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The Boyce Blog is written and maintained by Mac, iPhone, and iPad consultant Christian Boyce.
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The best site for Mac, iPhone, and iPad tips, period.

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How to Update Flash Player on Your Mac

How to Update Flash Player on Your Mac

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Adobe flash icon

Adobe updated its Flash Player recently. Apple's Safari browser blocks any version of Flash that isn't the very latest, so Adobe's update caused Safari's blocking to kick in... and that means I'm getting the same question, over and over:

"How do I update my Flash Player?"

It ought to be easy but Adobe manages to confuse people with sloppy wording on their website. Read on and I'll clarify everything and you will be back to watching YouTube videos in no time.

You've probably seen something like this on a web page lately:

Flash out of date

First thing to do: click where it says "Flash out-of-date." That leads to this picture:

Download Flash

Notice that this window slid out of the Safari window you're viewing. This is Apple's way of saying "this message is from us." Ordinarily you should be suspicious of windows that pop up, telling you to download this and install that, but in this case, since it comes from Apple, you're safe. The sliding-down-out-of-the-Safari-window is your clue. If you want to see it happen again, click "OK" and then click the "Flash out-of-date" button again. Fun! Now click the Download Flash... button, which takes you to Adobe's site. It looks like this:

Install now

Notice that the address is "get.adobe.com/flashplayer." When you try it, you may just see "adobe.com" and that is OK too. Anything else is probably a phishing attempt. Take a screenshot (Command-shift-3) and send it to me so I can tell you if you're safe or not.

Notice also that big yellow button that says "Install now." You should click it, but guess what? It does NOT "Install Now." What it really does is "DOWNLOAD Now." This is the biggest point of confusement in the whole process. (Yes, I know "confusement" isn't a word-- not yet-- but maybe if I use it enough it will be.)

Most people stop after clicking "Install Now," thinking they're done. But they aren't done. All they've done is download the installer. They haven't "installed" anything. So they get the same "Flash out-of-date" message the next time they go to a website with Flash, and then they click Download Flash... again, and then they click the big yellow Install Now button again.

And then they call or email me. Here is what I tell them:

"You have to install the Flash Player. All you've done so far is download the installer. Find it in your Downloads folder, or easier yet, click the little down-arrow in Safari to show all of your recent downloads."

Now that you see the downloads, double-click the first item in the list, right on the icon (assuming it's called something like "AdobeFlashPlayerInstall..." Here's a picture:

Safari downloads

Now you're getting somewhere. You'll see this window in a minute:

Adobe flash installer

Double-click the red box "Install Adobe Flash Player" icon. Now you see this, giving you a chance to bail out:

Adobe flash installer warning

You'll click "Open" because you know where it came from. You just downloaded it.

Now you'll see this box, except it won't have my name in it:

Adobe flash player password

Put in your password-- this is your "admin" password, the same one you use every time you install software-- and click OK. The installation will proceed... or rather, another download will proceed. C'mon Adobe.

Adobe flash player downloading

When the download is finished the installation will begin, without further input from you... but then it will stall, asking you to Quit Safari. Actually, the installer asks you to "Close" Safari but that's not the right word. The right word is "Quit." If you don't Quit Safari the installation will remain stalled. Quit via Safari's File menu, or by clicking and holding on Safari in the Dock and then sliding to choose Quit from the pop-up menu. Then click Retry.

Adobe flash player close safari

Yes, Adobe could (and should) handle this a LOT better.

Finally, you will see a window like this:

Adobe flash installation complete

You're almost done. You still have to click the "Finish" button but that's it. Safari will re-launch automatically and you'll see a little promo from Adobe.

Adobe thank you and enjoy

Now you're really done. Until next time.

You may be wondering why Apple is so strict about Flash. The reason is that, even at version 15, the Adobe Flash Player continues to be exploited by bad guys who want to take over your Mac and turn it into a spam-spewing zombie. Every few months, someone finds a new way to leverage security holes in Flash, and sometime after that Adobe plugs the hole and puts out a new version of the Flash Player. Apple does not want you using software that is a known security risk, so they don't allow any version of Flash to run on Safari once it's been shown to have security issues (that is, every version of Flash created to date other than the current one, and it's just a matter of time for that one).

