Concerned by the Privacy or Results of Google Search? Try These Other Search Engines

Google is big. Google Search generated $225 billion in revenue in 2022, thanks in part to being the default search engine on all Apple devices. To retain that position—and continue to reap the ad revenue that it generates—Google pays Apple about $18 billion every year. Along with Apple, Google pays billions to phone manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Motorola; major wireless carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; and browser developers like Mozilla and Opera.


Everything You Need to Know about Taking Screenshots on the Mac

Many people use screenshots to clip portions of their Mac screen for later reference. For example, you could save a screenshot of an error dialog to show tech support, store a confirmation number from a Web page, or keep a chat from social media. You can even record screen movies to show a developer how their app is misbehaving.


Time Machine Now Offers Daily and Weekly Frequencies

Since its inception, Time Machine has backed up on an hourly schedule. It then keeps hourly backups for the previous 24 hours, daily backups for the last month, and weekly backups back to the start of the backup. Once free space on the backup drive gets low, Time Machine deletes older backups to make room for new ones, always maintaining at least one copy of every backed-up file. The traditional hourly backups are usually fine, but starting in macOS 13 Ventura, Apple lets you choose a daily or weekly schedule instead. One of those might be useful for Macs that are turned on infrequently or where very little important data changes. It also might reduce resource usage and how much data Time Machine backs up. Most people shouldn’t need to change the backup frequency, but if you’ve always wanted to, now you can.

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How to Merge Two Similar Folders in the Mac’s Finder

You’ve ended up with two folders whose contents—hundreds of files or more—are similar but not identical. Perhaps you’re recovering from a sync failure, or maybe you pulled an old version of the folder from a backup and aren’t sure what’s different. Regardless, here’s how you can merge them in the Finder. Make sure the folders are named identically and are in two different locations on your Mac. Press and hold the Option key, then drag the folder that contains more files to the location that contains the folder with fewer files. In the dialog that appears, click Merge to copy only newer files from the source and those not already in the destination. (It’s not a two-way sync; for that, you need an app like ChronoSync.) The Merge button appears only if the source folder contains files not in the destination; if the folders contain just different versions of identically named files, you’ll get only Stop and Replace buttons. For safety, always work on copies of your folders and check your work afterward to ensure the right things happened.

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Keep Your Contacts Current by Adding Siri-Suggested Content

Remembering to update your contacts with new email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses can be hard. But if you’ve received that information in Mail or Messages, Siri’s data detection capabilities can help. Open Contacts on the Mac and press the Down arrow to cycle through your contacts. When you see one with information in light gray and a parenthetical like (Siri Found in Mail), click the ⓘ button to the right ➊ to see some context in the source message. If the information is correct, click Add to Contact ➋ to keep it.

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Turn Your Most-Used Sites into Safari Web Apps in macOS 14 Sonoma

The concept of site-specific browsers has been around for a long time, but in the version of Safari that comes with macOS 14 Sonoma, Apple brought it to the big time by making setup easier than ever.

Put simply, a site-specific browser is a Mac app that encapsulates a single Web app or site. The goal is to break a website out of a Web browser and turn it into what looks and works like a regular Mac app. Gmail the Web app can become Gmail the Mac app.

What kind of websites might you want to turn into a standalone app? Beyond Gmail, consider Google Docs, Netflix, Notion, QuickBooks, and any other Web-focused app that feels more natural as a standalone app. Additionally, a site-specific browser can be helpful for any website you use regularly throughout the day, such as a discussion site, news aggregator, or company intranet.

To create a Web app in Safari, open the desired page, choose File > Add to Dock, and give the app your desired name.

That’s it! Safari saves the Web app to the Applications folder in your Home folder (not the regular top-level Applications folder), adds it to the next open spot on the Dock and in Launchpad, and enables you to open it using Spotlight. The tab you had open in Safari remains open, so close that and launch the new Web app from the Dock.

Web apps look and feel just like Web pages in Safari, with a few exceptions:

  • If you click a link to another page on the same website as the Web app, the page opens within the window, but clicking a link to another website opens it in Safari as a new tab. There are a few special cases, too—double-clicking a document in a Google Drive Web app opens it in a new window within the Web app rather than in Safari.
  • Web apps have their own browsing history, cookies, website data, and settings, which aren’t shared with Safari.
  • Web app toolbars have only back and forward buttons and a Share button. They lack an address bar, bookmarks, tabs, and extensions, but you can switch back to Safari to get those—choose File > Open in Safari.
  • For websites that have notifications, the Web app’s icon in the Dock can show the number of unread notifications.

To tweak the name or appearance of the Web app, click the app’s name in the menu bar and choose Settings. The only option that isn’t obvious is the icon—if it’s too fuzzy or not what you prefer, click it and select a file in the dialog that appears. You can select either an image file or another app. (Hint: To find more icons, search for “AppName icon” in Google or Bing.)

Keep these tips about Web apps in mind:

  • You can remove a Web app from the Dock without deleting it from your drive.
  • To delete a Web app, drag its icon from your Home folder’s Applications folder to the trash.
  • To make the Web app launch at login, add it to your login items in System Settings > General > Login Items.
  • Web apps cannot receive incoming URLs on their own. In other words, if you have a Google Docs Web app and click a Google Docs link that someone sends you in email, it will open in your default Web browser, not your Google Docs Web app. However, you can use the $10 utility Choosy to redirect appropriate links to specific Web apps.

Overall, Apple has done a good job with Safari Web apps. They’re easy to create and provide most of what you’ll likely want in an app that encapsulates a website. Give them a try, but if you find yourself needing capabilities beyond what Safari provides, such as access to extensions, support for tabs, more control over how links open, and choices of different browser engines, check out alternative site-specific browser apps like Unite, Coherence X, and WebCatalog.

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