3 Shortcuts for Sharing Web Links between Your Apple Devices

The iPhone is great for quickly viewing a Web page on the go, but what if you later want to work with it on a bigger screen? Or, what if you come across an interesting article on your Mac over breakfast, but want to finish reading it on your iPad later in the day? There are several simple methods of transporting a Web page among your Apple devices, but it can be difficult to pick the best one. Here are your best options.

Hand It Off

Apple’s Handoff feature is ideal when you want to move a Web page to another device immediately. Make the switch as follows:

  • If that other device is a Mac, click the Handoff/Safari icon that appears at the left (or top) of your Dock.

  • If that other device is an iPhone or iPad, look on the Lock screen for a Safari icon and then swipe up on that icon. Or, double-press the Home button to access the App Switcher and tap the Safari bar at the bottom of that screen.

Open a Tab

When you open a page in Safari, it appears in a tab. You can see this easily on your Mac in the Tab Bar (if you don’t see it, choose View > Tab Bar). It gets more interesting, however, when you view all the open tabs on all your Apple devices. To do this, click (or tap) theTabs  button, which appears at the top of Safari on the Mac and iPad, and at the bottom of the screen on the iPhone.

In the Tab view, you first see tabs from the device you are using. Beneath them (and you may need to scroll down) are the tabs from your other Apple devices. To open a tabbed page, click (or tap) its listing. Presto!

Assign It as Reading

Safari can store a list of pages that you want to read later in its Reading List, which is ideal for magazine-style articles that you want to return to when you have time to focus.

To add the current page to your Reading List on the Mac, choose Bookmarks > Add to Reading List. On your iPhone or iPad, tap the Share button and then tap Add to Reading List.

To access your Reading List in Safari on the Mac, choose View > Show Reading List Sidebar. In Safari on your iOS device, tap the Book icon and then tap the Eyeglass icon. Then, select the article you want to read to load it.

For most people, these techniques should just work, as is the Apple way, but they do rely on a lot of wizardry behind the scenes. If you have trouble, make sure that:

  • All your devices are signed in to the same iCloud account
  • Safari is enabled in System Preferences > iCloud on the Mac and in Settings > iCloud in iOS

Handoff has a few additional requirements, so ensure that:

  • Every device has Bluetooth turned on and is connected to the same Wi-Fi network
  • Handoff is on in System Preferences > General on the Mac and in Settings > General in iOS. If you don’t see a Handoff option, your device is too old to support Handoff.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll be zapping Web links back and forth between your devices with ease!

 

How to Use Airline Boarding Passes on Your iPhone

Are you still using paper boarding passes when you fly? Sure, they work, but if you’ve ever panicked after accidentally putting a boarding pass in the wrong pocket, or if you’ve been embarrassed by holding up the line as you fumble through a set of boarding passes for multiple flights, consider giving mobile boarding passes on your iPhone a try. They’re easy to set up and use, but you’ll want to get started before you leave for the airport.

First, find and download the iPhone app for the airline you’re using. If your trip involves multiple airlines, you’ll need the app for each one. All the apps are free, and the only hard part is logging in, which might require figuring out an old frequent flyer number or resetting a password. Do that ahead of time.

Once you’ve set up the app, it’s time to check in for your flight, which you can usually do 24 hours before the flight. The airline app may know about your itinerary automatically, but if not, you’ll have to enter a confirmation number or ticket number from your ticket receipt manually—look for a Check In option to get started.

At the end of the check-in process, the app shows an Add to Wallet link or button—the specifics vary by app but should be relatively obvious. Tap it to hand the boarding pass off to Apple’s Wallet app, make sure everything looks right, and then tap the Add link in the upper-right corner. You may or may not need to do this for each boarding pass; check to see what’s in Wallet after the first one. Note that you can also add passes for other members of your traveling party, such as a child or spouse. Now you’re ready to go to the airport!

At the airport, you first need your boarding pass in the security line. Since Wallet knows your flight times, it starts displaying a notification on the iPhone’s Lock screen some hours beforehand. That notification appears every time you wake the iPhone. Swipe it to the right or 3D Touch it to display your boarding pass. Cleverly, when the boarding pass is showing, the iPhone won’t automatically lock its screen. Nevertheless, as you approach the head of the line, check that you haven’t inadvertently pressed the Sleep/Wake button on your iPhone. Then just show your iPhone screen to the boarding pass scanner.

