10 More OS X Yosemite Features You Didn’t Know About

iMac monitor with Yosemite desktop background

Whenever new operating systems are announced, the shiny impressive features are usually shown off at a keynote address or other major announcement. There’s a gargantuan screen that shows the new hotness while a lead designer or maybe even Tim Cook gets everyone psyched up.

What you don’t see in those presentations are the hundreds of amazing features hidden in the new OS. It’s these small improvements that are truly amazing, and more often than not they’re the ones that make your life easier, not the features in the big show.

We’ve covered some OS X Yosemite features before, but once is never enough, right? Here are 10 more advanced OS X Yosemite features to make using your Mac even better.

1. Make Spotlight Hang Around

The new Spotlight is more useful than ever, and while there are quite a few features built into Spotlight, one complaint has been the fact that it disappears whenever you click out of it.

Spotlight window showing Scrubly as search term

With Yosemite you can make Spotlight a sticky window that hangs around when you click out of it. With a Spotlight window open, right-click on the magnifying glass icon in the menu bar. The icon will turn blue and the Spotlight window will stay put. Click the Spotlight icon twice and it will unstick.

2. View the OS X Library

Apple started hiding the Library folder in Mavericks, and it continues in Yosemite, too. While most people don’t need this folder, there are quite a few reasons it’s important to access, such as for backing up user fonts and preferences.

To make the folder visible, open a Finder window and click on your Home folder in the sidebar. Next, right-click in the window and select Show View Options.

Finder window with Show View Options highlighted in context menu

In the window that appears, check the box next to Show Library Folder. Now your Library folder will always show up.

3. Check iPhone Battery and Signal Strength From OS X

If you’re running iOS 8 on an iPhone and have the ability to use your wireless connection to tether with, you can view your battery life right from OS X. Make sure Hotspot access is turned on in your iPhone, and then click the Wi-Fi icon in the OS X Menu Bar.

Closeup of Mac Wi-Fi menu displaying Personal Hotspot battery life and signal strength

You should see your iPhone as a Personal Hotspot with the battery and signal strength.

4. Disconnect From a Wi-Fi Network

If you’ve ever connected to a Wi-Fi network you didn’t want to, you know the pain of trying to get off it. Usually, if you want to disconnect from a network you just turn off Wi-Fi, but that’s not the best option. In Yosemite, you can easily disconnect from a Wi-Fi network right from the menu bar.

Mac Wi-Fi menu displaying Disconnect option

Hold down the Option key and click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar. You’ll see a lot more information on your connection, which can be helpful with troubleshooting, as well as a link to Disconnect. Click this and you’ll still be on Wi-Fi, just not connected to that network.

5. Preview Files in Finder

Sure, it’s easy to hit the spacebar over an image to preview it, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could just see a preview automatically? In Yosemite you can turn on a preview pane in Finder so you see a file preview no matter what view you’re in.

Finder window showing file preview pane

Open a Finder window and click the View menu in the OS X menu bar. From here, click Show Preview and you’ll get a new pane in your Finder window.

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6. Change Your Mac’s Ringtone

While some people want to turn off the feature that makes your Mac ring when your iPhone does, many people love having the ability to answer calls from their desktop. But the default tone that Apple chose is less than inspired.

To change the ringtone your Mac uses for incoming calls, just open up FaceTime on your Mac and click on the FaceTime menu, then Preferences. In the Ringtone drop-down, choose the sound you want to use.

7. Look Inside Folders Using Spotlight

Spotlight is great at finding apps and files, but what if it finds a folder? Until now you had to click into the folder to view its contents. With Yosemite, though, you can search with Spotlight, find a folder, and click once on it. Now you can see the contents in the right side window. Find the file or folder you want and hit Enter to open it.

8. Unify Logins With iCloud Password

OS X Yosemite focuses heavily on integrating all your Apple accounts and devices together for a seamless experience. One of the lesser-known ways it’s doing this is with your account password in OS X.

Users & Groups dialog prompt to use iCloud password as Mac login password

Yosemite now allows you to set your iCloud password as the account password for your Mac, making it easy to remember and even easier to reset if something happens. If you change your iCloud password, your Mac will update automagically.

Just open up System Preferences and click on Users & Groups. From here, click the Change Password button. You should see an iCloud window pop up. Click Use iCloud Password and your Mac password will now be in sync with iCloud.

9. Create a Digital Signature

We mentioned this one before, but you can use your Mac’s camera and touchpad to create signatures to use on PDF files in Preview. It’s really pretty simple to do, and you’ll end up with a signature that has a transparent background that can overlay on just about any document you can open in Preview.

Here are the details on creating the signature. Give it a try and you’ll be ready to sign a PDF the next time you get one.

10. Import Bookmarks Into Safari

Safari is another place where you can see that Apple is trying its best to make integration between devices and computers better than ever. Apple’s browser is arguably the fastest browser for the Mac, and when used in conjunction with iPhone, iPad, and other Macs, it can be incredibly useful, too.

If you’re a Chrome or Firefox user, making the leap to Safari can seem tough, since there’s never been a good way of importing bookmarks. Thankfully, this was resolved in Yosemite. To import bookmarks from Chrome or Firefox, just open up Safari and click the File menu, then Import From. Choose the browser you want to import from, and you’re all set!

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