You can get around the problem of upgrading Flash a couple of ways. First, you can use a less-secure browser like Firefox (it will not complain about the version of Flash you're using). You can also use Chrome, which has Flash built in, for better or worse. You can also just use your iPhone or iPad, which won't run Flash at all, and in many cases you won't miss anything. But I would just follow the steps here and get Flash upgraded. It's pretty easy and you'll know what to do for next time.

Technically, Flash is lousy software that slows your Mac down and makes it run hot. I wish it had never been invented, and the sooner it disappears, the better (it is going away, but not quickly enough to suit me). Until it's gone all you can do is keep it updated and hope Adobe finds the security holes before the bad guys do.

You will find Steve Jobs' "Thoughts on Flash" interesting and illuminating. Recommended reading.

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Mac OS Yosemite: Should You Install It?

Mac OS Yosemite: Should You Install It?

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Yosemite Install logo

Readers of this blog are likely aware of Apple's new Mac OS "Yosemite" (aka Mac OS 10.10). They're also likely aware that it's a free upgrade, and that all you have to do is click a button to start the installation. The question is, should you install Yosemite? Should you click that button?

In my opinion, the answer is "not just yet." Yes, there are some nifty new features (I like the improvements to dictation, the way you can mark up an email attachment, and being able to make a phone call from my Mac), but let's keep in mind that a new operating system is a serious chunk of programming, and it's hard to get everything right on the first try. Remember iOS 8, and how it didn't work very well until they got it to 8.1? If I were you I'd wait for Apple to come out with at least one Yosemite update before installing it.

While you're waiting you might want to learn more about Yosemite. Here's some great stuff for you, personally curated by me.

(Fun fact: the first time I saw the word "Yosemite" in print I thought it was pronounced "YOZE-might.")

I don't expect that everyone will wait for the 10.10.1 update before installing Yosemite. I get it. If you decide to install Yosemite now, at least make sure that you aren't causing trouble for yourself. The most important thing you need to do is be absolutely sure you aren't going to have compatibility issues.

Your Apple apps (Mail, Safari, Preview, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, etc.) will be updated and upgraded to work with Yosemite. They won't work exactly the same way they used to work but they will work. It's your other apps-- your non-Apple apps-- that we're worried about here. If you have non-Apple programs that you rely on you'd better check that they will work with Yosemite. You can contact the people who make your programs (excellent idea), or you can peruse a website like www.roaringapps.com to see what other people have found (also a good idea, though less direct). Using Roaring Apps I found that AutoCAD 2014 won't work under Yosemite, and neither will Adobe Illustrator CS4, and that's just looking at apps that start with "A." See below.

Roaringapps

If you used those apps you'd have to update them to have them work in Yosemite. In AutoCAD's case, the update is free (but of course you have to actually do the work of installing it). In Adobe Illustrator's case, you'd have to buy a license for the current version of Illustrator. All of a sudden that "free" upgrade to Yosemite is costing you time and money. Do some homework in advance of installing Yosemite and save yourself a lot of trouble.

Speaking of saving, you also ought to save a complete copy of your hard drive pre-Yosemite so you can revert to it, just in case you discover issues after the installation. A Super Duper backup is the way to go here. Time Machine backups will do, but restoring an entire hard drive from Time Machine can take overnight. (My friend Allison-- two "l"s and an "i"-- had to go through that as her machine slowed to a crawl after the Yosemite installation. Good on her for having the Time Machine backup, but a "clone," via Super Duper, would have been faster to restore from.)

A Super Duper clone is a great idea anyway, even if you don't upgrade to Yosemite. Get an external hard disk as big as your internal one, and then use Super Duper (in the free mode, if you'd like) to make a copy of it. It's cheap insurance and it could save you a whole day. Here's a link to Super Duper, and here's a link to a great Western Digital hard drive that is powered by USB.

Super DuperWestern Digital Hard Drive

Naturally I had to install Yosemite over here, for testing purposes. But I installed it on an external drive, where I could experiment and not worry about messing up my Mac. So, while I didn't follow my own advice I at least took precautions. And if it weren't my job to keep up with things I would have waited. I have work to do and I can't take chances with my machine.

If you've already installed Yosemite, don't fret. We're still friends, and I'll have some tips for you in the days and weeks to come. I'll be glad to hear about your experience, good or bad-- email me-- and if you had trouble, of course I'll try to help.

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iOS 8.1 Update: Do It. Here's How.

iOS 8.1 Update: Do It. Here's How.

