Unlocking Apple Mail Hidden Features

Unlocking Apple Mail Hidden Features


Mac OS X Mail

Since the beginning of Mac OS X Mail has been a prepackaged along with the operating system. Apple Mail has had to compete with Eudora, Thunderbird and Microsoft’s Entourage. Mail is more than just an email program allowing you to send and receive, you can manage and track messages, guard against spam and even create Smart Folders that automatically organize your mail. Mac OS X Mail also utilizes Spotlight technology so you can find your email messages instantly and accurately. Since its early appearance Mail has become more powerful being coupled with MobileMe and allowing plug-ins from third-party developers. Here are some helpful tips for you to unlock some of Apple Mail’s Hidden Features.

Column Views in Apple Mail
WideMail 0.5.1 is a widescreen Apple Mail Plugin that allows for column views. The most recent version is only Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatible. Dane Harnett is working on a new version for Snow Leopard and you can keep tabs on the release at his site www.daneharnett.com. Click here to download WideMail-0.5.1.dmg.zip (1.2 MB). Once downloaded simply launch the “WideMail Installer” inside the Disk Image (DMG) to install/upgrade. Be sure to sign up to get Dane Harnett’s RSS feed to find out about new releases. If you have any questions, queries or have found a bug, don’t hesitate to send Dane at email: daneharnettgmail.com.

Got Headers? Show Full Headers in Apple Mail
Most users of Apple Mail don’t realize how full featured it is. Apple has toned it done to simplify the Application for the common users. However you can unlock a lot of features. This is a common feature I use for displaying and forwarding the full headers of a message using the Mail application in Macintosh OS X. With the Mail application open do the following:

  1. 1. Click on the “In” mailbox. You can also do this by selecting Mailbox from the main Menu > Show > In or press Command + 1.
  2. 2. Select the message you want to see the full header information.
  3. 3. From the Main menu select View > Message >> Long Headers or Command+Shift+H.
  4. 4. To forward the message click the Forward button or Select Message > Forward Message ( Command+Shift+F is also an option).
  5. 5. Complete the “To:” address field as well as the subject, then send the message.




Filtering Junk Mail
Gettting a lot of junk mail? Also called “spam” Apple Mail has great Junk Mail features. Junk mail filtering is on by default, but you can modify how Mail deals with your unwanted email after it goes through a little training period. When you first start using Mail the Junk Mail feature is enabled and goes through a “training period”. Messages that are suspect appear in brown text with a little bad icon in your Inbox. If Mail marks something as “junk” that isn’t simply select the Message and click the Not Junk button to help train Mail. If a message comes through that is junk but isn’t marked as “junk”, simply select the message and click the Junk button to help train Mail. To make further changes:

  1. 1. Choose Preferences from the Mail menu.
  2. 2. Click the Junk Mail button to display its settings.
  3. 3. To make certain types of messages exempt from junk mail filtering, select/deselect item check boxes below the line, “The following types of messages are exempt from junk mail filtering.”

Depending on how things are going with training Mail take some time to evaluate how well Mail is flagging your junk mail. If it’s working for you simply, select “Move it to the Junk mailbox (Automatic)” radio button in the Junk Mail pane of Mail preferences. This will create a Junk mailbox along the other mailboxes you have in the left column. Mail will now automatically move junk mail to this mailbox.

Remember to check your Junk mailbox periodically to make sure that you aren’t missing anything important. You can click “Not Junk” on the messages that was mistakenly considered spam.

Searching Mail
If you need to find a certain email message you can search for specific text in any message, mailbox or subject line by using the Search field in Mail. Coupled with Spotlight technology you will be able to find what you are looking for in or out of the Application. To get started:

  1. 1. Type the text that you want to search for, like “cupertino” or “Apple Computer”, in the Search field in the upper-right corner of the Mail window.
  2. 2. Mail displays a list of its search results. Click the All Mailboxes button to display results from all mailboxes, or click on a specific mail box and get all the related messages from it.


Unleashing Snow Leopard Exposé Features

Unleashing Snow Leopard Exposé Features


Exposé Hidden Features

Snow Leopard “hidden features” brings with them a host of new tools that range from an improved Finder Toolbar and useful Exposé features. I want to take a minute to showcase a few of these Exposé features enhanced by Snow Leopard that I have found to be the most useful in my everyday computing.

Activate Quick Look
With a Finder Window open you should by default have the Quick Look “eye” in menu bar. If not you can add it by Customizing Your Toolbar by performing Control + Click on the Finder Window Menu bar or from the main Finder menu Click View > “Customize Toolbar…”. From the menu that drops down Drag the “Quick Look” Icon to the bar and Click “Done”.

