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iPhone and iPad Innovations in Mac OS X Lion

With OS X Lion, Apple brought many of the innovations in the iPhone and iPad to the Mac, providing a reason for people to switch to the Mac.

Get apps going with Launchpad

Pinch with four fingers on the trackpad or click the Launchpad button in the Dock (it looks like a rocket ship). You see a full screen of icons for the applications you have installed on your Mac. From the Launchpad screen, you can do the following:

  • Click any icon to launch that app. Click white space, press Esc or pinch with four fingers to leave Launchpad.

  • Move around the icons, if you want.

  • Scan pages of apps. If you have more than one page of Launchpad apps, move between them with two finger swipes or presses of the arrow keys. Some apps are organized in folders.

  • Create new folders by dragging an app icon onto another.

  • Delete an app from your Mac. Click its icon until it starts shaking; then click the black X that appears. If you delete an app that you purchased from the Mac App Store, you can download it again at no charge.

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Skip the clutter with full screen apps

Some of us do better working on one thing at a time. If you find having lots of windows open saps your focus, like listening to the TV and radio while having a conversation on the phone, Apple has a nice surprise for you. When you’re using an application, try the following trick:

  1. In the top-right corner of the window that you’re working on, click the icon that shows a pair of arrows pointing away from each other.

    The window fills your entire screen.

  2. To see the application’s menu, move your cursor to one of the top corners of your screen.

    The menu appears, and you see a symbol with arrows pointing together that gets you out of full-screen mode. (The aptly named Escape key performs the same trick.)

  3. If you have several windows open, move from one to another in full-screen mode with a three-finger swipe on your trackpad or the top of your Magic Mouse.

    Not all apps support full-screen mode yet, however.

Get back where you started with Resume

When you quit an application, OS X Lion remembers what windows were open and where you were in each application, and restores them when you relaunch the application. This feature can be handy when you shut down to carry your laptop somewhere and then want to continue your work where you left off.

On the other hand, if you were doing something that you’d rather not share, this feature could be embarrassing. You can turn it off by choosing System Preferences→General. Just clear the check box labeled Restore Windows When Quitting and Reopening Apps.

Save your work automatically with AutoSave and Versions

Another bit of good advice that’s often ignored is saving your work frequently. OS X Lion saves documents that you’re working on automatically and lets you go back in time to see different versions of the file.

If the application you are using supports AutoSave, when you click the name of the document in the document window’s title bar, you see a small disclosure triangle next to the name. Click the triangle and you see several options:

  • Lock: Prevents any further changes. (If you try to make a change, you’re asked to unlock.)

  • Duplicate: Saves a copy with your changes up to this point.

  • Revert to Last Opened: Returns the document to the state it was in when you started this editing session.

  • Browse All Versions: Displays a screen modeled after Time Machine, listing your current version and all past versions, so you can select the one you want.

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