With the release of macOS Mojave, we went hunting for features that might be hiding amongst all the changes to the OS. What we found were some nifty capabilities hiding, for the most part, in plain sight.
Nobody likes to see the beach ball (aka pinwheel, aka the spinning pizza, aka spinning wait cursor) in OS X, but have you ever wondered why you see different ones from time to time? Show message headers. Show default or custom fields in message headers. To add fields, click the pop-up menu, choose Custom, click the Add button, then enter the name of a message header, such as Return-Path. Display unread messages with bold font. In column layout, show unread messages in bold to help distinguish them from messages you have read.
Even more features are expected to show up over time as more users work with the macOS Mojave, but for now, here are our top 6 hidden features of macOS Mojave.
Note: Some features in this article were tested with the beta version of macOS Mojave. Let us know in the comments if you see any changes in the features.
Recent Apps in Dock
The Dock gets a new organizational tool; it can show three of the most recent apps you’ve used in a special area of the Dock. This new feature is located after the Apps section of the Dock, and before the Documents and Trash section of the Dock.
If this seems similar to the Recent Applications Stack that you can create in the Dock, it is, but with a few differences. First, the recent apps aren’t displayed in a stack but as individual icons in the Dock. Second, only apps that don’t already have a home in the Dock are displayed. This prevents duplicate apps from showing up in your Dock.
The recent apps section of the Dock has very basic controls you can set:
Launch System Preferences by clicking its icon in the Dock, or by selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.
Select the Dock preference pane.
Place a checkmark in the box labeled, “Show recent applications in Dock to enable the feature or remove the checkmark to turn off the feature and reclaim the Dock space.”(The Dock preference pane includes a checkbox to enable or disable the option to Show recent applications in Dock.)
Currently, the recent apps Dock section is limited to three apps; it would be nice to have the ability to set how many can be seen.
It may be pressing the issue to call this feature hidden since Stacks on the desktop was shown off at WWDC. Nevertheless, there are a few features that didn’t get shown.
Desktop stacks allow you to clean up your desktop, organizing all the items scattered about the desktop into stacks. The stacks are usually organized by kind, placing all your image files into one stack, all your PDFs into another, etc.(Selecting Use Stacks will quickly clean up your desktop, sorting files into like kind stacks on your desktop).
You can control how stacks are created, and the sorting order they use, by either selecting View, Group Stacks By from the Finder menu, or right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Group Stacks By from the popup menu. No matter which way you get there, the sorting choices are:
- Kind (the default)
- Date Last Opened
- Date Modified
- Date Created
The desktop stacks work much like stacks that reside in your dock; clicking or tapping on a desktop stack causes the stack to open and display its content. You can then select an item to open or work on.
Stacks also support scrubbing through their content without opening them. Simply place your cursor on top of the stack, then, with a trackpad, slide two fingers side to side to scrub through the content, or with a Magic Mouse, use a single finger to perform the scrubbing.
To enable Stacks: From the Finder menu, select View, Use Stacks. Or, you can right-click on the desktop, and select Use Stacks from the popup menu.
To disable Stacks: You can remove the checkmark from the Use Stacks menu by repeating the above steps. Once the checkmark is gone, the stacks are removed, and all of their content is flung back onto your desktop.
If you’ve disabled Stacks, there’s another hidden trick related to cleaning up your desktop, or in this case, not cleaning up your desktop. Right-click on the desktop and once the popup menu appears, hold down the option key. A new menu item will appear, labeled Mess Up Desktop. Selecting this menu item will scatter the desktop files all around, making a mess. Want a bigger mess? Select the Mess Up Desktop menu item multiple times.(Tired of a well-organized desktop? Use the hidden Mess Up Desktop menu item to create chaos on your desktop.)
It will be interesting to see how long Mess Up Desktop stays in the beta, and if it makes it to the release version of macOS Mojave.
Missing in the public beta, but likely to show up in the release version is an option to specify the sort order within a desktop stack.
Siri Can Help Find Lost Passwords
If you’ve forgotten a password, say to a website, you can ask Siri for help. Just say something like, “Hey Siri, what’s my Netflix Password?”
The ever-faithful assistant will check to see if the forgotten password is in your Keychain, iCloud Keychain, or Safari password list. If it is, your login credentials will be displayed using the appropriate password utility. You still need to know the password for the login utility; Siri can’t help you with that.
The Mac has long had the ability to take screenshots using keyboard shortcuts or the Grab app included with the Mac. Those options aren’t going away; instead, Mojave builds on them and offers a new screenshot toolbar with options to:
- Capture entire screen
- Capture selected window
- Capture selected portion
- Record entire screen
- Record selected portion
There’s also a set of options that allow you to:
- Save to the Desktop, Documents, Mail, Messages
- Set a timer for None, 5 seconds, 10 seconds
- Select a microphone to use
- Show a floating thumbnail
- Show the mouse cursor
While most of these screenshot options were available previously, having them all gathered together in one toolbar is a vast improvement. But the icing on the cake for many will be the ability to mark up a screenshot or edit a screen recording.(Screenshot options have been gathered into a new palette of tools that appear with the keyboard combination Command + Shift + 5.)