If you have an Apple Watch, you can instead bring up the Wallet app there—you might want to tap the Keep in Dock button to make it easier to get to for your return flight. The watch’s Wallet app shows the same passes that are in Wallet on the iPhone, and tapping the boarding pass displays the same information, although you have to scroll down (or rotate the digital crown) to access the QR code required for the scanner. While the Wallet app is up on the Apple Watch, the screen doesn’t turn off, so you don’t have to struggle with it when you get to the desk. With some scanners, you may have to put your arm in an awkward position for the scanner to see the watch screen; use the iPhone in such situations.

One last thing. Since many flights have multiple legs, each with a separate boarding pass, note that Wallet tries to keep them together. If you see multiple dots at the bottom of a screen showing a boarding pass, try swiping left and right to move between them. The same applies if you’re traveling with your family and have boarding passes for multiple people in your iPhone.

After you return home, there’s no reason to keep boarding passes in Wallet, so you can delete them. Open Wallet, tap the boarding pass, tap the i button in the lower-right corner, and then tap Remove Pass.

Many iPhone-carrying travelers find mobile boarding passes significantly easier and less stressful than old-style paper boarding passes, so give them a try. Of course, if you’re concerned that something might go wrong, go ahead and print paper boarding passes as a backup; there’s no harm in that.

Track Down Rogue Apps That Are Slowing Your Mac

Does it seem like your Mac is running slowly? It’s always possible that you need more RAM, a speedy SSD to replace a slow hard drive, or even a new Mac. But you might just have a rogue app that’s hogging your Mac’s CPU. Here’s how to figure out if that’s the problem.

The key is a utility app called Activity Monitor that Apple bundles with every Mac. Open your Applications folder and scroll down until you see the Utilities folder. Open that to find and double-click Activity Monitor.

Activity Monitor can seem daunting because it lists every “process” running on your Mac. In many cases, a process is the same as what you think of as an app, so you’ll see processes for apps like Mail and Safari. However, some apps use multiple processes, and macOS itself relies on a ton of processes too.

Notice the buttons at the top of Activity Monitor that provide access to different views: CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network. Those views show the impact each process has on those aspects of the Mac. For now, we’ll focus on the CPU view that’s the default, but if you were trying to figure out why your MacBook Pro’s battery was draining so quickly, you’d look in the Energy view.

At the bottom of the CPU view is a graph of CPU load, and numbers that correspond to how much of that load comes from the system and how much from the user (apps you’ve launched). As long as the sum of those numbers stays under 100% most of the time, you’re probably fine. But if you’re near or at 100%, you’ll want to hunt for rogue processes.

To identify them, click the % CPU column header to sort the process list by CPU power. If necessary, click again to change the direction of the sort so the arrow next to % CPU is pointing down, so those processes using the most CPU power are at the top. Be aware that the percentages in this column are by core (unlike the graph and numbers at the bottom), so a runaway app on a 4-core iMac could claim to be using as much as 400% in the % CPU column.

Now watch the list for a while. If one process is sucking CPU power, you’ll see it at the top of the list. If it matches an app you’ve launched, quit that app to give other apps a chance at the CPU. That often solves your problem quickly. In the most extreme case, the process name will be in red, which means it’s not responding, at which point you can force quit it by selecting it and then clicking the X button at the left of Activity Monitor’s toolbar.

Equally likely, though, is that the top process will be one you don’t recognize immediately, like backupd (Time Machine), mds or mdworker (Spotlight), photolibraryd or photoanalysisd (Photos), or kernel_task or WindowServer (core macOS functionality). You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) quit those processes manually, but at least you’ll know that things are slow due to a Time Machine backup running, Spotlight indexing new files, or Photos analyzing the images in your library. If one of these processes has gone nuts, the best solution is to restart your Mac.

 

Pin Frequently Used Web Sites in Safari Tabs

Everyone has a few Web sites that they check every day, or even multiple times throughout the day: a social network, a Web-based email app, a go-to news Web site, or a favorite online comic. The desire to access certain sites quickly and repeatedly isn’t new, of course. Over the years, Apple has added a variety of features to Safari to make this process easier. You can create bookmarks, add bookmarks to your Favorites bar, click thumbnails in the Top Sites view, and more. But do you know about pinned tabs?

The name may evoke images of a butterfly collection, but don’t worry, no harm is done when you pin a tab in Safari. All that happens is that the tab you’re pinning slides over to the left side of the Tab bar and shrinks down to a size that’s just big enough to display a representative icon, called a favicon. You can click the icon at any time to view the page.

