How to Fix a Damaged macOS Installer

Creating a macOS installer on a bootable USB drive provides a convenient way of installing a fresh copy of macOS on multiple Macs, and also allows you to perform a clean installation quickly and easily.

Catalina
If you tried to run your installer recently and unexpectedly received an error that it is damaged and can't be used, then don't worry – keep reading for a simple and straightforward way to fix it.

Why is my macOS Installer Damaged?


If you tried to use a macOS installer in the last few days or weeks, you may have been met with an error message saying something like "This copy of the Install macOS Mojave.app application is damaged, and can’t be used to install macOS."

installer
As Apple explains in a newly published support document, the likely reason for the "damaged" error message is an expired certificate. Happily though, the fix is very simple.

How to Fix a Damaged macOS Installer


To fix the damaged installer, you should just download the installer again. Doing so will also ensure that you have all of the macOS updates that have been released since you made the original installer, meaning you won't have to update macOS immediately after the initial installation is complete.

You can find the latest official download links below for the last six versions of Apple's Mac operating system, all of which contain a new certificate that has not expired:
To learn how to perform a clean installation of macOS using the bootable USB drive method, click one of the following links: macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, macOS Sierra.

Related Roundups: macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina

This article, "How to Fix a Damaged macOS Installer" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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How to Use the macOS Help Menu

The ever-present Help menu in your Mac's menu bar is an easily overlooked aspect of macOS, but it's home to some surprising and extremely handy features that every user can benefit from.


Apart from being a useful first port of call for any queries you may have about the application in use or your Mac in general, it also serves as a menu navigator. Let's take a look a closer look.

How to Use the Mac Help Menu


You can use the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-/ to quickly access the macOS Help Menu. At the top of the Help menu is a Search field for typing in the subject you need help with. Below this, you'll also see a direct link to the help documentation for the currently active application, which is useful for looking up topics manually.


If it's an Apple app you're using, search results come from the official macOS User Guide, while the direct help link below the search field takes you straight to the relevant section of the guide, or in the case of Finder, the main contents page.


It's important to remember that if the active app is a third-party one, the contents of the Help menu can differ depending on how much effort the developer has put into it. For example, some apps may include FAQs, manuals, or links to online help, while others may offer very little.

How to Use Help's Action Search Feature


Another neat built-in feature of the Help menu is its ability to point to available actions in other menus for the currently active app.


Next time you type into the Help menu's Search field, check to see if the results include any Menu Items. Hover over one of these with your mouse, and macOS will locate the action for you by pointing an arrow at it in the corresponding menu. Hit Enter, and the action will be performed for you.



Depending on the app, this feature can even extend to contextual menu functions. For instance, you can use Safari's Help field to search your bookmarks and recent browsing history for keywords to quickly navigate back to web pages. Next time you're in your favorite app, try out its Help menu functions to see how deeply they've been implemented.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

This article, "How to Use the macOS Help Menu" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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How to Add a Recent Items Folder to Your Mac’s Dock

In a previous how-to, we explained how to add a special stack to your Mac's Dock that enables quick access to recently opened or favorite items.

This unique stack can be configured to show your most recently opened apps, documents, or servers, but what you can't do is make it show all your recent items, regardless of kind.

One solution is to add a recently opened items folder to your Dock instead. The following steps guide you through the process of creating one using Finder's smart folder feature.

  1. Open a Finder window and select File -> New Smart Folder in the menu bar. Alternatively, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the Finder icon in your Dock and select New Smart Folder.

  2. In the Finder window that opens, click the plus icon in the upper right of the viewing area.

  3. Select Last opened date in the first search criteria dropdown.

  4. Select within last in the second dropdown.

  5. In the third and final dropdown, select how far back you'd like the folder to show recently opened items for. Your options are days, weeks, months, and years.

  6. In the input field to the left of your timescale selection, specify the number of days/weeks/months/years of recently opened files to show.

  7. Click Save in the upper right of the viewing area.

  8. In the save dialog that appears, give your smart folder a name, and select your Desktop as the location for your folder. You can also opt to include the folder in Finder's sidebar by checking the box next to Add to Sidebar.

