarily see at first glance. There are plenty of hidden features, which we’ve already detailed here on Cult of Mac, but more continue to be found. Lucky you, we’re here to help put them all together in one place.
Here are five of those hidden features for OS X Mavericks beta, each perhaps surprising in their own, special way.
Update Whenever You Like – Disable App Auto Updating
Just like in iOS, OS X Mavericks beta has gone to auto-updating of apps. This way, you don’t have to click thorugh to the Mac App Store each time it gets a red badge of update and click the Update or Update all buttons. It’s pretty slick, and will be a time saver as more and more apps run through the Mac App Store.
But what if you want to update things on your own schedule, or check the list of potential updates, picking and choosing the updates you want to activate, and ignore the ones you don’t?
All you need to do is disable auto-updating, and here’s how.
First, launch System Preferences and click on the newest icon there, the App Store preferences icon. Like iOS, you’re able to have your Mac automatically check for updates. Unlike iOS, you have a finer grained control over which updates will happen automatically.
If you don’t want to check for any updates, uncheck the box next to Automatically check for updates. However, if you want updates to be checked for, leave it checked.
Now, you can decide what happens from there. If you want new updates to be downloaded, and then notified when they’re ready for install, check the next box down, Download newly availabe updates in the background.
If you want to disable app updates, uncheck the next box down, Install app updates. If you want to disable system updates, uncheck the box down from there, Install system data files and security numbers.
In other words, if you just want to know that there are updates, but not have them download or install, keep the top box checked, and uncheck all the sub-options.
Keep Notifications Off The Lock Screen
In the new OS X Mavericks beta, there’s a new Notification system in place that mimics much of the way iOS handles notifications. Your iOS notifications, in fact, can push right to your Mac desktop as well.
Much like iOS, each app that uses Notification Center can be set to a fine-grained level of customization, letting you show them in Notification Center (activated with the icon in the upper right corner of your Mac’s screen), decide whether to let them use a Badge app icon, and whether or not to play a sound for each app’s notifications.
If, however, you value your privacy, you may want to disable the default setting that has your notifications showing up even when the display is off or locked.
First of all, launch System Preferences on your OS Mavericks beta enabled Mac, and click on the new Notifications preferences icon. Once there, you’re able to schedule Do Not Disturb times, just like iOS, and then manage what shows up in Notification, and how it shows up there.
To make sure that applications aren’t dropping a notification onto your Mac when the screen is locked or the display is off, for anyone to find and read, you’ll need to hope into the Notification Center preferences for each app individually. For each application in the left-hand column, click on the app icon and then uncheck the box that says, “Show notifications when display is off or locked.”
Now, you won’t have a host of Notifications sitting there for you in the morning from when you put your Mac to sleep each night. You’re welcome.
The only thing I wish Apple would do is to make this more of a system-wide, or non-app-specific setting, so you could turn it on or off for all apps at once, instead of having to do this for each specific app. Ah, well; maybe next beta.
Get Your Calendar Items To Show Their Time Zone
Calendar, previously iCal, has had Time Zone support for a while now. The Mac I’m using that runs OS X Mountain Lion let’s my turn on Time Zone Support in the Advanced tab of the Calendar preferences, so I can be sure to be on time for meetings when I travel away from my current timezone (AKDT).
However, when using Time Zone support in Mountain Lion, calendar events that I scheduled in one time zone wouldn’t ever show me visually that they were. OS X Mavericks takes care of this problem with a small visual cue–now events scheduled in one time zone will show that time zone in their title in Calendar. Here’s how to make that happen.
First up, you’ll need to enable Time Zone support. Launch Calendar, and then hit Command-Comma to access the Calendar preferences. Otherwise, click on the Calendar menu and choose Preferences…
Next, click on the Advanced tab at the top, the one with the gear icon. Click on the checkbox next to Turn on time zone support. Close the preferences with a click on the red X button in the upper left corner, and then you’ll see your current time zone setting in the upper right corner of the Calendar window.
Now, when you create an event at, say 11 am AKST time, and then switch the time zone setting with a click on that drop down menu, your original event will gain a new time (12 pm in the Pacific time zone), but will also get the time and zone of the original event as part of its title (11 AM AKDT). That way, you’re fully informed of when and how this event was scheduled, in case of any snafus. Which, interestingly enough, happen a lot, especially at conferences and expos.
Get Password Suggestions Using iCloud Keychain And Safari
AutoFill has been a part of OS X and Apple’s browser, Safari, for a while now. When you fill out forms on the web, Safari will prompt you to use your contact info to fill in the form, or to use the form data you entered as your AutoFill information. This is helpful as you fill out a lot of web forms, of course.
Now, in OS X Mavericks beta, Safari has a new trick up its sleeve, with the ability to suggest secure passwords to you, and then saving them for you when you go back to that site. It’s called iCloud Keychain, and here’s how to set it up.
First, launch your System Preferences app on your Mac, provided you have OS X Mavericks beta set up on it. Next, click on the iCloud preferences icon to bring up the iCloud prefs.
Now, in the list to the right, click on Keychain to check the box next to it. You’ll be prompted to enter your Apple ID passwrod here. If you already have stored passwords in your iCloud Keychain, you’ll then have the option to restore them with a security code, or start anew. I reset mine.
Now, head to Safari, and pull up a website that needs a password upon sign up. I went to Fab.com, because I haven’t gotten an account there, yet. Sign in with your information, and then when you click in the password field, Safari will pop up a message asking if you want to use a Safari-suggested password. Click on the supplied password if you want to use it, and Safari will AutoFill it into the password field on the website.
Now, you can skip having to create secure passwords on your own, and let Safari — and the iCloud Keychain — keep track of it for you.
Add Credit Card Info To Safari AutoFill
AutoFill is a boon to those of us who have a ton of forms to fill in, and these days, who doesn’t?
One of the cool new features of Safari in OS X Mavericks beta is the ability to store credit card info, so you never have to pull that card out of your wallet at work while you buy giraffe statuettes from eBay again. Ahem.
Here’s how to get the credit card info into the AutoFill feature of Safari.
Launch Safari on your Mac running Mavericks beta, and hit Command-Comma to bring up the Safari Preferences window. Alternately, you can click on the Safari menu and choose Preferences…
Click on the third icon from the left at the top, AutoFill. You’ll see all the types of information that Safari can store, including Contact info, user names and passwords, credit cards, and other forms. Make sure the checkbox next to Credit Cards is checked, and then click on the Edit… button to the right.
Now click on the Add button in the lower left-hand corner, and then type in a description of the card, like “Home Visa,” “Daddy’s Mid-Life Crisis Fund,” or “Don’t Use This Card Ever.” Hit the Tab key to move the entry field to the Card Number area and type in your credit card number. Hit Tab again to go to the expiration date, and then once more to fill in the Cardholder’s name.
I notice there’s no field for security code, but you can remember a three-digit number, right?
Now you can shop your way through the Internet, blithely charging things to your credit card without ever having to slow down and think about your credit card number. Thanks, Apple!