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iOS 8.1 logo

The iOS 8.1 update came out yesterday. I've installed it on my iPhone 5s and iPad 2 and it's solved some iOS 8 problems for me, including performance issues which were very evident on the iPad 2. If you've already installed 8.0, 8.0.1, or 8.0.2 on your iPhone or iPad (or iPod touch) the 8.1 update is something you should do right away. As my friend Sondra would say, "It's a no-brainer!"

If you've been waiting to install iOS 8 until I told you it was time: "it's time."

You can go to Settings/General/Software Update and begin the update "OTA" (that's "Over the Air")-- unless you can't. Apple might let you know that you can't by telling you that your iPhone/iPad/iPod is too full. If you get that message, you probably can do the update "OTW" ("over the wire"), even if your iPhone/iPad/iPod is close to full, by connecting your device to your Mac and updating it through iTunes. The process is the same whether you're installing 8.1 from some other version of iOS 8, or from some version of iOS 7 (or even iOS 6). You should try this method before trying to free up space by deleting things on your device-- it will save you a lot of time and trouble.

Here's how you do an iOS update using the USB cable and iTunes. ("The USB cable" is the one that you charge your iPhone/iPad/iPod with-- just pull it out of the charger. Yes it comes out. You laugh but trust me, this is going to help someone.)

  1. Connect your device to your Mac with the USB cable
  2. Wait for iTunes to start, or start it yourself
  3. Click on your iPhone/iPad/iPod in iTunes
  4. Click Backup to back up your iPhone to the Mac
    (if asked, yes, you do want to transfer purchases from the iPhone to the Mac, and if you're presented with a dialog box asking you to "authorize" the Mac use the name and password you use when buying apps from the App Store)
  5. Check the box that encrypts the backup. An encrypted backup stores passwords, which makes things easier for you down the road. You'll be asked for a password to lock the backup-- that's the encryption part-- and whichever password you choose, I recommend checking the box to save it in the Keychain.
  6. Click Backup again (we did the first backup in case you forget the encryption password)
  7. Click Update after the backup is done
  8. Sit back and wait for the update to finish

It sounds complicated but it's not. Take your time and go step by step.

Doing the update over the wire requires much less space than doing it over the air. You get a better result too-- a brand-new iOS 8.1, freshly installed, rather than an older system that's patched with updates.

Here are the release notes for 8.1, provided by Apple. The bolding and italicizing-- that's by me.

This release includes new features, improvements and bug fixes, including:
  • Apple Pay support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (U.S. only)
  • Photos includes new features, improvements and fixes
  • Adds iCloud Photo Library as a beta service
  • Adds Camera Roll album in Photos app and My Photo Stream album when iCloud Photo Library is not enabled
  • Provides alerts when running low on space before capturing Time Lapse videos
  • Messages includes new features, improvements and fixes
  • Adds the ability for iPhone users to send and receive SMS and MMS text messages from their iPad and Mac
  • Resolves an issue where search would sometimes not display results
  • Fixes a bug that caused read messages to not be marked as read
  • Fixes issues with group messaging
  • Resolves issues with Wi-Fi performance that could occur when connected to some base stations
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent connections to Bluetooth hands-free devices
  • Fixes bugs that could cause screen rotation to stop working
  • Adds an option to select between 2G, 3G or LTE networks for cellular data
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where videos would sometimes not play
  • Adds AirDrop support for Passbook passes
  • Adds an option to enable Dictation in Settings for Keyboards, separate from Siri
  • Enables HealthKit apps to access data in the background
  • Accessibility improvements and fixes
  • Fixes an issue that prevented Guided Access from working properly
  • Fixes a bug where VoiceOver would not work with 3rd party keyboards
  • Improves stability and audio quality when using MFi Hearing Aids with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
  • Fixes an issue with VoiceOver where tone dialing would get stuck on a tone until dialing another number
  • Improves reliability when using handwriting, Bluetooth keyboards and Braille displays with VoiceOver
  • Fixes an issue that was preventing the use of OS X Caching Server for iOS updates

Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

If you have an iPhone 5 or 5s, or an iPad newer than the iPad 2, iOS 8.1 is a good update for you. Older devices (such as the iPhone 4s-- Zach-- and the iPad 2-- Mom) might be a little too slow for any version of iOS 8, though 8.1 is definitely the fastest 8 so far. iOS 8.1 feels like the system Apple wanted to release when they rolled out the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus-- polished, with all features functioning. Throw in the Return of the Camera Roll and it's a very compelling system.

