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Did you know you can use iWork instead of purchasing Microsoft Office programs? Your Mac may come with iWork pre-installed, or you can download the programs from the Apple Store. You can access iWork in the Applications folder. You receive 5 GB of iCloud storage for free, so make sure to sync your files, email, contacts, calendars, and passwords, and upgrade later if you need more storage space.

Log in using your existing Apple ID, or make one for the first time. Each file stays right where you last saved it—you just click the icon, and the file downloads to your Mac when you open it. Whether you have a Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse, or the trackpad your Mac came with, you can perform useful actions by pinching, swiping, or spreading your fingers.

Macs use the Command key—instead of the Ctrl key, like PCs—and you can speed up many daily tasks by knowing a few keyboard shortcuts. Here are three simple keyboard shortcuts to help speed up tasks you perform often:. If you need an accent or alternative character, press and hold the character key down for a few seconds and the list of special options will appear.

This tool is especially helpful if you understand multiple languages or commonly use foreign characters. If your Mac is running slowly, you may need to free up some space. Once there, type "sudo purge" to free up around MB of memory space and get your Mac back on track. Hot Corners allow you to automate an action when you move your mouse to one of the four corners on your Mac screen. Select an action from the drop-down menu next to the corner you want to use and select OK.

Below is an example of a potential setup.

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Continuity allows you to start a task on one device and finish it on another. Simply enable the Handoff feature by signing i to your iCloud account on all of your devices, turning on Bluetooth, and connecting them to the same Wi-Fi network. You can now switch between devices to quickly and efficiently accomplish all you need to do. Besides working across multiple Apple devices, Universal Clipboard allows you to copy text, video, or images from and to any Apple device that's logged in to your iCloud account.

You won't need to turn on the Clipboard for it to work—just turn on your Wi-Fi, enable Bluetooth and connect both of your devices to the same Wi-Fi network. Now you can copy something on one device and past it in another. While OS X El Capitan's Split View feature enabled users to view two apps or windows side by side, the new macOS Sierra "snaps" the edges of multiple windows or apps together to prevent them from overlapping with each other.

This feature is also known as Window Snapping or Sticky Edges. To arrange windows neatly without overlapping with each other, simply drag one window near the edge of another window. There will be a few seconds of "stickiness"—the window will temporarily stick to the other window's edge—before you can drag it to overlap another window. Tired of shaking your cursor and typing in your password every time you log in? The limited number of viruses that target Mac OS X often leads Mac users into a false sense of security. The most common of these are macro viruses found inside Office documents — some of which have a limited ability to affect machines with a version of Office for Mac that has macro support enabled.

In fact, if you have a Windows operating system on your Mac, you should really consider virus protection for both Mac OS X and Windows.


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Macs have always supported guest access for file sharing, in which a remote user can connect to a Mac without providing a username, password or other identifying information. The idea of allowing remote access to your Mac has always been fraught with potential for security compromises. It should never be allowed because it presents a grave security threat that could prevent you from easily tracking the source of a breach. In Leopard, Apple extended guest access to the local level: Users can log in and use a Mac with a guest account that requires no username or password.

The idea of a guest account is a convenient one. If you have friends or family visiting, you can let them use your Mac without allowing them access to your user account or files. When they log out as a guest, their home folder and any files they created are automatically deleted. The guest also has access to any installed applications, which could be used to perform malicious actions from your computer. If you must use the guest account, limit its access using Parental Controls.

You can turn off both the guest account and remote guest access in the Accounts pane of System Preferences in Leopard. User passwords are one of the foundations of security. Mac OS X includes a password assistant that automatically generates random passwords according a specified level of complexity; it also checks the complexity of passwords that you create. Make use of this feature whenever you need to generate a password — for Web sites or other services as well as for your Mac OS X user account.

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To get to the password assistant, go to the Accounts pane in System Preferences, select a user account, click the Change Password option, and then click the button with a key icon next to the New Password field. Even the most complex password can be cracked, however, so remember to change your password frequently.

As part of the Setup Assistant that runs when you install Mac OS X or start up a new Mac, Mac OS X enables automatic log-in for the first user account that you create — which means you can log in without providing a username and password whenever you start up. This is a particularly significant risk for Mac laptop users. You can disable automatic log-in in the Accounts pane of System Preferences by clicking the Login Options button at the bottom of the user accounts list on the left.

The automatic log-in option appears at the top of the area on the right; select Disabled from its pop-up menu. This makes it easier for anyone who has physical access to a Mac to gain access to it, since they need only guess a password. Disabling the display of users adds another layer of security because it requires that a malicious user know the username associated with an account. Another simple act to help secure an account is to disable password hints which Mac OS X will normally display to help you remember your password after three failed log-in attempts.