Until you unpin or close a pinned tab, it remains in that easily accessible spot no matter what other tabs are open. Other advantages to pinned tabs include:

  • Pinned tabs stay in the same place even if you open a new Safari window or quit and relaunch Safari.
  • If you have multiple windows open in Safari, the pinned tabs are the same in all of them.
  • When you first launch Safari, it loads content for your pinned tabs, so you’re less likely to have to wait for those pages to appear.
  • Web apps that update automatically will do so in pinned tabs, so switching to one will always give you the latest data.
  • Unlike normal bookmarks, which you can sync through iCloud to copies of Safari on all your Apple devices, pinned tabs are specific to a particular Mac. This allows you to customize your pinned tabs on a per-Mac basis.

To pin a Web page, first load it in Safari. Then use one of these three pinning techniques:

  • Drag the tab that contains the Web page to the left, into the pinned tab area. When you see it shrink down, let go. (If you don’t see a tab, choose View > Show Tab Bar.)
  • Choose Window > Pin Tab.
  • Control- or right-click the tab and choose Pin Tab from the contextual menu that appears.

If you pin a tab that you wish you hadn’t, you can reverse any of those actions: drag it to the right, choose Window > Unpin Tab, or choose Unpin Tab from the contextual menu.

Pinned tabs behave like regular tabs in most ways, with a few exceptions:

  • Clicking a link to another Web site opens that site in a new tab, but if you follow a link within the pinned site, you’ll stay in the pinned tab.
  • Pressing Command-W won’t close a pinned tab, so you don’t have to worry about losing them accidentally. To get rid of a pinned tab, Control- or right-click it and choose Close Tab. Or unpin it and close it as you would any other tab.
  • Since pinned tabs stick around all the time, you might want to rearrange them. To do so, drag them into your desired order.

So if you open and close Facebook, Reddit, and Gmail throughout the day and check xkcd every morning, try creating a pinned tab for each site and see if you like having them more easily accessible than ever before!

If you prefer using Mozilla’s Firefox or Google Chrome instead of Safari, never fear, since both of those browsers have almost identical pinned tab features.

Mark and Navigate to Arbitrary Locations in Maps

Sure, you know how to search for a place or address in Maps, and you probably even know that you can ask Siri to “Take me home.” But sometimes you want to go somewhere that doesn’t have an address, or where the address you can find doesn’t match the precise location you need. For instance, a festival or fun run taking place at a large park may be far from the address of the park office, or even require that you enter on a different side of the park.

Luckily, the Maps app in iOS has you covered, with a feature that lets you mark any location and then get directions to that spot. It’s easy to use and provides several enhancements, but like many things in iOS, you might not run across it in normal usage.

First, marking locations is usually easier in the satellite view in Maps. If you’re in the standard Map view that shows just streets, tap the i button in the upper-right corner, and then tap Satellite so you can see the terrain and any buildings.

Next, position the map over the general area you want to navigate to, and then pinch to zoom in. Drag the map with a single finger as necessary to see the place you want to mark, perhaps a parking area or trailhead.

Then, to mark the location, press and hold on the exact spot. A pin appears on the map at the marked location. On the iPad, a panel appears on the left side of the screen with controls and more information, such as distance from your location, approximate address, and latitude and longitude. On the iPhone, the top of an identical panel appears at the bottom of the screen; drag it up to reveal the rest of its contents.

In that panel, you can:

  • Get directions: Tap Directions to start navigating to the marked location. The button defaults to telling you how long the drive will be, but once you tap Directions, you can switch to directions for walking, transit, or ride-sharing. You can also tap the route summary to see and share a turn list.
  • Move the marker: To reposition the marker slightly, tap Edit Location; for a more significant change in location, press and hold on a new spot.
  • Share the marker: If you’re trying to explain to others how to get to the marked location, tap the Share icon and then an app like Messages or Mail to send them a link to your location.
  • Delete the marker: Tap Remove Marker.
  • Favorite the marker: For a marked location that you might want to use repeatedly, tap Add to Favorites and give it a name. After that, you’ll be able to search for the location by name. Maps automatically syncs your favorites via your iCloud account, so you can favorite a location on your iPad and later search for it on your iPhone in Maps or even via Siri.
  • Add the marker to a contact: If the marked location goes with a person or business, tap Create a Contact or Add to Existing Content to record it.
  • Report a problem to Apple: If you find something missing or wrong with Maps’ data, you can mark a location and then tap Report an Issue at the bottom of the panel.

Maps may be good at finding many places and addresses, but it’s far from perfect, especially in less populated areas. By using marked locations, you can work with areas that can’t be found with a search.

If you use Maps on the Mac, most of these features are available when you click and hold on a location, and then click the i button in the tag that appears. The interface looks a bit different but works in much the same way.