Still have questions? Email me. But first, join the mailing list. People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.

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How to Edit Photos Using iOS 8's Photos App

How to Edit Photos Using iOS 8's Photos App

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Ios8 photos app icon

Apple's packed some great photo-editing features into iOS 8's Photos app. It's not quite Photoshop but it may be all you need. Plus, it's already on your iPhone, assuming you're on iOS 8. Plus it's a ton of fun.

Here's how you can use these features to quickly improve your pictures.

Mom, and others on iOS 7: use Snapseed. Sorry about that.

Start by taking a picture, or choose one from your Photo library, and tap "Edit" at top right. If all you see is a picture, tap the picture itself and you'll see buttons appear at top and bottom. You want the one at the top right.

Here's a nice picture of a Bird of Paradise plant. It looked better when I took it. I'm going to fix it up.

Starting to Edit

After you tap Edit you'll see something like this. Actually, exactly like this. Except your picture won't look like mine.

iOS 8 photos magic want tool

The first thing to try is the Magic Wand, in the top right corner. All you do is tap it and like magic your picture gets better. Tap it again to turn it off in case you don't like the results. You can see that it's fixed up my picture a little bit. I don't know all of what it does but that's why they call it magic.

iOS 8 after using Magic Wand

I'm going to turn the Magic Wand's effect off, because while it fixed things up a little bit it didn't fix it up enough.

Let's look at the options across the bottom of the screen: Cropping, Filters, and Adjustments.

Cropping works as you might expect: tap the Crop tool and drag things around until the picture is nicely cropped.

Note you can rotate the picture as well, either freehand (by dragging with your finger) or in 90-degree steps using the square-with-curvy arrow button at bottom left in this picture.

I'm going to crop out the car in the background, at least part-way. You can also tap inside the frame and drag your picture around, as I have here. The iPhone will wait a second or two for you to stop moving things, and then it will crop and zoom in on the part of the photo you've kept.

Here's how it looked while I was working on it...

iOS 8 in crop mode

And here's how it looked a few seconds later, when the cropped section zoomed to fill the screen.

iOS 8 photos after cropping

The picture is better already.

By The Way: if you want to crop to a particular aspect ratio-- maybe a square, or 16:9-- tap the white button above the "Done" button at lower right in my picture. That will give you all of the standard aspect ratios you'd ever want. I, of course, wanted to do it "my way" so I did not use that button (although I did come pretty close to making a square).

You might be tempted to tap "Done" at this point but that would not be the right move here. If you do that you'll save the picture, which is fine, but we have more editing to do.

You might also be tempted to use the Filters (the middle button across the bottom). I wasn't. But, since all you do in the Filters section is look at a bunch of thumbnail variations and pick the one you want, you don't need my help with that.

Let's get to the good stuff. It's all under the Adjustments button. Tap it and you'll get something like this:

iOS 8 Photos app Adjustments

You can do a lot here-- I'm going to start in the middle, with color, because I want to punch things up by over-saturating the picture.

If you tap on "Color" (or anywhere in that row that isn't the down-arrow at the far right) you get this:

iOS 8 Photos app Color adjustments

You can drag back and forth until you get a picture that you like, and there's nothing wrong with that. But it's a little coarse and rather limited. The better way to go is to tap the down-arrow to begin with (or, if you accidentally got into the coarse-and-limited area, tap the icon I'm pointing to with the red arrow).

This is what you're looking for: options galore.

iOS 8 Photos app Color options

I want to adjust "Saturation" so I give that a tap, leading to this:

iOS 8 Photos app Saturation

This is typical of the way you make adjustments: you get a slider, and you drag it around until you're happy. It took dragging all the way to the right before I was happy and here's how it looked:

iOS 8 photos app full saturation

No wonder I was happy. What a great picture, all of a sudden. However, after mulling it over I decided to back off just a little. It's still great, just a little less loud about it.

iOS 8 Photos app almost full saturation

Now we're getting somewhere. Contrast is controlled the same way that Saturation is-- with a slider. You get to Contrast by tapping the icon that looks like this:

iOS 8 Photos app options

Because it's so easy, and because this picture doesn't need any help in the Contrast department, I'm skipping it. But I will show you "Cast."

