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 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 Add, Remove, and Rearrange Menu Bar Icons in macOS Mojave

The macOS menu bar is a great place for quickly accessing system and application functions using menu extras or "menulets", but it can get cluttered pretty quickly as more and more icons vie for a space there.

If the corner of your Mac's screen is fast becoming an eyesore, here are some quick and simple actions you can perform to bring order to the chaos, plus a few additional tips for making the most of Apple's menu bar extras.

How to Rearrange Icons in the Menu Bar


Plenty of menu bar icons offer useful shortcuts to app and system functions, and may take up permanent residence on your screen. But left to their own devices, the arrangement of said icons is likely to become haphazard. Fortunately, re-organizing them is simple, once you know how to do it.

  1. Hold down the Command (⌘) key.
  2. Hover your mouse cursor over the icon you want to move.
  3. Holding down the left mouse button, drag the icon into your preferred position on the menu bar. Other icons will step aside to make space for it.
  4. Let go of the left mouse button.

Note that the Notifications icon in macOS is designed to sit in the far right corner of the menu bar and cannot be moved elsewhere.
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How to Change a File Type’s Default App in macOS

Each document that you have on your Mac is associated with a default application which macOS uses to open the file whenever you double-click on its icon in Finder.

Sometimes you may have a legitimate reason for changing which app your Mac automatically launches when you open a common file type – when you want to open AVI video files in VLC instead of QuickTime, for instance. The following steps show you how to do just that.

  1. In a Finder window, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the file whose default launch app you want to change.
  2. From the contextual menu, select Open With -> Other....

  3. A new navigation window will appear for you to select an alternative app to open the selected file. In our example, we're selecting the VLC media player app.

  4. Tick the checkbox next to Always Open With to ensure your selection applies in future to all files with the same extension (AVI files, in our case). If you don't see the checkbox, click the Options button at the lower left of the window and it should appear.
  5. Click Open.
If the app that you want to use to open the file type is greyed out, it's because macOS doesn't think there's a valid association between the two. In most cases this is correct, but you can still override it by changing the Recommended Applications view to All Applications using the Enable: dropdown menu.

There's another way you can change a file type's associated app in macOS: Right-click (or Ctrl-click) on the file in a Finder window and select Get Info.


In the information dialog that appears, you should see the Open with: section immediately below the Comments: section (click the chevron buttons to expand individual sections). Select Other... in the drop-down menu of apps to select one not already in the list, and then click Change All... to apply the association to all files with the same extension.

Related Roundups: macOS High Sierra, macOS Mojave

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How to Add an AirDrop Shortcut to Your Mac’s Dock

Apple's AirDrop feature lets you wirelessly send and receive files between nearby Macs as well as to and from local iOS devices. It's usually accessed from the sidebar of an open Finder Window (or using the Command + Shift + R keyboard shortcut within Finder), but here we're going to share with you a trick that enables you to launch AirDrop straight from your Mac's Dock.

Having the AirDrop shortcut in your Dock will allow you to access it from any screen, regardless of the application you're using, and without having to open a Finder window first. Regular AirDrop users in particular should appreciate the convenience it provides.
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How to Tame macOS Hot Corners Using Modifier Keys

In macOS, the Hot Corners feature turns each of the four corners of your screen into a designated action, allowing you to quickly access certain functions built into the system, such as Mission Control, Notification Center, the Screen Saver, and more. Many Mac users would agree, there's something satisfying about bringing up these commonly used functions with a simple, swift cursor movement.


What isn't so satisfying, however, is accidentally triggering a Hot Corner, which can lead to all kinds of unintended desktop behavior - like application windows flying all over the place. This can happen when you lose track of the mouse cursor, or when you're working within the confines of a small MacBook screen. Thankfully, there's a way to tame wayward Hot Corners using modifier keys. Here's how.
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