  9. Click Save.

  10. Switch to your Desktop and drag and drop your new smart folder to the right of the the Dock, which will automatically move any existing icons behind the divider to make space for it. (If you like, you can delete the same folder on your Desktop once it's safely docked.)

  11. Finally, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the docked smart folder and select Folder in the contextual menu.

The last step gives your recently opened items folder a distinctive icon in the Dock.


Note that the same contextual menu also provides view and sort options to further customize the folder's behavior.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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How to Manage File Associations in macOS

In macOS, the Open With contextual menu that appears when you right-click (or Ctrl-click) on a file provides links to all the applications installed on your Mac that are associated with that file type.


At the top of the list is the default app that macOS launches whenever you double-click on files that share the same suffix or extension, with other apps associated with the file type below that, and an Other... option at the bottom which lets you choose an alternative app in case the one you want to use isn't listed.

You can easily change the default app associated with a particular file to something else. To do so, click Get Info in the contextual menu and select another app from the Open With: dropdown list in the file's Info pane. To use that app to open all files sharing the same extension, click the Change All... button and select Continue.

Clearing the Open With Menu


If you've installed a lot of applications on your Mac through the years, you may find that some apps appear in the Open With menu that really have no business being there given the kind of file you've selected.

As well as unrelated apps, you may even see references to "ghost" apps that you removed from your Mac long ago. All of which results in a long and cluttered list of launch service links you won't use.

Unfortunately the list isn't directly editable, but there are a couple of ways that you can clear the cruft from it. One option is to grab Titanium Software's free Onyx system utility and run a task to rebuild the Launch Services database.


Alternatively, if you're comfortable with a command prompt you can open a Terminal window and run the following command, which does the same thing:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Frameworks/
LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user



Leave the command to run for a few minutes while the LaunchServices database rebuilds, and when the prompt reappears type killall Finder and press Enter to see the changes take effect.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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How to Rebuild the Spotlight Index on Your Mac

Apple has enhanced Spotlight search in macOS in recent years, with the addition of Spotlight Suggestions allowing it to tap into a variety of online data sources like weather and sports. Nevertheless, helping you find apps, documents and other files stored on your Mac is still what Spotlight does best.

That's not to say its core function is infallible, however. If Spotlight can't find files that you know exist on your Mac, or if it stops prioritizing results based on your earlier searches, then it's probably a sign that your system's search index is damaged somehow.

If you're experiencing odd behavior when using Spotlight, you should try rebuilding its search database index. There are Terminal commands that will do the job, but you can achieve the same result via the regular macOS user interface in just a few quick steps. Here's how.

  1. Select System Preferences... from the Apple () menu at the top left of your screen.

  2. Click the Spotlight pane.

  3. Click the Privacy tab.

  4. Click the Add (+) button.

  5. Select the folder or disk whose index you wish to re-build, then click Choose. Alternatively, drag the folder or disk into the list. We've chosen Documents in our example.

  6. In the same list, click the folder or disk that you just added and then click the Remove (-) button.

  7. Click the red traffic light button to close System Preferences.
Once you've completed these steps, Spotlight will begin reindexing the contents of the folder(s) or disk(s) you chose, which may take some time and a few processor cycles. Depending on which version of macOS you're running, you may see a rebuild progress indicator in Spotlight's menu bar item. With a bit of luck, your Spotlight problems will have been resolved once indexing is complete.

You can also perform a system-wide re-index of the Spotlight database, among many other optimizations, using Titanium Software's free Onyx utility, which is available for all recent versions of macOS.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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How to Customize File and Folder Icons on Your Mac

This article shows you how to change the icon of any file or folder on your Mac. Apart from adding a bit of personal style to your desktop, there are good practical reasons why you might want to do so.


For example, perhaps you've dragged some folders to your Dock so that you can easily drop items into them, but you don't want to have to keep hovering your mouse over their generic blue icons to identify which is which.

Carbon Folders by necramar

To customize a file or folder icon, simply follow the steps below. You can use your own pictures as icons. Alternatively, there are a wealth of icon libraries hosted online, so you could try a web search for free icon pack downloads for Mac.
  1. Double-click the picture or icon you want to use to open it in your Mac's built-in Preview app.