This is really "Color Cast" and it controls whether your picture is "warm" or "cool." Here's full-blast "warm:"

iOS photos app color cast(picture with full-blast warm color cast)

... and here's full-blast "cool."

iOS 8 photos app cool color cast

I like it almost full-blast warm, as it reminds me that the sun was going down and everything had a nice warmth to it.

iOS 8 photos app color cast

Down below's a little movie showing you how I got to this stage. (You probably have to tap the movie to start it.)

ios8photosappmovie1

Now let's see what we can do using the controls under "Light." Remember, if you tap where it says "Light" you get the slider with the thumbnails. (Also remember: tap that button with the three dots and the three lines to get to where you can choose the Light section). If you want finer control tap the down-arrow.

Here's what the basics looks like...

iOS 8 photos app Light

and here are the finer controls.

iOS 8 photos app Light finer controls

I'm going to darken up the shadows a little because I want the plant to really "pop."

iOS 8 photos app shadows adjustment

One more thing I want to adjust is the so-called "Black Point." What you're doing with Black Point adjustments is saying "See this shade of gray? Everything that's darker than that, make it pure black." With the Photos app you don't actually get to point to the shade of gray you're talking about. Instead, you use (what else?) a slider.

Here's how it looked after a little Black Point adjusting.

iOS 8 photos app black point adjustment

I'm going to skip the Black and White section because I'm pretty sure, after having seen how Light and Color work, that you don't need me to show you. Besides, I want a color picture, not a black and white one.

BONUS TIP THAT I DISCOVERED WHILE WRITING THIS BLOG POST:

Suppose your screen looks like this:

iOS 8 photos app black and white

Swipe down on the main photo-- you see the color thumbnails! Drag some more and you see the Light adjustments, and eventually the Light thumbnails. That's a nice way to switch between things, isn't it? You can drag on the thumbnails too but it is hard to drag exactly straight up and down when you get into the adjustments sections. Try it and see.

Here are the Color thumbnails...

iOS 8 photos app color

and here are the Light thumbnails, both accessed by swiping up and down on the main picture.

iOS 8 photos app Light

Watch the movie below and see. (You probably have to tap the movie to start it.)

ios8photosappmovie2

Now suppose you make a mistake and accidentally change your picture to black and white. Can you get out of that? (Of course you can-- this is a set-up.)

iOS 8 photos app black and white oopsy

Naturally you could tap "Cancel" but that cancels EVERYTHING. You don't want to start over. But notice the B&W is now black writing on white-- before we made our mistake, it was the other way around. Tap it, and it reverts. What a relief! See below, and notice how the "B&W" label changes. .

iOS 8 photos app black and white undone

Once we're satisfied with things we tap "Done" and the picture is saved. Here's our final product. Compared to the original, there's no comparison. The adjusted version is a LOT better. Maybe I should have stopped after the Saturation step, come to think of it. But it's still better.

Final Product (below)

Finalproductcropped

Original Photo (below)

Original

Turns out there's more to learn but this is enough for today. If you're wondering about the button we didn't tap-- the one opposite the Magic Wand-- that's the button that allows you to access other photo-editing apps, without leaving the Photos app itself! That's pretty neat, but it's also very new, and not too many programs make themselves available to the Photos app that way. If you have some photo-editing apps on your iPhone or iPad you ought to give that button a tap.

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How to use the Launchpad

How to use the Launchpad

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Launchpad icon

If you're using Mac OS 10.7 or higher your Mac includes a very handy app called the Launchpad. Its icon (shown above) is probably in the Dock, and you've probably seen it, and maybe even used it-- but without a little instruction you may not have realized its power. So here's a little instruction.

What it does

The Launchpad gives you quick access to the applications on your Mac. It's a lot like the Home screen on an iPhone or iPad-- everything's right there in front of you. Yes, there are other ways to get to your apps, but Launchpad is the easiest and nicest built-in way to see all of them.

Here's a picture of the Launchpad doing its thing.

Screen Shot 2014 10 11 at 9 07 11 PM

TRIVIA TIME: the "Home Screen" on the iPhone and iPad isn't officially called the Home Screen. Officially, it's known as "the Springboard." I don't know anyone who calls it that but "Springboard" is the official name. You can look it up.

If you click on an icon in the Launchpad-- one click-- that application launches. This makes launching apps very quick and easy. Of course you need to know how to launch Launchpad itself... that's next.