This significantly undermines the security of using a password and should always be disabled. Both of these options can be configured in the same Accounts pane where you disabled automatic log-in. The biggest security risks occur if your Mac is stolen or physically compromised. You can, however, place a firmware password on your Mac. Regardless of platform, the free tool from Apple for implementing a firmware password is called the Open Firmware Password Utility.

Apple provides complete steps for setting a firmware password on its support site. If you or anyone else tries to use a special start-up mode, the user will be required to enter the firmware password. This can significantly secure personal, business or educational Macs against tampering. However, be warned that if you forget a firmware password, there is no way to reset or remove it. Each of these can go a long way to securing access to your data if someone has physical access to your Mac.

This is particularly important if you have a Mac laptop or are working with a Mac that offers any form of public access. The option to use secure virtual memory is also located here. When secure virtual memory is enabled, the swap file that a Mac uses to store running data if it begins to run short of RAM will be encrypted. This drastically reduces the chance that if a Mac is physically compromised, any data for active applications or processes will be retrievable. This is important because virtual memory may contain sensitive information that can be used to compromise a Mac even if data on a drive is secure.

To do so, launch System Preferences, and select the Network pane. Select each interface you want to disable, and for each one, select the button that looks like a gear at the bottom of the interface list, and choose Make Inactive from the pop-up menu. Mac OS X offers a number of options for encrypting your data to prevent access to it if your Mac is lost or stolen.

FileVault converts your entire home folder into an encrypted disk image. The image is mounted and accessible only when you are logged in. At all other times, it is unreadable. FileVault must be enabled by each user who wants to have an encrypted home directory. Each home directory will be encrypted as a separate disk image file. FileVault supports the use of a master password as a safety net that can be used to reset user passwords and access encrypted home folders if users forget their passwords.

If both a user password and a master password are lost or forgotten, however, there is no way to retrieve data from the encrypted home folder.

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You can set or change a master password using the Change button next to the master password description. You must be an administrative user of the computer to do this, and you must know the current master password if one is already set.


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Next, click the Turn On FileVault button. Enabling FileVault for the first time can take a significant amount of time because the entire contents of your home folder are copied into a newly created encrypted disk image. If you have tens or hundreds of gigabytes of data, this could take hours or even days much like an initial Time Machine backup. During this initial copy, you will also need to ensure that you have at least as much free space on your hard drive as the size of your home folder, since all the data will be copied.

Disk Utility also lets you create encrypted disk images. Disk images look and act like virtual hard drives and can be created as blank images or copies of existing disks or folders. Mounting an encrypted disk image and accessing the contents requires a password. This makes encrypted disk images helpful if you want to secure only a portion of your files, if you need to securely store files outside your home folder, or if you need to securely share files by e-mail or other mechanisms.

To create an encrypted disk image, launch Disk Utility, and click the New Image button in the tool bar. To enable encryption, choose bit or bit AES encryption from the Encryption pop-up menu. When Disk Utility creates the image, it will prompt you to enter and verify a password that will be required to open the disk image file. The password assistant is available in this prompt in the form of a button with a key icon, just as when changing a user account password.

The Mac OS X Keychain is a feature that securely collects passwords for a vast number of functions — including e-mail and instant messaging accounts, Web services, Wi-Fi networks and file servers. The Keychain stores this information in encrypted format and is decrypted only when you provide a master password. Keychains can also contain encrypted notes such as bank account information and security certificates, all of which can be accessed and managed from the Keychain Access application in the Utilities folder on your Mac.

In the Keychain Access window, right-click or control-click on an available Keychain to change the password, lock the keychain or alter settings that will cause the keychain to lock automatically. You can also create or delete Keychains here. Keychains offer both security and convenience. This ensures that even if your user account password is compromised, the data in your Keychain s — including passwords to other services — will remain securely encrypted. Mac OS X has included an optional firewall for some time, traditionally based on the open-source Unix ipfw firewall.

Leopard introduced a newer, dynamic firewall option. This new firewall click the Firewall tab in the Security pane in System Preferences is straightforward, which is helpful for users who simply want their computers protected without having to create and manage complex firewall rules.

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You can also allow only core system services to accept incoming data or allow access based on specific applications or system processes. This last option is the most commonly used, and it will cause Leopard to alert you any time an application wants to accept nonrequested incoming data. If you allow incoming data for an application, it gets added to the list of allowed applications.

Applications such as iChat require incoming connections to function properly. You can use the list in System Preferences to selectively remove applications from the allowed list or even just as a quick way of verifying which applications are on the list. You can also change an allow rule into a block rule, which will prevent an application from receiving incoming data or asking you to allow access. Two other options — enable logging and enable stealth mode — are available via the Advanced button.

Logging, as you might guess, logs all traffic that is received by your Mac and how that traffic is filtered.