10 Reasons to Use Mac OS X Mavericks

Mavericks is the first version of the Mac OS X operating system to eschew the feline nicknames of its predecessors. Instead of Mountain Lion, Lion, Snow Leopard, Leopard, and so on, Apple gives us Mavericks, named after a California-based surfing destination.

Of course, you're not going to choose an OS strictly for its moniker. You're going to choose it for its reliability and all that it can do. Speaking of which, here are ten key features new in Mac OS X Mavericks that are sure to make their own waves:

  • Read your iBooks: Apple brought the iBooks electronic reader app and its companion bookstore to the Mac from the iOS devices where iBooks debuted. You'll find more than 2 million bestsellers, and as you read, you can add notes and highlights and share the books via iCloud across to all your other Macs and/or iOS devices.

  • Share maps and directions with your iOS devices: The handsome new Maps app for the Mac also borrows heavily from iOS. In fact, the Mac version of Maps can work in tandem with the Maps version on iOS devices. So you can plan a trip on your Mac and push directions to an iPhone or iPad (if you have one). Another Maps highlight: View stunning "fly-over" views of certain metropolitan areas.

  • Upgrade your Calendar app: Apple has long included a calendar app with OS X — it used to be called iCal. But with Mavericks some key improvements arrived, notably the ability to estimate how long it will take you to get to your next meeting in time, whether you plan to travel by car or on foot. Oh, and you'll also see an inline map and weather forecast for the place once you get there.

  • Save and share links easily Safari: Your Mac already had a terrific Web browser in Safari. Mavericks does Safari one (or two things) better. New to the Safari on the Mac is a Shared Links feature that makes it easy to find the content shared on Twitter or LinkedIn by the people that you follow. You can retweet right from the Shared Links. Such links are easily accessible from within a new Sidebar view; in this view you can also easily get to your Bookmarks and Reading List.

  • Secure passwords and credit card data in iCloud Keychain: iCloud Keychain is a repository for your credit card account numbers, user names and passwords, and more stuff that you want to securely store in the cloud. The information is kept up-to-date on all your approved devices, be they other Macs or iOS devices. Apple applies robust encryption. A new Password Generator helps you come up with a difficult-to-guess password that's more secure than, say, your pet's name.

  • See full screens on multiple displays: If you're the kind of user who takes advantage of more than one display, Apple simplifies the process of going back and forth from screen to screen. Under Mavericks, each of your displays might show a full-screen app. Each might have its own Dock and menu bar. And you can take advantage of Mission Control to manage your view across multiple displays. Move your mouse pointer to the edge of the first display to jump to the next.

  • Get iOS-style notifications: Notifications is a welcome new feature on the Mac that made its mark initially on iOS devices. (Recognize a common theme here?) On Mac OS Mavericks, you get all sorts of notifications: system notifications, news updates, e-mail notifications (from which you can reply), FaceTime notifications, and more.

  • Organize your files into Finder Tabs: This helpful organizing tool lets you combine a number of Finder windows into one, potentially reducing desktop clutter in the process. You can move files by dragging and dropping them onto a tab. Or Command-click to add a folder to a Finder Tab.

  • Tag your files with keywords: Tags are all about organization too. You can assign tags to a document or other file, making it a breeze to find them again later. For example, tag the files associated with a specific project, so that all the materials that you need are all in one place. You'll find a dedicated Tags button within Finder.

  • Update your software automatically: Apps on your Mac can automatically be updated in the background, so long as they're not running. To permit this to happen, open the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Select the App Store preferences and make sure the Automatically Check for Updates check box is selected. Also, make sure that the Download Newly Available Updates in the Background check box is selected.

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