  2. Choose Edit -> Select All in Preview's menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut Command-A.

  3. Choose Edit -> Copy in Preview's menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut Command-C.

  4. Next, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the file or folder whose icon you want to change and select Get Info from the contextual menu.

  5. Click the icon in the top left of the Info panel to select it.

  6. Choose Edit -> Paste from the menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut Command-V.

  7. Click the red traffic light to close the Info panel, and you're done.
If you want to revert a file or folder to its default icon, open its Get Info panel again, click the icon in the panel to select it, and choose Edit -> Cut or use the keyboard shortcut Command-X. Finally, you can also select and copy (Edit -> Copy) a file or folder's icon in its Info panel for use elsewhere.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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Eight Hidden macOS Features You Can Access With the Option Key

The Option () key – or Alt key, depending on your keyboard layout – can be used to unlock all kinds of features hidden in your Mac's operating system.

Try holding it down next time you access an app's menu bar options, for instance, and you'll often see several tweaked actions available to you.

Additional Finder File actions revealed via the Option key

In the Finder File menu shown above, Open becomes Open and Close Window (if you have a file selected in Finder, selecting this opens the file and also closes the Finder window), Close Window becomes Close All, and Move to Trash becomes Delete Immediately, amongst other options.

Below are just some of our favorite uses for the Option key in macOS. Feel free to share any other Option key actions you frequently use in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

Finder View Actions


In Finder's List view, hold Option and click the triangle next to a folder to expand it, and the contents of any subfolders nested inside will also be revealed.


In Column view, you can also resize all columns in a window by Option-clicking on the column selector.

Menu Bar System Icons


Holding the Option key when you click menu bar system icons often reveals hidden actions. Option-click the Wi-Fi icon for example and you'll see extensive information on the currently connected network.


Do the same for the volume icon and you'll be able to change not only the audio output device but the input device, too. Elsewhere, Option-clicking the Time Machine icon will let you Browse Other Backup Disks, and you can also Option-click the Notifications Bar icon to turn it on and off.

Safari Browser


To clear all history including cached website data and cookies, you would select Safari -> Clear History... from the Safari menu bar. If you hold the Option key though, Clear History... becomes Clear History and Keep Website Data.


Hold down the Option key when you click a tab's close button, and all other tabs will close except for that one. In Safari's File menu, the Close Tabs option also becomes Close Other Tabs with Option held down.

Preview File Formats


When you come to save or export a file in Preview, Option-click the Format dropdown to get access to several more available file types.



Open Preference Panes


If your Mac's keyboard has icons printed on some of the functions keys, you can press them to perform special features. For example, pressing the F11/12 keys with speaker icons adjusts the volume.


If you hold down Option when you press one of these keys, this will open the System Preference pane associated with the feature. Option-F11/12 opens the Sound pane, for instance.

Scrollbar Behavior


In the General preference pane, you can select between two forms of scrollbar behavior: Jump to the next page and Jump to the spot that's clicked.


You can actually switch between the two behaviors on the fly: simply Option-click anywhere in a window's scrollbar to jump to that location in the open document or webpage.

Force Quit Apps


If an application is acting up, hold down Option and right-click its icon in the Dock to reveal a Force Quit action in the popup menu.


You can also Option-click an app icon to bring its window to the forefront and simultaneously hide another app's active window.

Resize Windows


When you drag your mouse from one side or corner of a window to resize it, you can hold the Option key to resize the dimensions of the window from its center point instead.

Adjusting from one corner affects all corners with the Option key held


Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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How to Use Text Clippings in macOS

In macOS, a Text Clipping is a selection of text that you've dragged from an application to another location on your Mac, where it becomes a unique kind of standalone file.

The relatively little-known feature has been around since Mac OS 9, and it offers a convenient way to save out pieces of text from pretty much anywhere for later use in another app or document.


To create a Text Clipping, simply highlight any piece of text and drag it with your mouse to your Desktop or an open Finder window.

This saves the highlighted text – including any rich text formatting – as a .textclipping file named after the first few words of text that you selected, but you can easily rename it to make it more identifiable.


To use the selected text in another file like a Pages document, drag the Text Clipping into the open document and the text will be automatically pasted wherever the cursor is located.