After you take a screenshot or screen recording, you can double-click the thumbnail image to display the image, as well as access basic markup tools.
You can add text, shapes, highlight areas, or a signature, and rotate the image as well as crop it. When you’re done, you can save the changes as well as share the image with others via social media, Mail, or Messages, as well as send it to other apps on your Mac for further editing.
Screen recording can be edited to trim the start and end points. You can save the file, share it with others, or send it for further editing in other apps you may have.
System Software Updates
You may notice something missing from the newly designed Mac App Store: software updates that pertain to the macOS system. System software updates have been stripped out of the Mac App Store and moved to their own preference pane in the System Preferences.
This new location allows you to set preferences specific to how system software updates occur, versus those for the various apps you have installed on your Mac.
Launch System Preference by clicking on its Dock icon, or by selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.
Open the Software Update preference pane.
Software Update will check for any updates for your Mac’s system software, as well as updates to drivers for the printing, graphics, storage, and boot systems. Security updates are also checked using the new Software Update preference pane.
You can set your update preferences by clicking the Advanced button.
A dropdown sheet will display the available options to automatically:
- Check for updates
- Download new updates when available
- Install macOS updates
- Install app updates from the App Store
- Install system data files and security updates
Make your selections by placing a checkmark next to each item you wish to have automatically performed for you.
I recommend placing checkmarks next to: Check for updates, Download new updates when available, and Install system data files and security updates.
When you’re ready, click the OK button to save your preferences.
When a system update is available, a Dock badge is displayed on the System Preferences icon; a notification banner is also displayed.
Gallery View Options
We mentioned some of the Finder improvements in the Rocket Yard’s First Look at the Developer Beta. One of the new Finder Features is Gallery View, a replacement for the older Cover Flow view.
The new Gallery View has a lot going for it, especially when working with a folder full of multimedia files. As an example, an image file selected in the Gallery View will not only automatically display an image preview, but also show you the file’s associated metadata, such as image size, resolution, camera type used, lens, and lens settings.(The Finder’s new Gallery View showing the images metadata. You can also see that the More button in the bottom right has been clicked to reveal available Quick Actions that can be performed on the selected file.)
And while having easy access to the metadata can make many tasks easier, you’ll also find that you can rotate the image or mark up the image directly from the Finder. But wait, there’s more. Just below the metadata pane you’ll find a More button. Clicking the More button will bring up a popup menu listing Quick Actions; tasks that can be performed on the selected file. For an image file, you’ll likely see Create PDF, letting you quickly convert an image file to a PDF.
But you can also customize this popup menu by selecting Customize.(You can enable additional Quick Actions to be shown in the More menu by clicking the Customize option.)
The Extensions preference pane will open with the Finder selected. You’ll see a list of actions that can be added to the More button’s popup menu. Currently, Apple provides these actions, but actions can be created by third parties, as well as created using the Automator app, which is included with the OS. I expect to see a large number of actions, such as converting from one file format to another, being added quickly.
For now, try placing a checkmark in the action labeled Set Desktop Picture, and then close the Extensions preference pane.
Click the More button again, and the new action will be displayed in the popup menu.
Those are our top 6 hidden features for macOS Mojave. What have you found in Mojave that surprised you, delighted you, or made you scratch your head? Let us know in the comments section, below.
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Windows provides a set of standard cursors that are available for any application to use at any time. The SDK header files contain identifiers for the standard cursors—the identifiers begin with the IDC_ prefix.
Each standard cursor has a corresponding default image associated with it. The user or an application can replace the default image associated with any standard cursor at any time. An application replaces a default image by using the SetSystemCursor function. The following image shows several standard cursors from Windows Vista:
An application can use the GetIconInfo function to retrieve the current image for a cursor and can draw the cursor by using the DrawIconEx function. To draw the default image for a standard cursor, specify the DI_COMPAT flag in the call to DrawIconEx. If you do not specify the DI_COMPAT flag, DrawIconEx draws the standard cursor using the image that the user specified.
Custom cursors are designed for use in a specific application and can be any design the developer defines. The following illustration shows several custom cursors.
Cursors can be either monochrome or color, and either static or animated. The type of cursor used on a particular computer system depends on the system's display. Old displays such as VGA do not support color or animated cursors. New displays, whose display drivers use the device-independent bitmap (DIB) engine, do support them.
Cursors and icons are similar and can be used interchangeably in many situations. The only difference between them is that an image specified as a cursor must be in the format that the display can support. For example, a cursor must be monochrome for a VGA display.
This overview provides information on the following topics:
The Hot Spot
In the cursor, a pixel called the hot spot marks the exact screen location that is affected by a mouse event, such as clicking a mouse button. Typically, the hot spot is the focal point of the cursor. The system tracks and recognizes this point as the position of the cursor. For example, typical hot spots are the pixel at the tip of an arrow-shaped cursor and the pixel in the middle of a crosshair-shaped cursor. The following images shows two cursors from a drawing program, in which hot spots are associated with the tip of the brush and the crosshair of the paint can.