How to launch the Launchpad

There are three easy, built-in ways to launch the Launchpad:
  1. Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock
  2. Activate Spotlight with Command-spacebar, then type "lau" or enough of "Launchpad" for Spotlight to suggest it, and then Return
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut assigned by default.

The keyboard shortcut assigned by default depends on your keyboard. Look for a function key (top row) with a picture that looks like this:

F4 with red border

If your keyboard doesn't have a picture like that try pressing F4 anyway. It might work. If it does, press it again and Launchpad will go away.

If Launchpad doesn't respond when you press F4, or if you want to assign it to some other key, fix things up in System Preferences/Keyboard/Shortcuts. If you're stuck, email me.

You'll notice some sparklies in that first screenshot. The sparklies call your attention to apps that were recently added to the Mac. You have to see it for yourself-- it's a fun effect. Note that apps stop sparkling after you launch them, and eventually even if you don't. So enjoy it while you can. You can also see in Launchpad, when downloading a new app, a little progress bar in the app's icon. Next time you buy an app from the Mac App Store fire up the Launchpad and see.

If all the Launchpad did was show your Mac's apps it would not be very impressive. And I would not be writing about it. But there are a lot of little niceties that make the Launchpad worth writing about. For example:

1. If you fill up the Launchpad's screen with apps it will automatically create a second screen (and a third, and a fourth). You can switch screens with Command-right arrow/Command-left arrow, or by clicking the TINY white dots at the lower center of the screen, or by using a two-finger right- or left-swipe on a trackpad.

See below for a picture showing the TINY white dots. It also shows a couple of downloading apps-- one paused (you pause the download by clicking on it).

Launchpad Tiny White Dots

2. If you type a letter or two Launchpad will narrow things down, showing only the apps it thinks you want. It's sort of clever about it: if you type an "e" it doesn't just show you apps that start with E. It also shows you apps where part of the name starts with E. Sort of neat. Note that you don't have to click in the search box (at the top)-- just start typing.

Launch Pad type a letter

3. You can use the arrow keys to move around the screen until you've selected the app you want to launch. Then press Return or Enter on your keyboard to start that app right up.

4. You can delete an app right from the Launchpad by holding down the Option key and then clicking the little "x" that appears on each app's icon, very similar to the way it works on the iPhone and iPad. I wouldn't do this if I were you-- you realize, don't you, that you're not just taking the app out of the Launchpad, right? You're really deleting the app. Now that you know how it works you won't be surprised at what happens. You do get a warning-- "are you sure you want to delete this app"-- but still, it's a little risky. Don't do it when you're tired.

If you're wondering why some apps don't get the "x" it's the same story as on the iPhone and iPad: you can't throw away the things that Apple considers "standard." And if you're wondering why it takes a long time for something you delete using Launchpad to actually exit the Applications folder, well, so am I.

5. (How many sentences can I start with "Just as on the iPhone and iPad,..."? At least one more, I'm thinking.) Just as on the iPhone and iPad, you can drag icons around and arrange them as you please, even from one screen to another. Put all of your favorites on the first screen. Put all of your graphics apps in the bottom row. Put left-leaning rectangular icons in the top row, circles in the second row, more left-leaning rectangular icons in the third row, etc.

Arrange your icons in Launchpad

6. You can create little groups of apps by dragging one app on top of another. You can name the group, "just as on the iPhone and iPad." There's an "Other" group in the screenshot above. I don't do this much because once an app's in a group (technically, a "folder," not that it looks anything like a folder), I tend to forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind! I mention it here because you are bound to accidentally create a group, and when you do you will want to know how to get back to "normal." Simply click on the group, watch it expand, and then drag the icon(s) from the group onto any unused space.

Sounds great, yes? Well, that's because it is great. There are two Launchpad caveats:
  • It only shows apps that are in the Applications folder*.
  • It doesn't care at all how you might have arranged things in your Applications folder-- for example, there's no "Utilities" folder in the Launchpad though there is one in the Applications folder.
* Technically it shows apps that are in the Mac's Applications folder AND in your own "User" Applications folder, but the latter is rarely used and it confuses people more to mention it than not. Now look what you made me do.

The hardest part about using the Launchpad is remembering to use it, especially for long-time Mac users who have already developed their own ways of bringing up apps. You ought to try it a couple of times yourself, if only to see how many apps, and which ones, are already installed on your Mac. I think, though, that once you've tried the Launchpad you're going to like it-- and use it-- a lot.

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