Using Quick Look
To use quick look simply select an item that appears in the Finder Window and Click on the Quick Look Icon in the Menu bar. You can also activate it by selecting an item and tapping the Space Bar.

Quick Look Slide Show
Activate Quick Look slideshow after selecting a group of files. These can be either images or regular files. With the Finder Window open hold down the Option key to change the Quick Look icon to a Play button or use Command-Option-Y. By click the play button Quick View will go into full screen mode with auto play, forward/backward buttons and slide table view.

Find Window You Need with Exposé
Quick Look is a part of Exposé where you can easily see, access or hide applications windows or documents. Mac OS X 10.5 you can use F9 to display all open windows on your Mac. Using Snow Leopard 10.6 you can use F3 to show all window by Application. You can also sort alphabetically using CMD+1 or by Application using CMD+2.



Exposé by Application
Want to see all the windows you have open by Application. Simply Click and hold open the Application Dock to show all its windows. To enlarge a view simply hover over it and tap the Spacebar.

Getting Fancy: X-ray Folder previews using Quick Look
So when you have tried all this and you want to make Quick Look stand out here is a easy Terminal command that will allow you show a preview of the folder’s contents inside a translucent folder icon. The enable this Quick Look preview that allows you to view the files inside the folder and cycle through them so you can see all of them perform the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableXRayFolders 1

killall Finder


Changing or Reset OS X Password

Changing or Reset OS X Password


Mac OS X Account Password

Changing or reset OS X password with Mac OS X can be a hassle and typically occurs after you installed or upgraded your Mac OS or when you are installing new software. Most of the time it boils down to not remembering your password since you haven’t used it in a while. Here are some basic solutions to either resetting your password to unlocking you user account.

Best Practices
As you know when you install Mac OS X or when you setup a new Macintosh you are prompted to create a main users account. This is the administrator account and the password associated with it is associated with the root account. Anytime you run into trouble you can boot in the root users with you main default password and perform repairs. Best practice in setting up a new Mac dictates that you should be setting up two accounts right from the start, the first will be your Admin, troubleshooting account, the other your user account, for day-to-day usage. That way if you run into trouble you can log into you main admin account without really jeopardizing your user account.




Resetting a User Account with Administrator Password
If you remember you password associated with you primary Administrator Account, the first (or only) one you set up, its simple to reset any standard or managed user’s password. Logged in as the Administrator open System Preferences (Applications > System Preferences) and click on Accounts located in the System row. Each account name will be labeled either as Admin, Standard or Managed. If the lock at the bottom of the window is locked click it to allow changes to be made to the Preferences. Follow these steps for changing a users password:

      1. Select the Users Name from the list.
      2. Click on Reset Password
      3. Enter the new password and click Reset Password.

Resetting an Administrator Password
If you can remember your Administrator Password or can access you Administrator Account you will have to reset it using the Install disk for your current operating system. Unfortunately you can not use a previous version as it the tools it comes with are not compatible. To reset the password you will need to do the following:

      1. Insert your Install Disk for you current OS version.
      2. Restart your Mac and hold down the “C” key before the Apple logo appears at startup.
      3. A window will appear asking what language you want to work in. Click the right arrow at the bottom.
      4. For earlier versions of OS X reset the password from the installer menu for Tiger and later ignore the Installation screen and click on Utilities from the Menu bar and select Reset Password…
      5. Choose your primary Hard Drive from the menu select Account. Here you have to be clear on what you want to do. If you reset the System Administrator account this is usually the root user, not just a Administrative User Account. Most of the time you are here because this is the one you need to reset. Select the user you want to Reset the Password for.
      6. Enter the new Password, click Save, and quit the Installer and Restart your Mac from the Hard Drive.


Don’t Have the Mac OS X Install Disk!
If you have “lost” your installation disk for your current Mac OS X version you are left with two options. One go out an buy one on ebay or borrow one or reset it using the Command Line. NOTE: You can only do this if you are running Mac OS 10.4 Tiger or later. Do not do this if you have FileVault enabled as it has the potential for loosing all your data.

      1. Note the shortname (ex: cberkeley) of the account you want to target. This is the same as the name of its home folder.
      2. Restart your computer.
      3. On startup before the Apple logo appears, hold Command-S. This will start up your Mac in Single User Mode.
      4. At the root prompt enter:

      :/ root# sh /etc/rc

      [press return]

      :/ root# passwd [yourusername]

      [press return]

      5. Now you will have to enter a new password twice. What you type won’t appear on screen, but it is begin entered.
      6. Once you have typed in the new password twice, enter:

      :/ root# reboot

      [press return]

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