You can paste the clipping in the same way into all sorts of open files and apps, including browser search engines, Mail compose windows, Xcode projects, and more.


To quickly view the contents of a Text Clipping, simply select the file and invoke Quick Look with a tap of the spacebar.

You can also double-click a Text Clipping to view the text in a dedicated window, and even highlight and copy (Command-C) just a snippet of the text from this window for pasting elsewhere.


Text clippings can speed up many repetitive tasks, making things like reusing email/letter templates and code snippets a cinch. If clippings become indispensable to your workflow, consider creating a dedicated folder to store them, otherwise they can quickly clutter up your desktop.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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How to View Folder Sizes on Your Mac Using Finder

When you use Finder's List view to work with files on your Mac, a glance at the Size column tells you the size of each file, but when it comes to folders in the list, Finder just shows a couple of dashes instead.


Finder skips showing folder sizes because calculating them takes time – if several folders contained thousands of files, working out the total size would likely slow down your Mac. So while omitting this information can get annoying, it does ensure file browsing in Finder stays snappy.

But what if you want to use List view and still keep an eye on the size of a handful of folders in a specific location – in Documents, for instance, or in a directory synced to a cloud storage service? It might not be obvious, but thankfully it is possible to make Finder calculate folder size when navigating items as a list.


To do so, open the folder in question, select View -> Show View Options from the menu bar or press the keys Command-J, and check Calculate All Sizes. Finder will now remember your viewing preference for that particular location only.

If you're looking for a more global solution for keeping tabs on folder sizes that will work in any Finder view mode, you might consider enabling the Preview panel. To do this, open a Finder window and select the menu bar option View -> Show Preview, or press the keys Shift-Command-P.


In the Preview panel, the size of the selected folder always appears immediately below the folder name. If this is the only folder information you want to see in the Preview panel, you can select the menu bar option View -> Show Preview Options and uncheck all other metadata options.

To be honest though, relying on the Preview panel to keep a check on individual folder sizes isn't a great use of Finder window space. This is where the menu bar option File -> Get Info (or key combo Command-I) can come in helpful. Opening a separate Get Info panel lets you see the size of the item in question, regardless of whether it's a file or a folder.


The only problem with a Get Info panel is that it only relates to the item you originally selected it for, and every new panel that you open for each additional selected item will hang around on your desktop until you close it manually.


Fortunately, this inconvenience can be easily solved: click File in the menu bar and hold the Option key, and Get Info will turn into Show Inspector. Unlike a Get Info panel, the Inspector panel is dynamically updated and will always display information for the active Finder window's currently selected file or folder – including, of course, its size.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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How to Use the Preview Loupe Tool in macOS

All of Apple's Macs come with Preview, the powerful file viewer that's built into macOS. Preview is the default app that opens up whenever you double-click an image or a PDF, and features several annotation tools for you to use when working with these file types.

The most obvious and oft-used markup tools include things like arrows, lines, ovals, rectangles, and text, but in this article we're highlighting what is arguably one of the more under-appreciated of Preview's annotation options: the Loupe tool.


The Loupe tool is useful if you want to zoom in on certain areas in an image or document for the purposes of clarity or to bring attention to something in particular.


You can access the Loupe tool by selecting Tools -> Annotate -> Loupe from the Preview menu bar, or by enabling the Markup toolbar and then clicking the bottom right icon in the Shape menu.


Once you've added a loupe to your image, you can easily increase or decrease its magnification level by dragging the green circle along the loupe's circumference.


Similarly using your mouse, drag the blue circle outwards or towards the center of the loupe to expand or contract the area of magnification.

You can add multiple loupes to the same image or document, and even have them overlap to zoom in on an area that's already magnified.


Additionally, if you arrange two loupes so that one is stacked on top of or behind the other, you can right-click (or Ctrl-click) them to rearrange their order using the contextual menu options Bring Forward, Bring to Front, Send Backward and Send to Back.

You can easily delete a selected loupe with the Delete key, just remember that the Loupe is an annotation tool rather than a simple zoom function, so if you save or export the file with a loupe still in use then it becomes a permanent feature of that image or document.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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