I enjoy using OS X on Macs because it requires the least amount of tweaking to become a strong, functional way to interact with your computer. Where Windows is missing key features and Linux hides them under endless customization, OS X usually has the stuff I want already enabled. Usually.
When it doesn’t, it means making some changes. There are a few real annoyances in OS X Yosemite, and you can fix those easily with third-party programs and changing some settings. Here’s how to do it.
Search the folder, not your Mac
Cmd-F’ing within a folder on Macs does not work as it should. Instead of searching the folder, which is why anyone would click search within that window, it searches the entire OS X operating system.
That’s useless. If I wanted a system-wide search, I’d use Spotlight (Cmd + Space).
To make Finder search the folder first, by default, open Finder and hit Cmd-, to open the preferences menu. Go to Advanced and click the box underneath “When performing a search:”.
Change this to “Search the Current Folder.” That will set the default behavior to something more sane.
One of the hardest things to get used to as a Windows emigré was the lack of Cmd-X support. Instead, Apple wants you to do Cmd-C, Cmd-Opt-V to cut and paste items.
Another change from Windows is that folders are organized alongside other files instead of being automatically moved and sorted within the header of Finder.
This is confusing, honestly. Those differences help in Windows, they aren’t bad.
To get something a little more sane, check out Xtrafinder. It fixes the folder organization, adds cut-and-paste support along with a bunch of other useful features like middle-click and colorful sidebar icons.
Best of all? It’s free to download.
No more Bing
Apple insists on adding features to Spotlight that aren’t especially useful. For what it’s worth, you shouldn’t even be using Spotlight, as Quicksilver is much better.
To toggle what Spotlight searches, click the Apple logo in the top left and choose “System Preferences.” From there open the Spotlight menu.
This will present a list of items for Spotlight to search. Uncheck whatever you don’t want.
Reduce all the transparency
Yosemite is all about putting transparent window elements on your desktop like it’s 2007 and Windows Vista is the latest and greatest thing.
To get rid of all the transparency, open the System Preferences again and choose “Accessibility.” Under “Display” on the left, check “Reduce transparency.”
That will turn those partially transparent boxes into flat silver squares and make the desktop a little less distracting.
Stop all the notifications
I like iMessage, but it can be a little annoying to have messages pop up on my screen and stay there until they’re cleared. Same goes for other notification-happy programs.
To fix this, open the Notification Center by clicking the triple-bar icon in the top right. Select the “Notifications” panel and then choose the gears icon at the bottom.
You can go through and set app-specific settings, as well as general Do Not Disturb settings for the system.
Update your apps
Is one of your apps misbehaving? Weird bug that prevents it from launching? Chances are someone else has had the same issue already.
Check the App Store for updates on all your programs. Keeping them up-to-date often solves common problems with apps, first- and third-party.
Install third-party apps without OS X hassling you
Apple wants you to download everything from the Mac App Store, but that doesn’t fly all the time. There are a lot of famous programs that sell outside the store. Too bad downloading one means changing the settings.
To let more in, open System Preferences and go to “Security & Privacy.” Click the lock in the bottom left and enter your password to unlock the settings.
To allow non-Mac App Store apps, select the second or third option there. I allow apps from anywhere, but most users should be fine sticking to identified developers.
Once you’re done, click the lock again.
OS X Yosemite is a solid operating system, but its quirks are annoying at times. Cmd-Opt-V? Really?