When a mouse input event occurs, the mouse driver translates the event into an appropriate mouse message that includes the coordinates of the hot spot. The system sends the mouse message to the window that contains the hot spot or to the window that is capturing mouse input. For more information, see Mouse Input.
The Mouse and the Cursor
The system reflects the movement of the mouse by moving the cursor on the screen accordingly. As the cursor moves over different parts of windows or into different windows, the system (or an application) changes the appearance of the cursor. For example, when the cursor crosses over a hyperlink, the system changes the cursor from an arrow to a hand.
If the system does not have a mouse, the system displays and moves the cursor only when the user chooses certain system commands, such as those used to size or move a window. To provide the user with a method of displaying and moving the cursor when a mouse is not available, an application can use the cursor functions to simulate mouse movement. Given this simulation capability, the user can use the arrow keys to move the cursor.
Because standard cursors are predefined, it is not necessary to create them. To use a standard cursor, an application retrieves a cursor handle by using the LoadCursor or LoadImage function. A cursor handle is a unique value of the HCURSOR type that identifies a standard or custom cursor.
To create a custom cursor for an application, you typically use a graphics application and include the cursor as a resource in the application's resource-definition file. At run time, call LoadCursor to retrieve the cursor handle. Cursor resources contain data for several different display devices. The LoadCursor function automatically selects the most appropriate data for the current display device. To load a cursor directly from a .CUR or .ANI file, use the LoadCursorFromFile function.
You can also create a custom cursor at run time by using the CreateIconIndirect function, which creates a cursor based on the content of an ICONINFO structure. The GetIconInfo function fills this structure with hot spot coordinates and information concerning the associated mask and color.
Applications should implement custom cursors as resources and use LoadCursor, LoadCursorFromFile, or LoadImage rather than create the cursor at run time. Using cursor resources avoids device dependence, simplifies localization, and enables applications to share cursor designs.
The CreateIconFromResourceEx function enables an application to create icons and cursors based on resource data. CreateIconFromResourceEx creates a cursor based on binary resource data from other executable (.exe) files or DLLs. It must be preceded by calls to the LookupIconIdFromDirectoryEx function, as well as several resource functions. LookupIconIdFromDirectoryEx identifies the most appropriate cursor data for the current display device. For more information about resource functions, see Resources.
Cursor Location and Appearance
The system automatically displays a cursor for the mouse and updates its position on the screen. You can obtain current screen coordinates of the cursor and move the cursor to any location on the screen by using the GetCursorPos and SetCursorPos functions, respectively.
You can also retrieve the handle to the current cursor by using the GetCursor function, and you can set the cursor by using the SetCursor function. After you call SetCursor, the appearance of the cursor does not change until either the mouse moves, the cursor is explicitly set to a different cursor, or a system command is executed.
When the user moves the mouse, the system redraws the cursor at the new location. The system automatically redraws the cursor design associated with the window to which the cursor is pointing.
You can hide and redisplay the cursor, without changing the cursor design, by using the ShowCursor function. This function uses an internal counter to determine when to hide or display the cursor. An attempt to show the cursor increments the counter; an attempt to hide the cursor decrements the counter. The cursor is visible only if this counter is greater than or equal to zero.
The GetCursorInfo function gets the following information for the global cursor: whether the cursor is hidden or shown, the handle to the cursor, and the coordinates of the cursor.
Mac App To Show Location Of Cursor Panels
You can confine the cursor to a rectangular area on the screen by using the ClipCursor function. This is useful for when the user must respond to a certain event within the confined area of the rectangle. For example, you might use ClipCursor to confine the cursor to a modal dialog box, preventing the user from interacting with other windows until the dialog box is closed.
The GetClipCursor function retrieves the screen coordinates of the rectangular area to which the cursor is temporarily confined. When it is necessary to confine the cursor, you can also use this function to save the coordinates of the original area in which the cursor can move. Then, you can restore the cursor to the original area when the new confinement is no longer necessary.
You can destroy the cursor handle and free the memory the cursor used by calling the DestroyCursor function. However, this function has no effect on a shared cursor. A shared cursor is valid as long as the module from which it was loaded remains in memory. The following functions obtain a shared cursor:
- LoadImage (if you use the LR_SHARED flag)
- CopyImage (if you use the LR_COPYRETURNORG flag and the hImage is a shared cursor)
When you no longer need a cursor you created by using the CreateIconIndirect function, you should destroy the cursor. The DestroyIcon function destroys the cursor handle and frees any memory the cursor used. Use this function only on cursors that were created with CreateIconIndirect.
The CopyCursor function copies a cursor handle. This enables application or DLL code to retrieve the handle to a cursor owned by another module. Then, if the other module is freed, the module that copied the cursor can still use the cursor design.
Mac App To Show Location Of Cursor Panel
For information on how to add, remove, or replace cursor resources in executable files, see Resources.
The Window Class Cursor
When you register a window class, using the RegisterClass function, you can assign it a default cursor, known as the class cursor. After the application registers the window class, each window of that class has the specified class cursor.
To override the class cursor, process the WM_SETCURSOR message. You can also replace a class cursor by using the SetClassLong function. This function changes the default window settings for all windows of a specified class. For more information, see Class Cursor.