5 Ways to Get the Most Out of OS X Yosemite

The latest version of the Mac operating system is rich with features for making the device uniquely your own.

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By Larry Alton

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If you've already upgraded your Mac to the latest version of OS X, you might you love it, or you might feel like you're using a giant iOS device. Either way, you can customize this new operating system with these little settings, tweaks and third party software. Here are five ways to personalize OS X to meet your needs.

1. Audio call shortcut

Apple's native process for making a phone call from your computer can be a bit clunky, especially since you have to sign into your FaceTime app, choose a contact, and click on the "Audio Call" option. But what if you want to manually dial the number on a takeout menu? Instead of fiddling with your contact, just install the Continuity Keypad, a beta application developed by Eytan Schulman and Harrison Weinerman. This app gives you access to a stylish desktop keypad, which allows you to dial any number and even save these manually dialed numbers as contacts for future use.

Related: A Quick Guide to Apple's iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite

2. Record your iOS screen

This exciting feature has several practical uses. Have you ever wanted to display the screen on your iOS device to a larger computer monitor for presentation purposes? Or perhaps you've wanted to display and record your iOS screen to create a mini-tutorial. Now you can do all of that by plugging your iPhone or iPad into your computer, launching QuickTime, selecting "New Movie Recording," and then choosing your iOS device from the drop-down menu next to the red "Record" button.

3. Screen sharing

Do you ever wish that you could show someone on-screen what you're talking about, instead of describing it in painstaking detail over the phone or writing out instructions step-by-step? Now you can screen share directly with other iMessage users by clicking on the "Details" button next to a contact in the Messages app, and then click the little icon that looks like two conjoined screens. Invite your contact to share a screen, and then the other user will be able to see exactly what's on your screen. You can exit the session by clicking the screen share icon in your system toolbar and selecting "End Screen Sharing."

Related: Lookin' Sharp: Apple Adds Retina Display to iMac Desktop

4. Dark mode

Are you tired of the light and translucent feel of your OS X navigational interface? You can change it to "dark mode" by launching system preferences, clicking on "General," and checking off "use dark menu bar and Dock." You'll notice that your system toolbar, menus, and your Spotlight will become dark.

5. Custom notifications

Custom news and widgets are just a menu away. Open your Notifications menu, scroll to the very bottom, and click on the "Edit" button. From here, you can add a slew of native and third party widgets, like the Calculator or even the Continuity Keypad that we described earlier in this article.

OS X Yosemite bridges user aesthetic and usability gaps between IOS and OS X. This operating system comes with some really exciting productivity changes, which can completely change the way you use a Mac at home or at work.

Related: New iOS 8 Feature Can Help You Find a Lost iPhone, Is Also Kind of Creepy

Larry Alton

Freelance Writer & Former Entrepreneur

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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